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BARNESTORMING: Thoughts Around the College Football World 

BARNESTORMING: Thoughts Around the College Football World 

Editor’s Note: Our Steve Barnes introduces a new column this week–“BARNESTORMING: Thoughts Around the College Football World,” where he takes a look at interesting news and notes surrounding the game we all love.

What does a guy have to do?

Ole Miss freshman Jerrion Ealy set a school record for most all-purpose yards as a freshman when he tallied 273 in a 40-29 Ole Miss win over Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday. 

Included in that was a 94-yard scoring kickoff return and a drive in which he returned the kickoff 18 yards, ran for 52 on the first play and followed that up with a 30-yard scoring run on the following play.

Not only did Ealy not win the SEC’s Special Team Player of the Week, he didn’t win Freshman of the Week honors, either. South Carolina’s quarterback Ryan Hilinski did.

Hilinski completed 36-of-57 for 324 yards last Saturday, but his team still lost to Alabama. He did become only the second Gamecock freshman to throw for 300 yards in a game and came one pass shy of the school record for attempts… but come on.

Ealy must be asking, “What does a guy have to do?” If he’s not, we certainly are.

Just join the SEC, already

New Mexico State is in Las Cruces which is in the far southeastern corner of the state. That makes sense because the Aggies seem to love all things southeastern. In 2016, NMSU played both Kentucky and A&M, followed by Arkansas in 2017. NMSU has already played Alabama this season and visits Oxford November 9, 2019. Next season the Aggies travel to Florida.

And a personal favorite, in 2021 New Mexico State hosts Dixie State. By the way, Dixie State is in St. George, Utah.

The school and many of the businesses in town got the name Dixie because a couple centuries ago the locals invited some Alabamians to relocate to teach them to grow cotton. It did not take long to learn cotton will not grow in the Rocky Mountains, but many of the southerners decided to remain in Utah.

Dixie State is currently a Division II school that goes by the nickname of the Trailblazers. Not long ago, Dixie State was a junior college. It’s nickname then? The Rebels.

Mizzou vs. Troy, Troy and Troy  

Missouri hosts Troy on October 5 for the Tigers’ homecoming game. Mizzou has had a lot of success against Troy in Columbia, but in 2004, the Mizzou team made what turned out to be an embarrassing trip to Troy. The then-17th ranked Tigers lost 24-14 in a Thursday night game which aired on ESPN and was broadcasted by Mike Tirico, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. That was also the night a small-school defensive end was introduced to the football world – Demarcus Ware.

Sawyer Smith

Sawyer Smith (12) is now the starting QB for Kentucky. He is a grad transfer from Troy. (Photo: Lexington Herald Leader)

Two weeks ago, Missouri thumped West Virginia, 38-7. The Mountaineers are led by first-year coach Neal Brown. Last year Brown was the head coach at Troy.

Kentucky travels to Mizzou on October 26. The Wildcats lost their starting quarterback, Terry Wilson, to a knee injury in week two this season, and he was replaced by Sawyer Smith. Smith is a graduate transfer from Troy.

What happened to the ACC?  

The ACC is still the Atlantic Coast Conference officially, but it could just as easily stand for Another Clemson Championship.

Apart from Clemson, no other ACC team is ranked this week.

The conference is just horrible. Last week, Boston College got drilled at home by a Les Miles-led Kansas team. Even worse, Georgia Tech – a team that ran the triple option until this year – lost to The Citadel. The Bulldogs run the triple option. One would think Tech would recognize how to stop the option since it practiced against it for years.

Oh, it almost got worse, but Virginia Tech survived an upset bid from Furman.

Group of Five Playoff

UCF embarrassed Stanford last week, proving the Knights are the best team in the Group of Five conferences and probably the best team in the state of Florida. Central Florida has not lost a regular-season game in two seasons, and if it gets by Pitt this week, could make it three in a row.

Even with an undefeated season, the Knights will still not be invited to the College Football Playoff.

So why not let the Group of Five have its own playoff? Right now, they are the only group of schools that start the season without a chance of a national title. The Power Five, FCS, Division II, Division II and even the NAIA each have a national champion at the end of the year, but not the Group of Five.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a playoff between UCF, Army, Boise State and Memphis?

It would probably be more entertaining than the Dollar General Bowl.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for, and as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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