Mention Doyle Jackson’s name around Ole Miss Rebel fans and hairs bristle, fists clench, and teeth grit. As far as Rebel Nation is concerned, he’s cost us two games against the Tide, and that's a series in which wins have been ridiculously hard to come by.
Today, I’d like to point out another "Rebel Hater" that SEC basketball fans will be familiar with: Doug Shows.
Now, a little background on this topic before we delve into the facts.
Shows was my favorite official when I was in school, back in the mid-to-late '90s. I don’t have the exact records for that time period, but it seemed like we won every time he was on the court with us.
But these days, I hope I don’t see him run out of the portal. And I didn’t know how justified my apprehension was until I looked at the actual math.
Let’s break it down by recent “eras” in Ole Miss basketball. I’ll call them our Ascension to Relevance (ATR, from '96-'97 to '01-'02), the Barnes After Dukes Era (BAD, from '02-'03 to '05-'06), and the Andy Kennedy Era (AKE, from '06-'07 to '08-'09). Note that each era is defined by the success of the team, not a fixed number of years.
The numbers speak for themselves. You can toss out the Shows numbers in the BAD Era, as everyone kicked our ass in the “hold the ball for 30 seconds and jack up a three” offense that we ran then.
It’s the dismal numbers now compared to the ATR Era that strike me as interesting.
In the late Evans era and the early Barnes years, Shows was a beautiful sight on the court. We won 90 percent of the SEC games he officiated, including a 73-69 victory over eventual national champion Kentucky in January 1997, Pitino's final year in Lexington.
Home or away, it didn't matter. If Shows was there, we won.
We're winning again; sure, it's at a modest pace, but with a program with as dismal a history as we have, you take what you can get. I mean, while Andy Kennedy’s 23-25 SEC record is nothing spectacular, it’s certainly a major improvement from the aforementioned BAD Era.
What’s puzzling is that AK Era teams are winning only 20 percent of the SEC games Shows officiates, while even Barnes won 30.8 percent of like contests.
On the other hand, under AK, the Rebels have won 55.2 percent of SEC games not officiated by Shows.
And it's not that we just lose when Shows shows up: We lose badly. In AK’s three years, his Rebels have lost 13 SEC games by 10-plus points, and Shows has been on the floor for seven of them. He also was the lead official in the 32-point drubbing we took in The Pit against New Mexico this year.
So what does this all mean? While I can't really put my finger on anything in particular, I have a theory.
Shows is certainly no Curtis Shaw, who would call a foul over a shunning face. Nor is he Teddy Valentine, who practices the "no blood, no foul" mantra on the court.
These deductions leave us one conclusion, and one conclusion only: Doug Shows is pure, unadulterated evil that must be banished forever from any gym the Ole Miss Rebels are going to play in.
It is my belief that Shows is directly responsible for the knee injuries to Trevor Gaskins, Eneil Polynice, and Chris Warren; the Cincy cabbie incident; Malcolm White transferring; David Huertas jumping ship to play pro ball next year; and possibly the daytime fireworks show.
In conclusion, though, I'll say that even with our departures, the Rebels have a chance to be very good next year.
Still, maybe next year's season ticket packages should come with a chance to donate funds to purchase garlic, holy water, crucifixes, and sharpened stakes to help fortify Tad Smith from any more Shows appearances.
While I can't imagine the Rebels will face the same amount of adversity they did this past season, as long as Shows in on the prowl, nobody is safe.
As always, a big tip o' the hat to StatSheet for the ridiculous researchability.