BARNEStorming: Thoughts Around the College Football World
OXFORD, Miss. – An Illinois high school held a “Mom’s Night” last week and it was not a traditional event. Instead of being presented a rose by their sons, these mothers were afforded the chance to don the pads and tackle their sons.
The chance to lay the leather to their kids – with the possibility of the memories of picking up dirty socks off bedroom floors or the constant reminders to mow the lawn – was a success not only at the school, but nationally when a video of the event went viral.
Moms suit up, and tackle their sons at football practice.pic.twitter.com/tEk7kppp0m
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 28, 2022
Perhaps Ole Miss should consider such an event. Just imagine Missy Broeker pummeling her son Nick. Or Carolyn Dent blindsiding Kinkead. Or Shay Finley delivering a clothesline to A.J. Or JJ Pegues being on the receiving end of a blindside block from his mom Allison.
Naw, Lane Kiffin should shelve that idea. He doesn’t need his players being hit like that before the season.
THE HOT SEAT
The season has barely started yet there are a number of coaches already in danger of losing their jobs. Three stand out.
Nebraska’s Scott Frost lost his opener last week to Northwestern. He made a decision in the second half to try an onside kick and it didn’t work out well for the Cornhuskers. From that point, Northwestern outscored the Huskers 14-0.
That was just the most recent disappointment for Frost since he came back to his alma mater from Central Florida. One of the most embarrassing losses came to the Ole Miss opponent this week, Troy, four years ago.
Nebraska’s fan base is one of the most loyal and knowledgeable in the country and it has bent over backwards to accommodate the former Huskers’ quarterback, but in the end, he needs to start winning and winning fast. Last week was not a good way to start.
Neal Brown is at West Virginia now, but his future could be tied to this week when the Mountaineers face Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. Since he arrived in Morgantown from Troy – where his team beat Frost’s Cornhuskers – he has failed to get that signature win.
Brown has only been on the job for three years, but that can be a lifetime in college coaching. When Brown arrived at WVU, he said he wanted to build a fence around the state and keep the best players at home.
Unfortunately, there is not much talent there. In the most recent list of ESPN’s Top 300 Recruits, not a single player is from West Virginia. He needs to beat the Panthers this week and win some big games in the Big 12 this season or he might get run out of town.
Bryan Harsin’s hot seat became an inferno this week when Auburn’s athletic director Allen Greene was shown the door. At Auburn, the football program is micromanaged by the boosters perhaps more than any other school in the nation.
During Greene’s tenure, the Tigers baseball team went to the College World Series twice and the basketball team played in the Final Four. But the football team has not come close to making the playoffs.
Harsin was not the most popular pick as the coach by the boosters because he came from Boise State. A non-Power Five school and not in the south. Those are two strikes against Harsin right there. They may have been forgotten last year had Auburn held onto a late lead against Alabama, but the Tide won the Iron Bowl in overtime.
With Greene no longer on the Plains to run interference for Harsin, he could be one embarrassing loss away from being the shortest-tenured coach at Auburn in modern history. Remember, the boosters got rid of Terry Bowden, and he went undefeated his first season. Gene Chizik also was sent packing and all he did was win Auburn’s first national title since 1957.
There are a few teams that should not overlook opponents this week, a couple of them play in the Southeastern Conference.
Mississippi State should be wary of a Memphis team that beat the Bulldogs last season, albeit in controversial fashion. Also, LSU should look out for Florida State in the “neutral” setting of New Orleans. Sure, FSU’s win last week was over FCS foe Duquesne, but the Seminoles were able to get the first-game jitters out of the way while this will be Brian Kelly’s debut for the Bayou Bengals.
In other games, Houston might not want to take Texas-San Antonio lightly, Oregon State could easily lose to Boise State and Army-Coastal Carolina is simply a toss-up.
A COOL HALFTIME
Last week, North Carolina beat Florida A&M 56-24. Sure, FAMU is an FCS team, but the Rattlers also traveled without 25 players who had not been cleared academically. But guess who did travel to Chapel Hill? The FAMU band, the Marching 100. At halftime, the North Carolina band joined its visitors from Tallahassee for a joint show.
FAMU and North Carolina marching Band combine from yesterday https://t.co/mTHF3ijoAY
— Mr Erick🎙👍🏼🤛🏾 (@erickherron334) August 28, 2022
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.