Ranking Mullen and Freeze Nationally

Ranking Mullen and Freeze Nationally

Athlon recently ran a story where they ranked all the coaches in college football. Dan Mullen came in at 23 and Hugh Freeze came in at 30. Notably, Mullen finished 1 spot above Les Miles and Hugh Freeze finished 1 spot above Mike Leach. Below are the breakdowns for both Mullen and Freeze but the rankings in their entirety can be read here.
23. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Overall Record at Mississippi State: 29-22 (2009-present, 5 years)

Each BCS conference seems to have one coach that cannot be judged strictly on his record. Mullen fits that profile for the SEC, as he is coming off his fifth year in Starkville and has a 29-22 overall record. Although Mullen’s overall record isn’t overly impressive, Mississippi State is arguably one of the toughest jobs in the SEC. The Bulldogs have played in three consecutive bowl games under Mullen and are coming off a 4-4 conference record in the always loaded SEC. Mullen is 3-1 against rival Ole Miss and has won seven or more games in each of the last three seasons. Prior to taking the top spot at Mississippi State, Mullen worked as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. There’s no question Mullen needs to consistently beat some of the top teams in the SEC West to climb higher in the coach rankings. However, it’s not easy to win the division right now, especially as Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M could all be top-15 teams in 2013. If Mullen was at one of the top jobs in the conference – Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia – he would easily win at a higher level.

30. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Record at Ole Miss: 7-6 (2012-present)
Record at Arkansas State: 10-2 (2011)
Record at Lambuth: 20-5 (2008-09)
Overall Record: 37-13 (4 years)

After a successful debut in Oxford, a case could be made Freeze should be ranked higher on this list. The Mississippi native inherited an Ole Miss team that went 2-10 in the year prior to his arrival and guided the Rebels to a 7-6 finish with a victory over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl. After finishing 2011 as the SEC’s worst team, Ole Miss was one of college football’s top 40 teams last year. Success and improvement hasn’t just been limited to one stop for Freeze, as Lambuth was 20-5 from 2008-09 under his watch, and Arkansas State went 4-8 prior to his arrival, only to win 10 games in Freeze’s only season in Jonesboro. Freeze is bringing in a top-five recruiting class to Oxford, and the program is clearly headed in the right direction. The Mississippi native has never been a head coach at one stop long enough to show he can sustain success for five or more seasons. However, considering his recruiting haul and track record so far, there’s little to doubt Freeze will continue to climb on this list in the coming years.

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Has Marshall Henderson Matured?

Has Marshall Henderson Matured?

Mississippi State made headlines today punching their ticket to Omaha and many fans and athletes including Marshall Henderson (yes the crazy,landsharking, 3-point shooting madman) sent out congratulations over social media. You read that right. The lightening rod of controversy, often known for his on-court antics, made a very classy move after game 2 concluded. Tweeting pleasantries to your arch rival is quite the move.

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I know a lot of MSU fans have had a lot of hate for Marshall. I’ve been consistent in how I felt about him. I’ve always thought he was fun to watch but needed to mature and I never came down hard on him as a person. I thought his tweet yesterday was refreshing and is perhaps a sign of his maturation.

I’ve always said the first step in being a grown man is to learn to take responsibility for ones actions and learn from them. At the conclusion of the Rebel’s season, Marshall wrote a letter to Ole Miss fans apologizing for some of his antics and vowing to be a leader in 2014. When it was released, many fans were still skeptical of the sincerity but I must say that he has been a bit different since he wrote that.

Rivalry aside, I’m a guy that roots for people to better themselves especially when they handle themselves with class. I like what I’m seeing from Marshall and Ole Miss fans should too. He has a chance to really be a positive ambassador for Ole Miss with his new mindset.

Maybe I’m blowing this out of proportion and he is actually a closet Mississippi State fan as this picture shows him with his favorite blanky ; )

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MSU & Ole Miss Could Make Up to $70M a Year with New Deal

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Another hectic travel day for me but that doesn’t mean no reading material. I’ve held off from commenting so far on the SEC Network deal because there is so much detail and I didn’t feel like anyone was explaining it fully. Clay Travis wrote an excellent piece on the subject that’s easy to read and makes it crystal clear. MSU and OM are both benefitting greatly from the last deal to the tune of approximately $25 million a year. It’s easy to see the push that money has given the athletic departments. The new deal goes until 2034 and all we can do is guess about the money it will generate at maturity but Travis predicts it could almost triple. Seeing the changes with $25 million a year makes it staggering to think about what we’ll see at $70 million. I suggest reading the whole story by clicking on the highlighted text.

As part of this new deal, I think ESPN has guaranteed the SEC a substantial payment as a floor before the revenue share kicks in on the network. What would that guarantee be? I’m certain it’s more than what any other conference is presently receiving for its television rights. My guess is that the guarantee is around $350 million. So bottom line, I believe that each SEC team is now guaranteed around $25 million a year from ESPN. I believe that the 50/50 split would kick in once we get above that guarantee on the SEC Network in the years to come. If you hit $3 a month on the subscriber fee in the SEC footprint over the next decade, then we’re talking about a billion dollars plus another $333 million in ad sales. That’s $1.333 billion a year in revenue. Take off the $350 million guarantee and the SEC and ESPN would be splitting right at 1 billion. That’s $500 million for each. So we’re talking about $850 million being split among 14 teams in the SEC, that’s nearly $61 million a year per team just from ESPN. As I said earlier, the CBS package will hit the market in 2023/24 and be worth another $250 million a year at least. That would be another ten million for each team. That’s $70 million or more in television money per team in a decade or so. Bottom line? The SEC is poised to make it rain in college athletics.

Ole Miss Schedule: Game by Game Confidence Ranking

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at Vandy 49%- This game is truly a coin flip and the only reason I gave Vandy 1 extra % is because its at home. It’s funny how huge this game is and how much it affects the rest of the season. A win could bump the remaining percentages by 10% but a loss could drop them by 10%.

vs Southeast Missouri 99%- There will be a party in the grove this day. The Redhawks don’t have a chance.

at Texas 40%- The Longhorns will probably be favored but I think the Rebs have a pretty good shot here. If Ole Miss can fix their defensive performance from the meeting last year in Oxford, an upset would not shock me.

at Bama 15%- This is a very long shot. I’ve already seen 2 OM bloggers ( hottytoddy.com & Seph something on Bleacher Report) pick the Rebs. First off, going to T-Town and knocking off The Crimson Tide is almost impossible. Second, the Rebs don’t beat Bama. All time record is 50-8-2 and Ole Miss has won 3 times in the last 30 years.

at Auburn 45%- This one looks a bit controversial on the surface. Look deeper. Ole Miss comes off a slug fest at Bama and Auburn comes off a bye week. Auburn will be much improved from last year. I give Auburn the slight edge because of home field and the extra week to prepare.

vs Texas A&M 37%- This is a game that the Rebs should have won last year and A&M played a terrible game but turnovers saved them. This game should be a shoot out. Ole Miss comes off 2 straight really tough road trips and gets rewarded with Manziel in Oxford. Somehow this is Pete Boone’s fault.

vs LSU 40%- I’ve picked LSU 2nd in the west so I have to have them winning here. Doesn’t mean I feel good about it. LSU lost a lot and make no mistake, this is a very winnable game. Traditionally Ole Miss plays LSU very tough. The main reason I have LSU favored is scheduling. This is the tail end of murders row.

vs Idaho 99%- Finally a break from the insanity. This one will be a massacre. Big win for Rebs.

vs Arkansas 90%- The Hogs should be much improved but they simply do not have the offensive firepower to compete with Ole Miss. Look for a wide margin of victory in Oxford.

vs Troy 90%- The Trojans have a really nifty spread offense (11th nationally in total offense) and have been known to give SEC schools trouble. That said, they won’t win in Oxford.

vs Missouri 66.6%- I don’t think Mizzou is capable of going and getting a tough SEC road win. They’re decent on offense and average on defense. That’s not a good recipe facing Hugh Freeze’s offense. The thing I don’t get is the 2 bloggers I mentioned in the Bama description have the Rebs losing this one. How do you beat Bama on the road but lose to Mizzou at home? Rebs roll over the Tigers in Oxford.

at Mississippi State 30%-This will be the main one Rebel fans will disagree with me on and that’s fine. I think Freeze ignited the rivalry fire and MSU plays inspired ball. Traditionally in this series, the home team wins.

Quick Analysis – First thing is whoever made this schedule should be strung up. The first 7 are ridiculous. Auburn, LSU, & A&M are all winnable games but being sandwiched in that stretch like they are makes them collectively more difficult. The schedule ends much better so the first 7 will tell the tale. I can’t say enough about how big Vandy is. Win that one and they take off. Lose that one and the next 6 games are depressing. Solely based on my %’s I think Ole Miss has 5 wins in the bank. Texas, Auburn, A&M, and LSU are all close to being swing games. Split those and the Rebs are golden. Drop all 4 and it gets dicey. I think Ole Miss definitely gets 5 wins. They will probably find a way to get 6 and return to a bowl. 7 is doable but 8 is pushing it. 5-7 wins is their sweet spot with 8 being a possibility. Anything more or less than that and I’d be surprised.

MSU and Ole Miss Open 2013 with Monster Games

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While much of the country gets to settle in to their 2013 season with a cupcake game, MSU and Ole Miss both open with monsters. Both games have the ability to either catapult them into a great year or deflate and have them starting behind the eight ball. Mississippi State opens in a national kickoff game against early Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State at Reliant Field in Houston. Ole Miss gets Vandy in Nashville for a Thursday night prime time matchup on ESPN. Both games have huge implications for slightly different reason.

First thing that pops into mind for the MSU game is how risky it was to schedule this game. MSU has away trips to Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M making our away slate brutal this year. MSU is trying to make its 4th bowl appearance in a row and a loss in the opener makes the road much more difficult. Pair that with home games against LSU and Alabama and the schedule looks daunting. One thing no one can deny about this game is the national exposure MSU will get from this game. It’s not like MSU doesn’t have a chance. MSU very well could pull off the victory over a highly ranked national opponent on national television. That is the flip side of this and one that would make the risk by Scott Stricklin look like a genius move if it were to materialize. Also, MSU gets a huge payout for this game so it certainly makes fiscal sense.

The Rebel’s opener is a bit different. They play their permanent eastern division opponent so it wasn’t a game that could be avoided on the schedule. Vandy is coming off of a 9 win season and the home crowd will be electric in Nashville. Ole Miss faces a daunting task as well. From an outsider viewpoint, it seems Ole Miss has some sort of mental issue in beating Vandy that would be huge to overcome in week 1 of the season. The Rebels have had teams that are plenty good enough to beat Vandy but misfortune has cost them some games in this series. A win in this one not only starts the Rebel’s with a conference win but also defeating a previous mental challenge that could lead them primed for another bowl season.

A loss for either team would sting but would by no means be damning to the season. I can look at both of the schedules and see 6 wins at a minimum with the opportunity for 7 and maybe 8 with an upset. On the other hand a win would leave you set for an 8 win type season and a better bowl. I like to look at it through the lens of the openers setting the stage for the Egg Bowl either way. If both teams win, we are looking at a possible prime time matchup to end the season with a really good bowl on the line. If both teams were to lose, we could be looking at a battle for bowl eligibility. Either way it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

The last thing I look at is which game is bigger? I could see MSU fans arguing that their game is bigger due to the schedule. MSU’s schedule is brutal this year and an out of conference loss certainly does you no favors to continue the bowl streak. In my eyes the Ole Miss game is the bigger game because more is on the line. First and foremost the Rebels are playing a conference game. Second, they get a cupcake in week 2 but that is followed by at Texas, at Alabama, and at Auburn. I know if I was a Rebel fan, a loss in the opener and I’d have some anxiety looking at that stretch. At the end of the day, both games are big to each school. Both games could be classified as “program defining moments”. Fans of both schools want to see wins and moving up to the next level and both of these games afford that. The 1 thing I feel certain about is both schools should have no problem staying focused on training with openers like that.

The Case for Kennedy

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Ole Miss had a heartbreaking 62-63 loss at the hands of South Carolina that possibly put Ole Miss right outside of the NCAA tourney bubble. Before Kennedy even had time to answer post game media questions the message boards were already in full swing beating the “fire AK” drum. There is not a more emotional place after a loss than a team’s message boards. I get that, but this seems to be a growing sentiment among some Ole Miss fans who are ready to bail on Kennedy if the Rebels don’t make an NCAA appearance this year. Are you sure you really want that?
First thing you have to look at is Ole Miss Basketball historically. It’s been a long time since they made the NCAA tournament and if you look at it objectively, Ole Miss basketball history isn’t that great. Add in that basketball just isn’t stressed that much by fans and boosters. Also take into account how little talent is in his immediate recruiting area. Mississippi is already small but how many schools elite athletes do you think pick basketball? Taking all those factors into account, the first thing that needs to be addressed is what level of success do we realistically expect and strive for?
Next look at Kennedy and his record at Ole Miss. He is 144-84 for a .632 winning percentage. I don’t care what anyone says, that is a dang good record. The numbers don’t lie and Andy Kennedy has made Ole Miss a consistent winner. He doesn’t have the NCAA tournament banners yet but look at the odds against him: not a big basketball commitment from boosters and the worst arena in the SEC. Even with deficiencies against him he wins, period. Bjork seems to have made a bigger commitment to basketball. Imagine what Kennedy could do with better tools.
The last thing you need to think about is what it could be. If you make the move now, are you in a better position to upgrade and trend up as a program? I say no. It’s easy to take a .632 winning percentage with no NCAA’s for granted but you could end up like MSU in a year. MSU won’t sniff the NCAA for a long while. Most MSU fans would trade positions with you right now in a heartbeat. Let’s not kid ourselves either. Ole Miss can still play their way into the NCAA’s this year.
Guys, I’m telling yall, do not fire Andy Kennedy. Even if he doesn’t make the NCAA this year. Enjoy your success and embrace it. You have a reason to watch games. You have a reason to go to games. Some schools don’t and will not in the immediate future. Kennedy is a good coach who deserves to reap the benefits of an AD who wants a winning basketball program. If AK can go 144-84 with a swiss army knife, imagine what he can do with black and decker power tools.

Who is Incarcerated Bob?

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Who really thought all the drama associated with national signing day would actually stop on February 6th? Ole Miss went on to sign the best class in school history and also the best class in history by a “non-traditional power”.  The spoil of victory also brings in the shadow of doubt and the accusations of naysayers. One name that has had twitter, message boards, and Facebook in an uproar is Incarcerated Bob. He has been mercilessly antagonizing Coach Hugh Freeze and all of rebel nation via twitter. Before we go any further, who in the world is Incarcerated Bob?

After taking some time and scouring the net, the best information I could find on Bob was a piece written by Robert Silverman who is a big time blogger who has also done work with ESPN.  He got his name and his first bit of fame as a regular caller on the Boomer and Carton radio show, on WFAN 660 in New York. He received his nickname by the show’s host due to a prison stint he earned by getting into an altercation with a Patriots fan during the 2008 Super Bowl.  Since his return and higher profile, Incarcerated Bob has made his name and living doing 2 things: picking winners and breaking stories.

If you follow his twitter account @IncarceratedBob , it doesn’t take long to see he is constantly talking gambling and making picks in every sport. Let’s take a short look at the big stories that Incarcerated Bob has broken:

-Darrelle Revis ending his holdout

-Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos

-Tim Tebow going to the Jets

-The finalizing of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks

-The reason for the KG/Melo scrap, “Your wife taste like honey nut cheerios” scandal

Let’s take a look at some of his tweets aimed at Ole Miss that are causing discussion across the magnolia state:

-@incarceratedbob: @CoachHughFreeze Hi Coach #IBN here, how was dinner tonight… good? Almost as good as what i have cooking up here in NY #Doubtit #SMU

-@incarceratedbob:My stuff will probably be like USC was, maybe 2 years no bowl games but when other stuff comes out it can get scary for Ole Miss

-@incarceratedbob: @JonWallace20 Manti Teo story was known by Deadspin probably 3-4 weeks before made public, when time is right i will BLOW UP OLE MISS #BOOM

-@incarceratedbob: Oh u wondering why i haven’t blown up #Ole #Miss yet.. 1st off no incentive yet (I gamble) #Thinkonit +new WEBSITE coming ahh make sense now

I could go on because Bob has been on quite the tear of late but I won’t.  He claims to have paperwork of a vehicle for Nkemdiche that was paid for by an Ole Miss booster and has signatures of booth the relative and the booster. He also claims that he has been threatened to be sued by someone associated with Ole Miss I presume. For reference, he was threatened a lawsuit by the NBA and that didn’t stop so I don’t think he will back down now.

It will be interesting to see if this guy does in fact have anything and is not another Danny Sheridan “bagman in 2 weeks” scam.  My personal opinion is that I don’t believe he has a smoking gun. The only thing that even makes me question myself is his motive. What is it? I cannot figure out what interest a handicapper in New York has in an Atlanta prospect who signed with Ole Miss. It’s a very curios situation. Sheridan’s motives were transparent. A hatred for his school’s rival led to a smear campaign against them. There are a million alleged scandals, true or not, Incarcerated Bob could have chosen to promote himself. The question myself and many Mississippians wonder is why did he chose this one?

http://theclassical.org/articles/sex-lies-and-honey-nut-cheerios-a-conversation-with-incarcerated-bob