Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nutt if you do, "nut" if you don't?

All things considered, former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli being suspended for his senior season for the Ducks and then landing at Ole Miss a few weeks later is only a relatively small blip on the radar when you look at all the chaos that has transpired over the off-season. 

From (Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10) conference re-alignment to the NCAA coming down on USC to agent scandals, it's been a very busy summer for college football.

But, unlike all the other uproars occurring the last couple of months, few seemed to draw as much fiery opinions as the potential Masoli-to-Ole Miss situation.

Well today, potential officially became reality as Masoli not only walked on at Ole Miss, the former potential Heisman candidate attended his first practice for the Rebels.
Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has taken on bitter criticism for his decision to give Masoli a second, er, third, er, fourth chance.

Mainly because Masoli's record runs deep, having brushes with the law as far back as high school, then pleading guilty to second-degree burglary in a theft of a pair of laptops and a guitar from a campus fraternity late in January to the most recent instance, a traffic stop where marijuana was found in his car.
The latter was the last straw for Ducks coach Chip Kelly, who ultimately dismissed the troubled signal-caller for good.

Masoli, who, incidentally, graduated in three years at Oregon (not too shabby for a kid with a checkered past, huh?) discovered a loop hole in the NCAA system that says regardless of the suspension, since he has technically graduated, he can walk on at a different university so long as that institution offers a post-graduate program Oregon does not - and play right away.

A half dozen teams supposedly offered to take Masoli in, but in the end, he wound up at Ole Miss.
Nutt (a.k.a. The Right Reverend) has been called everything from a desperate coach to a dirty coach for letting Masoli in.

Some question his integrity and say the only reason he is giving Masoli this alleged second chance is because of the greed to win games (well DUH!!!).

And I agree it is more than likely no coincidence that Ole Miss - prior to Masoli's arrival in Oxford - was down to just one, very inexperienced scholarship QB on the roster.

But, playing the devil's advocate, I also wonder if Nutt really couldn't have made a "good" decision no matter which way he went.

Think about it.

Say Nutt doesn't take Masoli and the Rebels (already picked by the SEC media boys to finish at or near the bottom of the SEC West this fall) stumble to a 4-8 season (or worse) - this following last season's failure to meet high expectations.

Does he get dogged for not taking Masoli, by the SAME people then who are dogging him now for taking him?

I think Nutt went with the odds.

With Masoli, Ole Miss is probably 3 wins better with him than without him - making that possible 4-8 season a 7-5 or even a 6-6 team (remember 6 wins does get you eligible for a bowl you know!).

I also think that if the Rebels get to 7 or 8 wins, everyone will forget all about the controversy - and if Masoli stays out of further trouble, folks may even hail Nutt as a saint for taking a chance on the guy.

As far as I'm concerned, the only remaining question is when, not if, Masoli will take over the QB role at Ole Miss.

I predict he'll be playing full-time by the time Kentucky (and the real SEC part of the Rebels' slate) comes calling on Oct. 2.

What do you think? 

No, not when he'll take over, but are Houston Nutt and Ole Miss doing the right thing?

I'd really like to get your take on this.

OK, OK, and while you're at it, you can let me know when you think Masoli will take over too, we'll see who wins the pool.


  1. I believe you hit it right on the head Mike. Nutt was going to hear critisism either way and as a coach in the SEC Where you are exspected to win and go to a bowl he did what he thought was neccessary to give his team a winning season. I say in his situation you would be crazy not to do the same thing.

  2. You know as well as I do, Mike, that in college football and especially the SEC, you've gotta do what you've gotta do to get the wins. I think Nutt did the right thing to keep his team competitive, and even though Masoli's been given plenty of chances maybe something will stick this time around and maybe he'll change. We can pray so. When it comes down to it, Nutt did the right thing for his team and I say good ol' Masoli takes the field in Week 1 as the starter - what do you think!!??

  3. I think it is a mistake to take Masoli, how many more games will ole miss win with JM at QB? He doesn't make them a contender to win the SEC west.

  4. Desperate times calls for desperate measures and Nutt is desperate. Snead left him empty in the coffers and this is just a patch get him into another quarterback in another season. Obviously he is not happy with what he had ready to go. I do not follow the Rebels enough to know if they have any prospects to develop on campus or commited to coming in. This is an understandable decision if he does, but a stupid one if he is just delaying the inevitable, only to find himself in same situation next year. You made a good point @ last season, if they had not had such high expectations as they had last year and were slowly bulding something, he would not have as an impatient fanbase ready to boil over. It's the right decision if he has a plan beyond this year.

  5. I agree - it's a catch 22 for Nutt. College football fans can be fickle - you can go from hero to zero in one week. Hopefully the kid can get a new start. I guarantee you one thing - the first time he gets de-cleated from the back side by an SEC linebacker, he'll realize he's not in the Pacifier 10 anymore.

  6. Masoli update: