Saturday, 28 December 2002

Eli to Nebraska: “How do you like me now?”

Despite the bizarre speculation around David Cutcliffe (would you hire the master of the prevent offense? — apparently Kentucky would, if you believe the rumors) and not-so-bizarre speculation concerning Eli Manning, the Ole Miss Rebels defeated once-mighty Nebraska 27–23 in a game they weren't expected by anyone to win.

Again, I don't see Manning going to the NFL this year, not with the risk of being picked by the Bengals, the QB overload in the draft (Palmer, Leftwich, Ragone, Wallace, Kingsbury, and probably Grossman), and the possibility of having a real running game in 2003.

Rich Brooks is apparently the Kentucky hire, beating out Grambling State coach Doug Williams; the latter's cause might have been hurt by anti-SEC comments he made two months ago, singling out the five Deep South programs. Frankly, if Cutcliffe had gone to Kentucky, I'd have expected an African-American hire at Ole Miss (most likely Charlie Strong, late of South Carolina): the basketball program has had success with black coaches, and it would fit with Robert Khayat's emphasis on racial reconciliation. Strong would have also been a good football choice; a defense-minded head coach would be an asset to the program.