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BARNEStorming: Thoughts Around the College Football World

BARNEStorming: Thoughts Around the College Football World

OXFORD, Miss. – Dayton Wade caught his first touchdown pass as an Ole Miss Rebel Saturday. It came in the first quarter and put Ole Miss up early and gave the Rebels a lead it would never surrender.

But the touchdown was not just Wade’s first, it was Jacour Pearson 2.0 from last season. In the loss to Auburn last season, Pearson caught a similar pass, but his did not go for a score.

“(Pearson) showed me a picture the dude I caught a touchdown on,” Wade said. “He got a picture like basically the dude, the same person in trail mode like in the picture.”

The odd thing is both Pearson and Wade transferred from Western Kentucky to play at Ole Miss. What are the odds a pair of group of five players would catch a ball in the same fashion against the same Tigers’ defensive back?

The unfortunate Auburn player will remain nameless as he gave up passes to a pair of Rebels/Hilltoppers.

THE SUN BELT WEST:Thursday, South Alabama will host Troy in a Sun Belt Western Division battle. The game is called “The Battle of the Belt,” but this year it has more meaning.

Both teams are not out of the scope of a New Year’s Six Bowl.

South Alabama is 5-1 with its lone loss to UCLA on a field goal as time expired. If Troy had knocked down an Appalachian State Hail Mary, the Trojans would be 6-1 with their only loss to Ole Miss. There are no undefeated group of five schools left and should Cincinnati lose another, and South run the table and win the Sun Belt, the Jaguars should be the selection for a New Year’s Six game.

But USA will have to get through Troy, a game at Georgia Southern and beat Old Dominion which has already defeated Virginia Tech, then win the SBC title game against probably Coastal Carolina to get there.

If the Jags are 12-1, a conference champ with one loss by a point to a ranked Power Five team, shouldn’t they go to a big-time bowl?

SYRACUSE:Could the Donovan McNabb-type Orange be back?

The next two weeks will tell us. Syracuse is 6-0 and will play Clemson and Notre Dame in the next two weeks. Should the Orange win those games, they will indeed be back.

But where did they go?

Teams like Syracuse, Rutgers and a few other northern teams that have had success in the past have fallen on hard times. But why?

The answer is in 12 letters. UCF, USF, FIU, FAU.

Since Central Florida, South Florida, Florida International and Florida Atlantic have taken football seriously, a lot of southern players have shunned the frozen north to stay home to play. But lately, the Orange has lured players from the Orange Bowl state and other southern locales to come to upstate New York and play college ball.

This season, Syracuse has 22 players from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina on its roster.

That talent makes your team relevant again in college football.

THE BEST POWER FIVE JOB LEFT? That is a hard question to answer. Colorado and Arizona State are open, but what is going to happen to the PAC-12? Wisconsin is technically open, but the ideal candidate, Jim Leonhard, is the interim coach.

No one knows what is going on at Nebraska and when does the Auburn job become available?

The logical answer is Georgia Tech.

Even though its interim coach, Brian Key, is undefeated, he might be a long shot. Tech did hire J Batt as athletic director this week from his post at Alabama. Although Jamie Chadwell from Coastal Carolina and Deion Sanders from Jackson (Miss.) State are out there, look for Batt to stay with what is familiar to him and go with Bill O’Brien, the offensive coordinator at Bama.

But still, the Tech job is the best available as it is in the best position to win its conference in the near future.

UPSET ALERT:Tulane has snuck into the Top 25 and if the Green Wave is too busy celebrating to take care of business, Memphis could easily win that game.

Steve Barnes
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 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.

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 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.

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