Jeremiah Masoli Reinstated: What This Means For Ole Miss Football
The NCAA had originally ruled that Jeremiah Masoli would not be eligible to play for Ole Miss until the 2011 season due to transfer eligibility rules.
But Masoli appealed, and he has now been cleared to play immediately. This is good news for the Ole Miss defense, but it could be bad news for other schools in the SEC.
Though some may look at Masoli as "damaged goods," his talent cannot be ignored, and he may be just what Ole Miss needs to compete with the rest of the loaded SEC.
Does the good outweigh the bad?
Let's take a look at Masoli and what his presence could mean for Ole Miss.
Why Was He Ineligible In The First Place?
While at Oregon, Masoli had a few run-ins with the police (including pleading guilty to a theft at a fraternity house), but was not suspended from the university. However, Oregon coach Chip Kelly ended up suspending him from the football team for a year due to his off-field behavior.
Coaches maintain the right to suspend players regardless of how other administration at the school decides to handle the situation.
Masoli finished up his senior year at Oregon and then enrolled in grad school at Ole Miss.
According to NCAA transfer rules, transfer students in Division I football must sit out a year before they are eligible to play. This rule exists to deter students from transferring from school to school trying to get more playing time.
There are ways around these rules, and Masoli definitely found one. The NCAA will waive the transfer rule as long as the student can prove that the purpose of their transfer was to pursue a field of study that is not offered at their original school.
Jeremiah Masoli enrolled in Ole Miss' "Parks and Recreation" grad program, which is apparently not offered at Oregon.
What Does This Mean For Ole Miss Offense?
Last season, Masoli threw for 2147 yards for Oregon, resulting in 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Ole Miss returns only three starters, but the Rebels are looking to junior running back Brandon Bolden to have a breakout season. Sophomore quarterback, Nathan Stanley might have a size advantage over Masoli, but definitely expect Ole Miss to look to their new transfer for the experience needed to lead a young offense.
Although Masoli was spectacular as a Pac-10 quarterback, this is a loaded SEC, and Ole Miss still has their work cut out for them.
How Does Masoli Stack Up Against Other SEC Quarterbacks?
With plenty of Heisman hopeful quarterbacks throughout the SEC, Masoli may have just become a big fish in an even bigger pond.
Arkansas' Ryan Mallett is a favorite in the conference. Last year Mallett threw for an outstanding 3627 yards, resulting in 30 touchdowns. Mallett is expected to repeat his magic this season.
Florida's John Brantley shows promise (even if he has to fill Tim Tebow's shoes), and the Gators are looking to dominate the SEC.
Kentucky's young Morgan Newton threw for 706 yards in only eight games last season, and with a little more experience, he could be a force to be reckoned with.
Masoli has the advantage of playing relatively raw quarterbacks in the SEC, and he should be ranked in the top three.
Chance at a Heisman?
Obviously Masoli has a better chance now of winning a Heisman than he would have sitting out for the season, but unless Ole Miss surprises us, Masoli may not have the weapons he needs to be a serious Heisman contender.
Again, Ryan Mallett has the corner on the Heisman in the SEC, and he has quite a bit more to work with.
And he is not afraid to throw the ball.
Ole Miss Vs The Rest Of The SEC
Without a doubt, the addition of Masoli will help Ole Miss' chances of climbing up from the bottom of the SEC, but will he be enough?
With six SEC teams ranked in the top 25 teams in college football (none of which are Ole Miss), the Rebels need more help than just a good quarterback.
Teams Ole Miss Could Dominate
Masoli will add some explosion to the Ole Miss offense, and weak defenses should look out.
Many teams in the SEC have impenetrable defense, but others fall short.
Auburn: Auburn relies on its offense to carry their team, so less emphasis is put on defense. Ole Miss could have a chance against Auburn's weak D.
Mississippi State: Although Mississippi State has brought in a new defensive coordinator, they don't have what it takes to stop Masoli and the Rebels.
Teams That Will Dominate Ole Miss
The addition of Masoli does not guarantee success for Ole Miss, and they will have some trouble earning victories over some more powerful SEC teams.
Arkansas: While Arkansas may not have the strongest defense, they are explosive on offense. Last season, Arkansas' offense was the best in the SEC, and Ole Miss will need to find an answer to the Razorbacks.
Alabama: Ole Miss can hope all they want, but the Rebels' chances of defeating the defending national champions are slim to none.
Will Masoli's Baggage Get In The Way?
Even though Masoli was not sanctioned by Oregon, his run-ins with the law should raise some red flags. Ole Miss and Houston Nutt should keep an eye on their new transfer, and they should keep their fingers crossed that he stays out of trouble.
For now, we'll give Masoli the benefit of the doubt that he was in the "wrong place at the wrong time," but any more slip-ups and acquiring Masoli may prove to be a very bad idea.
Ole Miss Reputation
Even if the NCAA technically gave the okay for Masoli to play for the Rebels, what kind of example does this set for the rest of college football?
Intercollegiate athletics are (in theory) supposed to be about the student-athlete, and Masoli's red tape-laced transfer simply doesn't look very good for Ole Miss athletics.
Given the short notice, Ole Miss has decided to start sophomore Nathan Stanley against Jacksonville State on Saturday.
Expect Stanley's starting position to be short-lived, and expect to see Masoli starting against Tulane on September 11th.