Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In response to ATVS

I wanted to take a minute to respond to this post from And The Valley Shook, a very well done LSU blog. It's a fairly in-depth rundown of why Ole Miss won't win the West this year, and unlike Finebaum's pointless rant, actually offers some research.

Take this quote for example:
But this is a team that has to improve in order to win the division, and I don't see that improvement. I believe that it will be a major challenge to merely maintain the massive improvement the program made last season. I actually believe Nutt is up for that challenge, but expecting more seems a tad unrealistic. The jury is still out on whether last season was a one-year aberration or a new level for Ole Miss. The most likely answer is that the truth lies somewhere in between.
I take umbrage with a few points in that paragraph, and not just the misuse of the word "massive".

  • First, I'm not sure how much the Rebels actually have to improve to win the division this year. I'd say there's signiifcantly more pressure on LSU to get better, particularly when they're building their offense around an unproven and (at least in my eyes) overrated commodity in Jordan Jefferson. There's also a lot of pressure on Alabama to simply maintain what they were last year with the loss of a senior QB, a huge chunk of their OL and some key defensive losses. Arkansas has the potential to be the most improved overall, but a killer schedule leaves them a year away from a run at the SEC West. Auburn and MSU are non-factors in the grand scheme of things.

  • As for not seeing the improvement, considering the Rebels haven't even reported yet, that's a bold statement. No one will see any improvement or steps back until the product hits the field next week. And it'll most likely be the South Carolina game before the Rebels are faced with an imposing test, and that'll give Nutt and staff two games and an off week to rectify any problems. While everyone else in the West is trying to get their offense in sync, Snead and crew will be hanging 50+ on Memphis and SELA.

  • Earlier in the post, he says that last year was good, but not great, which I agree with. The last 6 games were fantastic, but the seaon as a whole left something to be desired. But his sentence wondering whether 2008 was a one-year abberation or a new level for Ole Miss shows a subtle disrespect for the Rebels. Wiith a legitimate head coach in place for the first time since Pine Box Tommy skated town under a cloak of darkness and the current and incoming talent pool, there's no reason that the Rebels can't maintain a degree of success similar to 2008. It wasn't all that long ago that Ole Miss took 4/5 from the Tigers before the dark days of EOr ran the ship ashore.

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