All posts by Acey Roberts

Acey is from the Jackson, MS area with an engineering degree from Ole Miss (the oldest engineering program in “Our State”), but doesn’t let his day job prevent him from displaying his passion for Ole Miss and SEC sports. While waiting for the day Ole Miss Football returns to glory, he objectively comments on the current news of the day. Acey is one of the founders of MakeItRainSports, contributing articles at Bleacher Reports and Fansided as well as Co-Hosts the MakeItRainSports and The Season Ticket radio shows on the VsportoNetwork. Loves BBQ and female fitness instructors; Hates commas and LSU. Follow on twitter @Aceyrob
NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Georgia Tech v Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze Stakes Claim As The Best Coach In Mississippi History

In his three years at Ole Miss, Coach Hugh Freeze has amassed 24 wins, increasing his win total each year resulting in a 9 win season in 2014.  His 24 wins put Coach Freeze in some rare company in the State of Mississippi and in the SEC.

In fact, since World War II no one has been able to match Hugh Freeze’s three year win total in this State. Famed Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught started at Ole Miss with a bang in 1947 and won 17 games in his first two seasons, but a rebuilding year in 1949 resulted in only 4 wins.

Houston Nutt came to Ole Miss with a wealth of talent on the roster and won 9 games each of his first two years in ’08 and ’09 but had a disaster of a season in 2010 with only four wins.

David Cutcliffe had some good talent on his teams thanks to Tuberville and amassed 22 total wins from ’99 to ’01 and Billy Brewer won 15 from ’83 to ’85.

Going back through the annuals of Ole Miss history, the only Ole Miss coach with more than 24 wins in three years was Harry Mehre who won 25 from 1938 to 1940.

Coach Mehre played his college ball at Notre Dame from  1919-1922, then coached at Georgia for 10 years from 1928-1937 before moving over to Oxford.

(Read complete article at RebelNationMagazine.com)

Mentioning Freeze’s name along with Johnny Vaught and other legendary head coaches may raise some eyebrows, but also consider that Vaught averaged 7.6 wins per year over his 25 year career.  Freeze is at an even 8 win average so far.

What is even more impressive in Hugh Freeze’s three year record is the state of the program when he took over.  Freeze did not have multiple future NFL players on the roster as when Coach Nutt took over in 2008.  Freeze inherited a team with low morale, over 20 kids at risk of failing out of school and no real glimpse of daylight for the fans.

Freeze entered Ole Miss with personal expectations that it might take a few years to get the program back on track.  But after back-to-back bowls in his first two seasons, Freeze’s off season narrative changed to try to tamper fans’ expectations.

At the Regions’ pro-am golf tournament last May, Freeze responded to the topic of being ahead of schedule.  He stated, “Actually way ahead for me.  Some fans might not say that.  I kind of thought year 3 we would be fighting to get to a bowl game,” he said. “Having gone to two and won two, I think we’re ahead of schedule.”1

He made it well known to the fan base and to the media that they were not quite ready for SEC championships.  His honesty plus nine wins this year has further engendered him to the Ole Miss fan base.
Athletic director Ross Bjork rewarded Freeze this year with a big salary increase to reflect his win total by making him the 4th highest paid coach in the SEC with over $4 million per year.

It was once thought that Ole Miss was a stepping stone school.  A place where young coaches come to prove themselves and move on, or old coaches come to retire.

That is no longer the case.

With the recent success on the field, a current $150 million building campaign along with the existing facilities, Ole Miss is becoming a school that can legitimately compete for titles again.

It has been over 50 years since Ole Miss has won the SEC, but with the unique qualities of Hugh Freeze at the helm, Ole Miss is back in the national spotlight again

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If Ole Miss Never Was: A Look Back, To The Future?

Ole Miss people are passionate about Ole Miss.  No matter if you are just a fan or a big donor alumni, if you feel connected to the school, you are emotionally invested.

Let’s be honest.  Ole Miss does not win national championships very often in football and it does not provide one of the best degrees in the nation.  It is hard damn work being a fan of Ole Miss.  This school means something to us.

So, naturally, everyone has very strong opinions about how everything should be done in Oxford.  From coaching to concessions to the Lyceum, everyone thinks they know what is best for the school, and they just might fight you over it.

The Dan Jones/IHL dust up is just the latest in a never-ending public discussion surrounding Ole Miss.  When it comes down to it, people make decisions that affect the path and direction of the school.  The leadership at Ole Miss is also subject to public and political influence just like anyone else would be.

The victories and missed opportunities through her long history can be attributed to the success or failure of its leaders.

There is no need to review all the historical markers along the way.  Plenty of ink is spilled every year talking about 1962 reminding us of the shed blood on this campus.

I often have wondered why we have to see the face of James Meredith every time Ole Miss’ football team is put on TV.  But the fact remains that the University of Mississippi was a battle ground for a positive civil rights change in this state and nation.  And for better or for worse, we will never escape our place in history.

It is forever a part of this school and campus and if you don’t like it, you might as well move on and pick up a different color pom pom.

But because we can, i do think it is worth discussing the fantasy of “what if.”

What if, Ole Miss was never saddled with the familiar and sometimes controversial nickname and instead forged ahead with a more respectful UMiss?

What if this school never had to bear the weight of being THE University of the South and all the trappings that came with it.

What if instead this school was focused solely on the education of the people in this state and furthering understanding.

What if this school’s students never carried the confederate flag into a saturday afternoon battle on the football field or felt like the south needed to “rise again?”

What if instead of working to “become” a great American University, we embraced that goal 150 years ago?

Since i am a product of the Ole Miss Engineering school i think about Dr. A.P. Barnard.  If you are not familiar with his contributions to the University, you should look it up.

In 1854, Dr. Barnard joined the faculty in Oxford as one of the top mathematical professor’s in the world at the time.  A top graduate of Yale and a Massachusetts native, he began work at the University and soon became chancellor in 1856 until the outbreak of the Civil War.

In Dr. Barnard’s five years, he established world class laboratories with the best astronomical and scientific equipment available at the time.

The 2000 plate galvanic battery used to discover alkalies in the 19th century was housed in Oxford as well as the largest telescope in the world was being built at Ole Miss until the war halted its construction.

The students all went to battle and the school was razed.

The equipment as well as Dr. Barnard was shipped up north.  The telescope became a key feature at the Dearborn Observatory in Chicago.

Dr. Barnard landed at Columbia University and for the next 25 years, he led Columbia to become the world leader it is today.  He even helped establish a women’s college in New York because they could not attend Columbia at the time (Barnard College for Women).

The war was out of the control of politicians in Mississippi but the resistance that followed for the next 150 years to today has held our state University back.  You can’t deny that.

Could we be talking about UMISS in the same league as Columbia or Yale today?  Possibly, but that would have taken the halting of the war between the states.

Even though it is interesting and vitally important to go back and study our history we can not change any of it.  As i always say, “It is what it is.”

We do however have some control of our future.  Even though we have had many failures in this state over time, our greatest successes are still out there and available for us.

In order for those possibilities to become reality, you have to close the history book and open your mind.  Think about a University not named Ole Miss, not chained to just Mississippi and the sins of our fathers.

What would that look like?  Would it be better or just different?

I am not recommending changing the nickname of our beloved college and I am not even necessarily a fan of Dr. Jones.  But I would be selling myself and our University short if i didn’t ask the question.

“What if?”

 

 

 

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FinsupAP: The “Fake” MIRS Princess

I was tricked, duped, lied-to and all the rest.

Let me first say, I don’t have to know you on twitter to talk to you.  The world of twitter is very anonymous by nature.  You can have a picture of a dog or a cat, you can even pretend to tweet from your dog or cat.  Some of you do that and have a huge following and make a lot of money from advertisers.

So if you are on twitter, you just have to understand that “fake” accounts are everywhere.  Some people have fake accounts so they can tweet about their boss, anonymously.  Some so they can talk sports smack, some so they can just talk freely without any judgement.

It is probably a great outlet to just get your thoughts out there for the world to see.  Maybe get some recognition or whatever drives your ego.

Make It Rain Sports was started in the summer of 2012.  Jake Wimberly and I are high school buds and from opposite spectrums of the Mississippi college sports world.  We talk sports all the time anyway, so we thought, why not put some of this stuff down on paper, maybe do a podcast of our foolishness.  We enjoyed doing it anyway.

We started up a twitter account and a website and we were off and rolling.  Just having fun.

At the time, fans were a lot like they are now, crazy and rabid about the Ole Miss – Mississippi State rivalry.

As we picked up followers on twitter and on the podcast we have made thousands of fans and friends through the show and our blog posts.  We are not professionals, we are just fans having fun.

One of the people that we ran across was a young girl named Analesa Presley.  Based on her musings about fingernail polish and Ole Miss sports we surmised she fit the mold of a typical recent high school graduate, getting ready to attend Ole Miss.  She was a cute young blonde of which there is an absolute army in Oxford.

As time went along, her interactions with Jake and I and our different producers Joe and Matthew continued, and we were actually impressed with her knowledge of sports.

We had a website and were trying to build readers and clicks so why not have a female perspective right?  Guys will love it! So, we got a couple of girls to write from time to time and one of them was Analesa.

She did a light hearted, funny take of college sports and guys ate it up, as I knew they would.  You guys are so predictable.  She coined herself “The MakeItRainSports Princess.”

As the attention on her grew, so did her anxiety about being in the spotlight.  She didn’t like so many people inquiring about her.  I thought she was just young and too immature to handle the attention.

I talked to this girl at least once a week during that period of almost a year, discussing article ideas, revisions and she was a guest on our podcast, twice. (Episode 1 —– Episode 2)

I never had a reason to doubt her.  First of all, It didn’t really matter to me if she was real or not.  Like I said, people do what they want on twitter.  If she is or is not a member of Elvis’ clan who am I to judge?

The only thing that made me pause and think twice was she never tried to visit with me or anyone else I knew in the Grove during Ole Miss pre-games.  But I am not trying to meet people off the internet anyway, especially girls 15+ years younger than me.

I did not require her to meet me or prove anything to me.  Let’s not make this internet thing any weirder than it is already.

But it did get weird.

As happens in an intense sports rivalry, there is a pack mentality.  If the pack senses weakness they attack faster and from all directions.

The more Analesa re-coiled from the hate and vitriol, the more Mississippi State fans chased her down.

She described to me the endless direct messages, the endless twitter mentions, the endless blog post comments saying terribly sexual and hurtful things to a young girl.  I saw them, it was and still is disgusting.  Grown men should have more pride than to act that way.

A lot of us defended her.  I defended her because I considered her one of my own.  One of the Ole Miss flock.  One of the “good” guys.

She was always nice to me and helped out my website and brand I was trying to create from scratch, so as far as I was concerned she was real and I was not going to let a bunch of “fake,” hateful MSU accounts attack her.

No one owes anything to you.  If you don’t like what someone says, don’t read it.  If you don’t like the color of someone’s jersey don’t look at it.  She, or whatever gender Analesa is, deserves the same privacy as any of us do.

But the social media drama continued to the point that she couldn’t take it anymore, she said she was being harassed in her classes at her junior college (She never said she attended Ole Miss) and she deleted every blog post she ever posted on the Make It Rain Sports site.

She eventually came back to social media, rather quickly I thought, but she was a little tougher and kept her guard up a little more.  She gave less personal information, less opportunities for comments from the “haters.”

Many people didn’t think she was real.  They said she had a noticeable lack of friends her age on facebook and twitter, no obvious high school friends; so sure, there were red flags.

She kept posting more photos, creating more social media accounts; Instagram, facebook, snapchat and the longer this charade went on the easier it was for me to accept.

This went on for almost three years, until yesterday.

Steve Robertson from MSU’s Scout page broke the news that there is a real girl that the photos actually belong too.  A girl that lives in Atlanta that had not given anyone authority to use her photos, least of all an Ole Miss fan account;  She is an Auburn fan.

In a flash, the social media accounts we all knew as Analesa Presley, disappeared.  Three years of me and other Ole Miss fans defending this person is over and I have to admit we all look pretty silly.

But that’s fine.  I have looked foolish before, I will do something foolish again.

The bigger question is if Analesa is not Analesa, who is that person?  It is still a young girl (from her voice on the phone) that is human and obviously has some real issues that need to be dealt with.

Hiding behind a fake name and fake twitter photo is not helping her deal with life and the embarrassment of being publicly shamed like this won’t help either.

Regardless of whom this person is; man, woman or child, I am still concerned about them as a person.  If you read this, please know that you don’t have to hide.  I would love to hear your side of the story.

 

Photo via Dak Dillon - USA Today

Ole Miss at LSU: Do or Die?

Ole Miss is on the “back turn” of the SEC basketball season and despite having 19 wins, they still have some work to do to make sure they get that NCAA at-large bid.

Today the Rebels face the imaginary Tigers, native to the State of Louisiana, for a game that could very well be a “do-or-die” game.

It would give Ole Miss 9 top 100 RPI wins and a potential 5th top 50 RPI if LSU can finish strong.  A loss on the road to a quality LSU team is not devastating but with the home loss to Georgia, they are running out of time to impress the tournament committee.

Unlike Georgia, LSU has two quality scoring threats.  Forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey average 16.5 points per game, the same as Ole Miss’ Stefan Moody.

This team will put even more pressure on the Ole Miss front court who was beat up a little late against Georgia.

Ole Miss was within two points of Georgia with two minutes left to play when Georgia took it down low and had their way with the Rebels, eeking out a four point victory.

Granted Ole Miss had a cold night shooting and could easily overcome their offensive struggles in the paint by trading three pointers for two.

Can Ole Miss get hot early and win a game they “should” win?  We shall see soon!

Andy Kennedy made a passionate case for his team to step up their emotion after the team looked like they were going through the motions Wednesday night.

This is not a do or die game but would remove most of the late season drama if the Rebels can pull it off.

OLEMISS AT LSU – BY THE NUMBERS

Pts per game: LSU 74, Ole Miss 73

Rebounds per game: LSU 39.6, Ole Miss 37.5

Field goal %: LSU 50.7, Ole Miss 48.6

Three pointers made: Ole Miss 6.5, LSU 5.6

 

 

Photo via Dak Dillon – USA Today
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MIRS Interview: Rod Walker Talks Shea Patterson, Ole Miss Recruiting 2016

(Listen to the MIRS Interview on RebelSportsRadio – Click Here)

Joining us now on the Make It Rain Sports show is Rod Walker with the New Orleans Advocate.  Rod lets talk about Ole Miss commitment of Shea Patterson, the #1 2016 QB out of Calvary Baptist in Shreveport.  He looks really polished and he seems to have skills for the college game.  Calvary is a 2A school in Louisiana, tell us the difference between 2A in Louisiana and Mississippi.

It’s about the same, we have 5 classifications in Louisiana compared to 6 in Mississippi, so it’s (Calvary) still a small school but he has put up some yards, around 2500 yards passing, 38 touchdowns, with 3 interception.  He has played some big schools too, Parkway, West Monroe, Byrd.  West Monroe is one of the biggest programs in the state of Louisiana; one of the biggest in the country as far as what they have done.  He had 7 touchdowns against those three schools, so despite the small school, he is a legitimate guy.

I’m really looking forward to seeing him at Ole Miss if he holds true to his commitment and all indications are that he will.  He talks about graduating early and when you have a guy talking about leaving early, they are focused and they know what they want to do.  He is really a legitimate guy.  I’ve seen the comparison to Eli Manning, I didn’t see Eli in high school. But to be compared to Eli, with what he has done is a big honor.

You had a chance to see Shea play in high school.  In today’s college game, with Ole Miss’ Coach Freeze running an up-tempo offense, what kind of QB would you compare him to.

That’s a hard question really.  He will still put on a little more weight, but he is really talented, he can make all the throws.  He doesn’t have eye popping rushing numbers, but he has good mobility and can extend plays and avoid contact.  He just looks like a guy that is perfect for the personnel they have around him at Ole Miss.

I don’t know the ins and outs of what made him choose Ole Miss, but you look at other schools like say for instance, an LSU, and his talent really fits better at Ole Miss.  He had a chance to go up against another Ole Miss QB Jason Pellerin from New Iberia and got the win against him last year.  He is just a really solid player.

Since you are in New Orleans area, I know you follow LSU and Les Miles’ recruiting, he missed on a few big players this year, especially on the offensive and defensive line.  He basically had the attitude that if you don’t want to play in Louisiana, ‘to hell with you.’  Is that exodus of players something to be concerned about for LSU fans with guys like Patterson and other high profile players looking to go out of state.

Some have gotten away but he always has good players.  Shea is really not a native Louisiana guy.  He moved in from Texas and doesn’t have the ties to Louisiana like a lot of these guys do.  He does have a big commit Franks at the QB position from Florida and that may also have had an effect on Patterson’s decision.

Ole Miss also has wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in this class which should provide quite a nice 1-2 punch.

Definietly.  Once you get guys committing early, 5 star players, you attract other players.  Other players want to play with them, and will follow them, so it should do a lot for Ole miss recruiting

Hey Rod, we thank you for coming on the Make It Rain Show.  Follow Rod on Twitter at @RWalkerAdvocate and TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com