/Surreal For past five weeks Mississippi college football is in the ‘Twilight Zone’

Surreal For past five weeks Mississippi college football is in the ‘Twilight Zone’

Matt Luke, Ole Miss’ head football coach, was just a month ago. He tried to win the Egg Bowl by getting a new vote of confidence from the university administration. Threety-three days back, Joe Moorhead, the Mississippi State head football coach, had just defeated Ole Miss to advance to the second consecutive bowl. How things have changed. You could see TV cameras focusing on Luke, Georgia’s new assistant head coach, as the Bulldogs defeated Baylor Wednesday night. Lane Kiffin is the new head coach of Ole Miss. He was a college football lightning rod and it was only Thursday that it was announced that he had hired D.J., the former Maryland head coach. Durkin will join his defensive team. Durkin was fired after a controversy surrounding the death of a Maryland player who died from heatstroke during off-season training. Yes, indeed. If you tuned in to the SEC Network at noon on Friday, you could see John Cohen, Mississippi State athletic director, explaining why Moorhead, “a tremendous man and an outstanding coach” (Cohen’s words), is no longer Mississippi State’s coach. Surreal? You bet. You bet. It is clear that both Mississippi State and Ole Miss have spent millions and even millions of dollars trying to correct past mistakes. It’s almost as if they’re paying Monopoly money. Moorhead and Luke are both owed enormous buyouts. Moorhead owed $7 million to Luke, and $6.5 million to Luke. This could be reduced depending on where he coaches next, and what his salary. Many assistants were on multi-year contracts. Ole Miss will spend $17 million to fire Luke. This is the best estimate. Moorhead’s firing is also going to be expensive, but not as much. If you’ve ever wondered where the $40 million plus cut from TV and bowl money goes each year, now you know. There are many parallels between Ole Miss and the State. Both cases seem to have been influenced by discipline issues. Luke might still be Ole Miss’ head coach if wide receiver Elijah Moore had not imitated a dog peeing near the Egg Bowl. If State linebacker Willie Gay hadn’t rearranged quarterback Garrett Shrader, Moorhead could still be the State head coach. (Read the paragraph again, and tell me if you think this month of Mississippi football has been surreal. Cohen did not say Friday that Moorhead was fired because of the post-practice brawl, but he said that it was one of many events that had to be evaluated. Cohen and State are both interested in the job. Current and former head coaches will be interested in the job, even if it is late. The job offers a four-year, guaranteed contract that is likely to be worth 15 or 16 millions dollars. As we’ve seen, you will get paid regardless of whether you win. It also includes a place at the highest level of competition in the most prestigious conference in America. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the two most poor members of the seven-team Western Division (SEC) of the SEC. You must play Alabama (LSU), Auburn, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Texas A&M every year. This won’t happen forever. You have less resources than your peers, even with the SEC annual pay day. This column began by discussing what Mississippi football looked like one month ago. Let’s look back five years. State was ranked No. For much of 2014, State was ranked No. Ole Miss was ranked at No. 3. State was No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings. 1. Already high expectations were raised in 2014 to a point that Mississippi teams cannot even begin to match. It’s not unbelievable. It’s not a myth.