McCready: 10 Weekend Thoughts, presented by Harry Alexander
1. Within minutes -- seconds, maybe? -- of Ole Miss' Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State, Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss Football were rubbing it in on the Bulldogs.
Kiffin is a social media genius. He's phenomenal at branding. He got off the bus at the Manning Center hours before the game wearing an A.J. Brown Tennessee Titans jersey with his Blue Delta Jeans and his "We Run The Sip" cap. Brown, a Starkville native who was frustrated with his alma mater just months ago, noticed and approved.
Then Ole Miss won the game. Just one year removed from embarrassing irrelevancy, Ole Miss is fun and oh-so-relevant.
You may have heard. There's a pandemic that has eliminated in-person recruiting for the past eight-plus months that will extend through mid-April, at least. That has impacted Ole Miss; of that, there's no doubt. However, Kiffin's ability to brand and get attention is very likely going to expedite the Rebels' recovery and ascension once that moratorium on recruiting is lifted.
I said it three years ago this weekend and I said it again a year ago: Kiffin is such a fit for Ole Miss. From the looks of things, he's beginning to think the same thing.
The Rebels are 4-4. They've got trips to Texas A&M and LSU remaining. They're almost certainly going bowling, and this is very likely the least talented team he'll field at Ole Miss -- certainly if things go according to plan.
He just had to win Saturday to keep that momentum going. He did just that, and then he made sure Mississippi State knew it.
2. I was talking with a good friend on Sunday morning. We were chatting about life, work, things we've read, etc. Somehow, without meaning to, we started talking about the Egg Bowl. He had an observation I've never thought of before, and I think he's exactly right.
Remember when the Hugh Freeze-Dan Mullen hatred boiled over to the point that it set both programs back? Of course you do. What if, he wondered, Freeze had been at Mississippi State and Mullen had been at Ole Miss? Wouldn't that have been a more natural fit?
He thought so, and upon reflection, I think he's right. Mullen would've been a great fit at Ole Miss. He's a smart-ass, a guy who uses his "arrogance" to his benefit. He would've embraced Ole Miss' eccentricities.
Freeze's religion-as-a-recruiting tool would've worked much better in Starkville than it did in Oxford. He might have been able to sustain more recruiting success in Starkville as well. No one is going to recruit nationally there, and Freeze might never have gotten onto the NCAA's radar had he not become a hostage to recruiting rankings.
Conversely, Mullen is a strong evaluator and developer. He would've been able to recruit more elite athletes to Oxford than he could to Starkville.
We'll never know now, of course. But it was an interesting observation.
3. He probably won't win it, but Elijah Moore has a really strong case for the Biletnikoff Award.
Alabama's DaVonta Smith is the likely winner, and he's an amazing player. However, Moore's stats are incredible. Through eight games, Moore has 86 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns.
Mississippi State was locked onto Moore Saturday, determined not to let him beat the Bulldogs. Moore still caught 12 passes for 139 yards, consistently finding soft spots in zones or simply beating his man. He's lined up at running back and quarterback, in the slot, out wide, etc.
He's almost certainly leaving for the NFL after this season, but his performance is going to pay dividends for Kiffin and Ole Miss moving forward -- likely starting with the transfer portal this winter/spring and eventually on the recruiting trail.
It would be great for Ole Miss if Moore could win the Biletnikoff, but even if he doesn't, he's enjoying a season that proves not only his immense talent but Kiffin's propensity to feed his stars at a rate most coaches can't and won't.
4. On offense, Moore is a playmaker. That was something missing on Ole Miss' defense -- until Saturday.
Otis Reese is a playmaker in the defensive secondary, and on Saturday, his presence provided the Rebels with a disruptive force. In his first game in an Ole Miss uniform, Reese had eight tackles and a pass break-up.
"I felt great to go out there and be with the guys," said Reese, who was cleared a week ago after a long, drawn-out appeals process with the NCAA. "God works in mysterious ways. You have to keep your faith and keep pushing. It was a great win."
Reese said he wasn't nervous Saturday, saying he was focused on just meshing with his teammates.
"It meant everything," Reese said. "God is the greatest. That's all I can say."
5. Just some leftover thoughts from Saturday's game:
-- Ole Miss had 550 yards of total offense, marking the fifth time this season and the third straight game the Rebels have reached that total.
-- Matt Corral threw for 385 yards, marking his sixth 300-yard game of the season.
-- Jerrion Ealy has become such a patient runner. He had 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries Saturday, showing the maturity of a veteran waiting for holes to open and the explosion he's always had on the second level.
-- Henry Parrish Jr. showed why coaches have raved about him all year. Parrish had eight carries for 40 yards, including an impressive 11-yard second-half pick-up. He looks like the potential future star he's been advertised to be.
-- Mac Brown has quietly had a superb season. Brown punted three times Saturday, averaging 46 yards per kick.
-- I couldn't help but feel good for Luke Logan, who knocked in a 26-yard field early in the fourth quarter Saturday. After all the hell he's caught in the past year, that had to feel good.
6. It's time for my weekly ranking of the Southeastern Conference.
1. Alabama -- The Tide is the nation's top program. Period.
2. Texas A&M -- Kellen Mond was off, but the Aggies' defense rose up.
3. Florida -- Kyle Trask's Heisman campaign is very much alive heading into the final three weeks.
4. Georgia -- JT Daniels gives the Bulldogs another dimension.
5. Auburn -- Just based on record. That's it.
6. Ole Miss -- The Rebels could be 6-2. Of course, they could be 2-6.
7. Missouri -- Quietly, Eliah Drinkwitz has done a hell of a job.
8. LSU -- The Tigers' defense was OK in College Station. December could be a nightmare, though.
9. Arkansas -- The Hogs have a tough close in front of them.
10. Kentucky -- Someone has to be 10th.
11. Mississippi State -- The Bulldogs have shown signs of life the last two weeks.
12. Tennessee -- If the Vols lose to Vanderbilt...
13. South Carolina -- Shane Beamer? Really?
14. Vanderbilt -- All the publicity stunts in the world won't change the reality that the Commodores quit on their coach Saturday. But hey, at least the program got to be super woke for a day before firing Derek Mason.
7. I don't have a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 -- Thank God -- but if I did, my ballot would look like this today:
2. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
10. Iowa State
19. Coastal Carolina
22. Oklahoma State
23. North Carolina
24. N.C. State
8. At some point today or tomorrow, the SEC will release a revised schedule, I think. One thing is certain: The SEC intends to get every game in this season.
Frankly, I love it. While the Big Ten and the Pac-12 back out of games week after week, and playing in front of empty stadiums when they do play, the SEC has played games every week with fans in the stands.
Games have been postponed. Games have been shuffled. Teams have played short-handed. Programs have been inconvenienced.
Still, as the calendar turns to December, there's a path to fulfilling the television contracts and getting every cent of that TV money.
The ACC, Big 12, AAC and Sun Belt can say something along those lines, but the Big Ten and the Pac-12 can't and won't, and no one should feel sorry for them. Those leagues could've started at the same team. They wanted the SEC and others to fold up with them.
So kudos to Greg Sankey. The SEC isn't at the finish line, but one can see it from here.
9. It’s time to eat, so here’s our resident Parisian chef, Burton Webb, with Taste of the Place, Lesson 64 — Blanquette de veau (veal stew).
Well, if you are confused about the naming of this dish because it doesn’t sound anything like food, you’re not alone. This is a traditional veal stew that is actually rather simple to make and oh so good! I first had it in Reims [rins], in the Champagne region of France.
What you accompany with this dish is up to debate. You can do rice if you like, pasta, or just stay with the vegetables that are included. With the colder weather now upon us, it is a great Sunday night dinner for you and others.
Tidbit #1: If you do not like veal, you can substitute chicken. If you are vegetarian, the vegetables in the dish are plenty and great by themselves.
Tidbit #2: Just like the cassoulet two weeks ago, you will need to strain the stock that we make into another saucepot. We are still going to use the vegetables. Just place them in a shallow casserole dish and place in the oven to keep them hot.
Tidbit #3: Roux. If you have never made one, it is equal parts fat to flour. The fat can be vegetable oil, olive oil, butter, margarine, Crisco, or lard. You will cook the roux until the color resembles a light, light brown color over medium heat, then add the strained stock liquid to it.
Tidbit #4: White wine is in this dish and if you want to, you can omit it. Just add the same amount of water to replace it.
Tidbit #5 (Last one): Push the cloves into the onions until they look like spikes on a hedgehog. It will infuse their flavor into each onion.
Things you will need:
Total time: 2 Hours
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
1 Glass of Pinot Gris to accompany
1 Work surface and a chef’s knife
1 Large saucepot
1 Medium saucepot
1 Medium casserole dish
1 Metal whisk
1 Small mixing bowl
1 Pair of tongs
Measuring cups of 1 cup and 1 tbsp; 1L = 4 cups
1 Big strainer
4 4-ounce pieces of veal or chicken
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Cup white wine
1 Leek, large chunks
4 Medium carrots, large chunks
6 Baby Potatoes
2 Yellow onions, stabbed with the cloves
3 Parsnips, large chunks
2 Zucchini, large chunks
1lb Button mushrooms, sliced in half
2 Bouillon cubes of beef (or chicken or vegetables)
10 Tbsp butter
10 Tbsp All-purpose flour
2 Egg yolks
1 Cup heavy cream
Step 1: Put your large saucepot on the oven over medium heat with olive oil.
Step 1.1: Add the veal and cook on all sides just until the color changes.
Step 2: Peel your vegetables and then slice them, add them to the pot along with the water, wine, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour.
Step 3: After the hour, strain the liquid into the medium saucepot. Place your vegetables and meat in the casserole dish.
Step 4: Place the large saucepot back on the stovetop. Add the butter, let melt. After add the flour. Cook till light brown over medium heat.
Step 4.1: Pour the liquid back now into the large saucepot while whisking. The mixture will become thick and thin out as you add more liquid. Let it come to a boil and then turn off the heat.
Step 4.2: In the small mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and heavy cream. Whisk with the fork and add 2 big spoons of the liquid in the large saucepot.
Step 4.3: Now add the mixing bowl to the large saucepot. Whisk. Salt and pepper. Done.
Step 5 (Last one): Bring your casserole dish and the large saucepot of sauce to the table. Let people serve themselves with as much sauce as they would like. If you would like, cook some rice for a side as well and don’t forget the hot sauce. From the Mississippian in Paris, Bon Appétit!
10. We'll have coverage of Ole Miss football, football recruiting, basketball and more this week at RebelGrove.com. Until then, here are some links of interest to me -- and hopefully, to you -- for your reading pleasure.
Every day in clinic, I do my utmost to fight not 1, but 2 (!) emerging pandemics in kids. They are depression and obesity, and they are brought to you by “virtual school” since March. Our experience is reflected by national data. We are eating our young. 😞 #keepschoolsopen— Kristen Walsh 🩺🧸 (@DrKristenW) November 25, 2020