Jacksonville State just completed something rarely done in college football: an upset of a quality team in a power conference by a I-AA foe. Ole Miss fans are in utter and complete shock as their Rebels just lost 49-48 in double-overtime to Jacksonville State.
The headliner coming in was Oregon transfer QB Jeremiah Masoli, but it was the epic two-point conversion that head coach Jack Crowe elected to try for that will make this game memorable in the minds of Ole Miss fans.
Crowe, the former Arkansas head coach, called a time-out after scoring in the second overtime, elected to try for the win, and the Gamecocks converted and got the 2010 season off to a rocking start.
Beyond the game, though, there are some intriguing side stories. First is the story of Masoli: booted from Oregon's team after a second arrest and taken in by Mississippi head coach Houston Nutt. Masoli did not have his best stuff today as he struggled in a very pedestrian performance.
Nutt took plenty of flack for his decision to bring in Masoli, and it was sophomore Nathan Stanley who outplayed Masoli, and ironically, if Masoli did not take the field today, in all likelihood Stanley leads Ole Miss to victory.
It was only several years ago that Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe was faced with a similar decision to Nutt's. Ryan Perrilloux, a talented but troubled quarterback, had been kicked off LSU's football team and was looking for a new home.
Crowe's decision was a bit easier because it is rare for a I-AA school to get a player like the caliber of Perrilloux.
As a college football fan watching this game, I could not help but smile at the karma-esque element as Ole Miss lost. Coach Nutt essentially compromised his own morals by taking in Masoli, only to watch Masoli throw an interception and get outplayed by his teammate and Jacksonville State freshmen quarterback Coty Blanchard.
Nutt's reasoning was the Rebels only had two quarterbacks on the roster, but at least on this day it appears Stanley is not only the future Rebel quarterback, but the quarterback of the present as well.
To the dedicated college football fan, this game was a flashback to 2007 when Appalachian State pulled one of the all-time capers in college football by upsetting fifth-ranked Michigan 34-32, despite being 27-point underdogs.
For Michigan, it was the beginning of the end of an era of success. Lloyd Carr would not return in 2008, and new coach Rich Rodriguez has not only failed to have a successful season, but also has run afoul of NCAA rules.
If history is any indication, Ole Miss and Houston Nutt are in for a rough season. Nutt had already run into some issues before leaving the Razorbacks, so you would have thought he would run a tight ship at Ole Miss both in his personal life and as the head coach.
After back-to-back Cotton Bowl victories, you would think Ole Miss was on the verge of cracking the elite status of the SEC. Instead, it appears one major decision to allow Jeremiah Masoli into the program has disaster on the horizon for Ole Miss.
Let us not forget possibly the most ironic aspect of this entire story: Houston Nutt and Jack Crowe are both former head coaches at the University of Arkansas.
Three years after a blocked field goal helped Appalachian State to a riveting upset of Michigan, who would have thought a college football article of relevance would be written about the interconnectedness of Lloyd Carr, Houston Nutt, and Jack Crowe?
Games like this show us why college football is such an exciting sport, and leaves me to wonder which future BCS conference head coach will make the kind of ill-fated decision Nutt made when allowing Masoli onto his team.