Two who are right where they belong

<p class="indent">Forget the idiotic Magnolia Bowl, another force-fed trophy for a rivalry that shouldn’t need such gimmickry.</p><p class="indent">Talking Ole Miss and LSU here, which, yes, has some fool trinket that both teams tend to forget to pick up after winning it.</p><p class="indent">Toss it in the trash. Let the nerdy student government associations worry about it.</p><p class="indent">But, somewhat by accident, the Rebels and Tigers might really be on to something now.</p><p class="indent">Instead, think of Ed Orgeron and Matt Luke, the two head coaches. If this pairing doesn’t return the rivalry to its heated status of Billy Cannon lore, maybe it’s not worth doing.</p><p class="indent">Call it the Stereotype Bowl.</p><p class="indent">And it has nothing to do with Coach O having once coached at Ole Miss.</p><p class="indent">It’s not a particularly fond memory for either party, something of a failed experiment on both sides.</p><p class="indent">He probably wasn’t ever going to fit into Oxford’s tight social circles anyway, what with shoes being preferred attire while dissecting Faulkner at most of the upper-class soirees.</p><p class="indent">In three years at Ole Miss, nobody in Oxford ever understood a Cajun word Orgeron grunted, anyway, and, what’s more, probably didn’t want to hear it while the sideline guffaws and losses were mounting.</p><p class="indent">So there’s no record if, on the way out, he garbled something about being banished only after having recruited the players that successor Houston Nutt would take to consecutive Cotton Bowls, which is about as good as it gets for Ole Miss.</p><p class="indent">He has fond memories of some chicken-on-a-stick thingie you could buy at an Oxford fillin’ station, but doesn’t really blame the Rebels for canning him after a 10-25 record (3-21 SEC) over three years.</p><p class="indent">A few more wins at LSU and some judge will formally expunge that sordid period of his life from the official record.</p><p class="indent">He has his dream job now, at LSU.</p><p class="indent">His career crisscrossed the continent, but you still know he basically crawled out of the deep swamp to get to Tiger Stadium.</p><p class="indent">Same with Matt Luke at Ole Miss.</p><p class="indent">Leading the Rebels is every bit the dream job for him that LSU is for Coach O.</p><p class="indent">So right now, no matter how they got there, Orgeron and Luke are right where they ought to be.</p><p class="indent">Rather, if Hollywood ever gets around to doing the rivalry on the silver screen, it would come in and type-cast Orgeron and Luke in the starring roles.</p><p class="indent">They’re perfect.</p><p class="indent">Just look at Luke.</p><p class="indent">As a player he was a double-second generation Rebel, following his brother, Tom, who was a quarterback, and they had both followed their dad, who was a defensive back in the 1960s under legendary Johnny Vaught.</p><p class="indent">Ole Miss has a few of those.</p><p class="indent">But Luke, this guy just looks the part.</p><p class="indent">When he strides toward games, he still appears to be almost fraternity age, and he’d fit the part perfectly to be walking toward Vaught-Hemingway Stadium clad in the student-section uniform — that blue, 100-percent cotton buttondown oxford on top of khakis with a future Miss America on the arm.</p><p class="indent">He still even has those Rebel bangs that keep slipping down on his forehead.</p><p class="indent">That, my friend, is Ole Miss. To the core.</p><p class="indent">And when is the spring cotillion?</p><p class="indent">Orgeron?</p><p class="indent">He’s as LSU as it gets.</p><p class="indent">You can fussy-stuff him into all the coats and ties you want, but when he strides down the hill toward Tiger Stadium, team in tow, it still looks as if he just walked off a long day on the shrimp boat.</p><p class="indent">It’s not hard to imagine Orgeron as a little 3-foot tyke outside Tiger Stadium, probably skinny-armed bare-chested, but up on his little tiptoes doing his dangdest to help the adults shake the visiting team’s bus from side to side to give some opponent a proper welcome to Tiger Stadium.</p><p class="indent">He’d have learned “Tiger Bait” before his Cajun ABCs and could probably crush a beer can on his head by his early teens.</p><p class="indent">Similarly, you can fade back into time and imagine a 10-year-old Matt Luke frolicking around The Grove before Ole Miss games, a little floppy-haired bundle of energy rolling around and tripping over the stemware and trust funds scattered about.</p><p class="indent">Maybe the shirt tail on his Ralph Lauren for Kids polo is partially out while he’s darting in and out of mischief amidst all the The Grove’s tailgate candelabras and perhaps getting his first clandestine whiff of Pinot Grigio from atop the white linen tablecloths that reside therein.</p><p class="indent">Oh, there may be more compelling games this weekend than Ole Miss-LSU.</p><p class="indent">But, with two coaches who survived interim tags and accusations that they weren’t their dream jobs’ first choices, none will have two coaches who are prouder to be where they are right now.</p><hr /><p class="indent"><em><strong>Scooter Hobbs</strong> covers LSU athletics. Email him at <span class="text_link link_wrap type_eml" data-link-target="shobbs@americanpress.com" data-link-type="EML">shobbs@americanpress.com</span></em></p>””Matt Luke ole miss and Ed orgeron LSU

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