BARNEStorming: Another Bye for Rebs and other Thoughts Around the College Football World
It appears the Southeastern Conference office is a fan of boy bands. Regarding the Ole Miss schedule, the SEC brass has taken a line from an N’Sync song and given the Rebels a “bye, bye, bye.”
This Saturday, Ole Miss was scheduled to travel to LSU for its regular-season finale. Instead, the team can spend another weekend in Oxford. The SEC opted to use the date to makeup the Alabama-LSU game.
So, Ole Miss gets it third bye week of the season. All three of the off dates will have occurred in a 28-day period.
Where does this leave the Rebels the rest of the season? The Dec. 12 and Dec.19 dates are available to play both LSU and Texas A&M, but that leaves us wondering about a bowl game. Many of the postseason games are set for Dec. 26.
Should the Rebels be selected to one of those games, Ole Miss will have three consecutive impromptu games after taking three Saturday’s offs since Nov. 7.
N’Sync’s lyric might be the best way to think of the 2020. It is time to tell this year, “bye, bye, bye.”
ARE THE NOLES DONE?
Florida State had to postpone its game against Clemson a couple of weeks ago hours before kickoff. That decision set off Tigers’ coach Dabo Swinney on a tirade about FSU just not wanting to play his team. Last Saturday, the same thing happened in Tallahassee. After Virginia had already flown south, the game had to be postponed.
So, using Dabo’s philosophy, the Seminoles were afraid to play Clemson and Virginia at home at a loss of millions of dollars to the local economy, but were fine with travelling to South Bend to play Notre Dame earlier this year. Then again, also using Dabo-think, when the Tigers went to Notre Dame earlier this year, Trevor Lawrence was afraid to play. He was sitting out due to the same COVID-19 protocols as FSU observed the last two weeks.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has dealt a preemptive strike against Florida State. This week, the Seminoles were set to travel to Duke, but the conference scrubbed that. Instead, Duke will play Miami.
Florida State has no other games scheduled this season. The Virginia and Clemson games could be rescheduled, but given the virus situation at FSU, what is the point?
TARGETING THE TARGETING RULE
College football needs to take a fresh look at the targeting rule. In a matter of about five minutes, we saw two quite different interpretations of the rule on the same field with the same officials.
During the Vanderbilt-Missouri game, the Commodores’ Keyon Henry-Brooks was streaking down the sideline, but quarterback Ken Sears overshot him for an incomplete pass. Yet as the ball hit the turf, Missouri’s Tyree Gillespie launched himself into the defenseless receiver.
Although Gillespie obviously took two steps towards the Vandy player before delivering the blow, not only was there no targeting call, but there was also no personal foul penalty. After several replays, an analyst said since there was no flag on the play, targeting could not be considered.
Vanderbilt's Keyon Henry-Brooks, fresh off a rib injury, extends for a pass that sails over his head and incomplete. It hits the ground, THEN the Missouri defender comes in and:
1. Nails him helmet-to-helmet
2. Buries a shoulder into his ribs
And no flag. That type of Saturday.
— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) November 28, 2020
On the ensuing possession, Missouri’s Larry Roundtree was running with the ball when he was drilled by De’Rickey Wright of Vandy. A penalty flag did fly on this occasion. Although Wright appeared to be aiming to make contact with Roundtree’s chest, the running back ducked his head resulting in helmet-to-helmet contact. Vanderbilt was assessed with the penalty and Wright was kicked out of the game.
If anything, Roundtree initiated the helmet-to-helmet shot.
Why is it, when an offensive player uses the crown of his helmet against another player, it is never called?
College football take a look at this rule.
TRASK vs. JONES
It would appear the Heisman Trophy race is coming down to a pair of SEC quarterbacks. Florida’s Kyle Trask and Mac Jones of Alabama seem to be the top contenders for the award. Both are putting up the numbers that voters love, and it could put some extra attention on the SEC Title game.
Should Alabama and the Gators meet in the game – and it is certainly looking like that will be the case – the duo could be battling for more than a college football playoff berth.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin discusses the Heisman race between Alabama's Mac Jones and Florida Gators star Kyle Trask. https://t.co/l6omjyaI87 pic.twitter.com/OjwOEBuyuY
— 247Sports (@247Sports) November 24, 2020
Other players are sure to be in the conversation, but not really. Justin Fields will be mentioned, but Ohio State simply has not played enough games. Trevor Lawrence missed a month of games due to COVID-19 concerns which makes him like the Pac-12 – out of sight, out of mind.
MORE MOORE THAN SECONDARIES CAN HANDLE
Lost in some of the performances last Saturday was Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore. After the Rebels’ 31-24 win over Mississippi State, the junior now has 86 catches on the year. That number sets a new Ole Miss record for receptions in a season.
This kid is just removing my name from the record books .He has one more to go. Moore life , Moore everything. Love this kid 🖤 https://t.co/tjRKOYwwtY
— AJ Brown (@Brown1arthur) November 29, 2020
It is impressive Moore broke the record held by A.J. Brown now with the Tennessee Titans, but the timeline is even more impressive.
Brown set the record in a 12-game regular season.
Moore broke it in only eight games and against all Southeastern Conference secondaries.
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 Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com 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.