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VALUE LOGIC IN THE OLE MISS COACHING SEARCH — JUST DON’T EXPECT IT

By all means, bring logic to a discussion about the Ole Miss coaching job, or anything else under the sun. Being logical is a good habit, a good way of being, and certainly nothing to criticize.

However, in a crazy world -- in college football and other far less important matters -- logic is a situationally specific thing. It might often exist, but if it does, it emerges in ways or forms that are dark, surprising, and sometimes both.

Bobby Petrino getting a prime head coaching job after his Arkansas debacle is logical in the anything-goes context of college sports, but hardly logical in terms of appalling behavior not being punished.

Hugh Freeze getting taken down at Ole Miss is logical, but how come Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany didn't get fired for basically overlooking Ohio State's 2010 NCAA violations and insisting that the Buckeyes play Petrino's Arkansas team in the 2011 Sugar Bowl?

Logic would suggest that when assistants to then-embattled Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin (who is still embattled now) made crude and transparent sexual references at a women's football clinic event last year, they should have been fired instantly -- not necessarily because of the ugly nature of the act, but because the coach had not been doing well. (Logic could flow in either direction there, but Sumlin's tenuous position represented the bigger reason to expect terminations.)

Yet, those two assistants, Jim Turner and Jeff Banks, are still on staff, one year later. Turner's work as a technician with the offensive line and Banks's quality as a recruiter were deemed too valuable by the Aggies... and Sumlin was given the ability to retain them... which he naturally did.

The Les Miles situation at LSU in 2015 was simultaneously very logical and very dumb. Everyone understood why the uproar occurred, but the way LSU athletic director Joe Alleva played that game was, to be charitable, inelegant.

One of the strangest coaching moves this past offseason didn't even involve a head coach. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee did figure to leave Gus Malzahn's staff... but to become a head coach, not to be the offensive coordinator for Randy Edsall at Connecticut.

Logic in college football often follows a thought process or value system rooted in the worst assumptions about people, not the best. Logic in college football often emerges as a dark view and reflection of human nature, not one in which working hard, playing by the rules, and being decent are all rewarded. When morality and ethics are not involved -- as was the case with Lashlee -- the reasons for a coach to accept or leave a job are very particular and personal.

So, with this in mind, keep your eyes -- and mind -- open on the Ole Miss job. Various outcomes "make sense," but the ways in which those outcomes make sense will greatly vary from candidate to candidate.

Could the candidate be a young gun who knows he will be given time to emerge from the mess Hugh Freeze created?

Could the candidate be a 60-something coach who probably didn't think he'd get another chance at a Power 5 job but -- due to the Ole Miss job's diminished level of attractiveness (since NCAA sanctions and recruiting hits will take effect) -- will have a chance in this adjusted marketplace?

Yes, chances are Ole Miss will have to do something akin to what Tennessee did with Derek Dooley in 2010 after the Lane Kiffin disaster... but remember: logic is a fragile thing in college football. Kiffin himself is a great example, getting prime coaching jobs for which he wasn't qualified. Nothing in Ed Orgeron's career suggested he would become head coach at a Cadillac program such as LSU. Bret Bielema's abrupt move from Wisconsin -- where he had made three straight Rose Bowls -- to Arkansas made as little sense as Kyrie Irving's demand to be traded and basically give up a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance with Cleveland in 2018.

You might think you know a lot about the Ole Miss coaching situation and the front-runner for the 2018 job. It could very well be that you do know a lot.

Just don't feel certain about any outcome. In college football -- inside or outside the SEC -- an appreciation for volatile situations and unconventional responses to opportunities is commonplace.

Don't be too certain of what Ole Miss will -- or won't -- do. Retain logic... and a healthy sense of skepticism.

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