Column: On Expectations for the 2022 Season
OXFORD, Miss. — With few exceptions over the years my approach towards expectations for a coming Ole Miss football season has tended towards cautious optimism. Some of those years it has been more optimistic than others. This is one of those years.
Of course, many times my optimism was based on certain assumptions that proved to be inaccurate. Often, I was simply delusional in my preseason visions of glory. Sometimes fate and the prejudices of others conspired against the Rebels.
It can be easy to fall prey to the “He’s going to be better than Eli”, “This kid is the next Dexter McCluster,” or “He’s the sleeper that no one is talking about who has All-SEC potential.”
Who among us hasn’t allowed ourselves to buy into these types of statements and others over the years?
One must also be careful about significantly adjusting expectations early in the season. I recall thinking early in the second quarter of the 2016 season opener against Florida State that the Rebels were going to be national champions. They lost by 11 and went on to finish 5-7.
All that being said, how can I avoid being optimistic about the prospects of the 2022 Ole Miss squad? Alas, I cannot.
- The Rebels have Lane Kiffin—truly one of the best offensive minds in college football.
- The running back room appears to be one of the best in the nation.
- All indications are that the overall depth is better than it has been in years.
- One of the two talented quarterbacks will step up.
- The early season schedule is favorable.
With these in mind, among other positive developments, what should one expect this season? Making the college football playoff? ESPN Gameday setting up in the Grove four times this season? The Rebels having the top three finishers in the Heisman voting? Let’s dial it back just a bit, Sparky.
While I believe this team has the potential to be very good, I’m also not overly concerned. Let me explain. I know it isn’t the case for everyone, but winning a baseball national championship has me approaching the football season—and life in general—with the attitude that anything else good that happens is just gravy. Numerous fans with stickers or license plates of other schools on their vehicles who’ve witnessed me go fins up as I passed them on the interstate can attest that I’m feeling pretty good.
Given that Ole Miss is coming off a Sugar Bowl season in football and baseball national championship, if you’re Irish Catholic you likely believe that you are unworthy of being blessed in such a manner and the rent is about to come due.
Fortunately, I am neither Irish nor Catholic and I intend to enjoy this unexpected success as long as I can. Plus, the Rebels have [insert current player name here], who could very well turn out to be the next Deuce McAllister.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Clint is a native of Pensacola, Florida with a BA and MBA from Ole Miss. He’s a season ticket holder for football, baseball and basketball who has made countless road trips to watch the Rebels play over the years. He’s witnessed the highs (2016 Sugar Bowl), the lows (Bryce Drew), and everything in between. He has three grown children (Will, Wes, and Reagan) and currently resides in Oxford with his wonderful wife Janna.