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BARNEStorming: The most coincidental ‘muscle spasm’ in history and other thoughts around the CFB world

BARNEStorming: The most coincidental ‘muscle spasm’ in history and other thoughts around the CFB world

The rest of the opponents on Auburn’s schedule might want to invest in burglar alarms. The Tigers are getting good at larceny. Just ask Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Auburn is now 3-2 on the season, but is it really? The Tigers could easily be 1-4. 

A few weeks ago, Auburn stole one against Arkansas. Driving for a potential-winning score, the Tigers attempted to spike the ball to stop the clock. But quarterback Bo Nix mishandled the snap, regained possession and spiked the ball backwards, which should have been ruled a fumble. Arkansas eventually recovered the ball, but according to the officials, there was not an “immediate” recovery and the Tigers retained possession. Auburn then kicked the game-winning field goal.

Saturday, trailing by a point at Ole Miss, Auburn’s Shaun Shivers awaited the kickoff. The kick fell short and bounced toward the Tigers’ return man. He reached for the ball, appeared to have touched it and immediately gave chase for the loose pigskin. As the ball crossed the goal line, Shivers put his arms out as if to say he had not touched the ball. The referees agreed. 

Ole Miss was told the officials did take a quick look at the play but did not call time out to review the call. Auburn scored on the ensuing drive to win the game. 

Replay clearly shows Shivers’ finger bending back as the ball touches it. Well, either the ball touched it or it was the most coincidental muscle spasm in the history of human anatomy.

Tigers have stripes. So do referees. How about that?


Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, to put the Dodgers one win away from the World Series championship.

The only other World Series appearance for the Rays came in 2008 when they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.

The fact Tampa Bay is there bodes well for one SEC team. The last time the Rays were in the fall classic, Alabama finished the season 12-0. But the Tide lost to Florida in the SEC title game and went on to fall to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

Florida went on to beat Oklahoma to win the national title.

So, is Tampa Bay paving the way for another SEC national championship?

In all, the SEC sent eight teams to bowl games in 2008. Only Alabama and South Carolina lost. Besides Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss and Kentucky each won its bowl game.

Conversely, the last time the Dodgers won the World Series, Auburn won the SEC with a record of 10-2.

Only five league schools made it to bowl games, with three winning. Georgia, Florida and Alabama won in the postseason, LSU and Auburn were beaten.

Is the matchup good for the Heart of Dixie?


Before anyone kicked off Saturday, we had a 2020 milestone. Jacksonville (Ala.) State headed south and beat Florida International, 19-10, Friday night.

It might seem like an insignificant score, but it was the first time an FCS team has defeated an FBS team this season. With the abbreviated schedules of the FCS schools, many have limited opportunities to knock off one of the big boys this year. 

According to JSU athletic director Greg Seitz, the win snapped a 66-game losing streak for the FCS against the FBS.

The game was also the Gamecocks’ last of 2020, finishing 3-1. The only loss was at Florida State where Jax State had a 14-0 lead. JSU went on to beat North Alabama and Mercer along with FIU.

Jacksonville State’s Ohio Valley Conference schedule kicks off Feb. 21 when the Gamecocks travel to Nashville to play Tennessee State.


Alabama quarterback Mac Jones had a good day Saturday. Before being pulled from the game in the second half against Tennessee, he threw for 387 yards as Bama routed the Vols 48-17. The seeming-Heisman Trophy front runner Trevor Lawrence threw for 289 yards, but Clemson needed a late surge to top lowly Syracuse 47-21.

That may have been enough to cause some Heisman voters look at Jones a little closer.

Should there be a neck-and-neck race, Jones has someone who can give him a little advice about being around a Heisman winner. No, not Nick Saban who coached Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram, Jr.

Jones can just look into his huddle.

Tide offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood knows a tad about being around a Heisman winner. As a youngster, Leatherwood played at Pensacola, Fla., Washington High School, where his coach was Charlie Ward, the 1993 winner.


The sideline awards in college football started with Miami’s turnover chain. Okay, that was kind of cool, and the sideline celebrations now have their share of copycats. Some are pretty cool, led by Pitt who has a miniature basketball goal that a player who gets a turnover gets to show his dunking skills on the sideline.

Many of the awards are pretty lame, but there is a new “Best in Show,” in college football.

Georgia Southern rewards a big play with the player donning an electric guitar on the bench. 

That makes perfect sense. One of the best rock songs of all time is the Allman Brothers’ “Statesboro Blues.” If is anyone is wondering, Georgia Southern is located in Statesboro.


Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and now Ohio State are getting lots of attention for being undefeated so far this season. But remember, there are other teams who have an unblemished record.

BYU (6-0), Liberty (6-0), Marshall (5-0), Coastal Carolina (5-0) and Cincinnati (4-0) have been perfect so far.

Liberty and Coastal Carolina meet in the season-finale that might have more on the line than any other game that day. In addition, BYU has a date with Boise State later this year. The Broncos finally started their season Saturday with a win over Utah State, so they are 1-0 to add to the list.

Most experts have the same five or six teams in consideration for the College Football Playoff. But these Group of Five teams are vying for one New Year’s Six Bowl berth. That is a much more interesting race than the Power Five’s showdown for a shot at the playoffs. 

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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