BARNEStorming: Eli’s No. 10 will be Retired and other Thoughts Around the College Football World
OXFORD, Miss. — Former Ole Miss great Eli Manning will have his jersey retired Saturday during the Rebels game with Ole Miss Saturday, and the Vaught-Hemingway end zones will feature the name “Manning.”
Of course, football fans know the Manning name for the exploits of Archie, Cooper, Peyton and Eli – and hopefully Olivia who raised those three sons – and perhaps another Manning will join the family legacy in a couple of years.
So, it is an easy conclusion to make the Ole Miss clan (and that one who went to Knoxville), might be the most-famous Mannings in history.
Which got us to thinking about others who had that name. Actress Taryn Manning starred on “Orange is the New Black,” Danny Manning was a star basketball player at Kansas and in the NBA. But there are others: Henry Edward Manning was the Archbishop of Westminster a couple of centuries ago, Ernest Preston Manning was the founder of the Reform Party of Canada, and Katy Manning was an actress who appeared in “Dr. Who.”
Still, the Mannings from New Orleans top that list.
Also, it is Eli’s day in Oxford, and he probably has more fans than Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin or actor Eli Wallach, and Manning is much more popular than Alabama broadcaster Eli Gold. At least he is in Mississippi.
NOT THAT SUNNY IN THE STATE THIS SEASON:
Florida might be known as the Sunshine State, but in the fall of 2021, there is gloom all over the place.
The state’s “Big Three,” also known as Florida, Florida State and Miami, are a combined 8-11 this season. It does not stop there. Among Florida’s FBS teams, only FAU and UCF are playing .500 ball. FIU and USF are each 1-5.
In the FCS ranks, only Florida A&M has a winning record at 4-2. Stetson is 2-4, while Bethune Cookman is 0-7. It could be worse for those schools. Florida Tech and Jacksonville disbanded its programs in 2019.
Division II’s West Florida has the best record in the state at 5-1, but even the Argonauts lost last weekend to West Georgia 30-26.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are 6-1, while Louisiana Monroe sits at 3-3. LSU is the only other school in the Bayou State with a winning record.
In Texas, the only two undefeated teams are SMU and Texas-San Antonio. UTEP, yes, UTEP, is a shocking 6-1. In the far west, only San Diego State has an unblemished record in California. Fresno State is at 5-2.
STILL GOING FOR IT
Ole Miss is now 20-of-27 in fourth-down attempts this season, good for a 74-percent success rate. That is still only ranked 19th in the FBS. The Rebels are holding the opposition to 50 percent, or 9-of-18.
Two of the service academies have taken a page from coach Lane Kiffin’s play sheet. Air Force is 17-for-21 and Army is 15-of-20.
The nation’s leader in that category is Coastal Carolina at a perfect 6-of-6. The Chantacleers did not attempt a fourth down Thursday at Appalachian State, but perhaps they should have. The Mountaineers upset No. 13 CCSU, 30-27.
LSU is a whopping 100% in the red zone, tied for first in the country with TCU and Washington. The Tigers have scored on 19 of 19 red zone possessions with four rushing TDs, 10 passing TDs and 5 field goals.
ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT AN UPSET PICK
I have been woeful at picking upsets this season, but I normally have a good reason for the selection. This week, I have two reasons for my insanity.
Give me Army to upset Wake Forest.
I cannot wrap my head around the fact WFU is thought of as the No. 16 team in the country, so they have got to come down to earth at some points.
And Army runs the triple options, something the Demon Deacons have not seen this year.
But, hey, I could be wrong. Again.
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.