Although I'm a lifelong LSU football fan, I hate to see the demise of Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels.
Freeze raised the intensity of SEC football, heightening the league's national prominence. Although most LSU fans are gloating over Freeze's sudden demise, he revitalized the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry, pushing the Tigers to compete on a higher level.
The sanctimonious Hugh was a villain from central casting, hyperactive on the sidelines, crying to the officials, displaying his emotions like a bad silent movie actor. Freeze with his wild gestures and goofy expressions was one of the game's outlandish characters.
Freeze drew enough talent to Oxford to beat Nick Saban's Crimson Tide twice, challenge for the SEC West title, and bring the Rebels back into the national conversation. His Rebels played with heart and flair.
His stellar recruiting classes raised suspicion around the league that ole Bible-thumping Hugh was cheating, and soon enough the NCAA came knocking. But the grinning Hugh kept the university's backing. Even with a wounded program, Freeze appeared ready to torment the league again this season with a hot young quarterback and his crazy schemes.
All of a sudden, his reign collapsed over a phone call to an escort service. At a news conference, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork cited many other calls, the nature of which remained secret. Hope Freeze enjoyed it all; he lost at least $5 million.
Bjork and Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter might ask themselves if trying to compete in big-time college football is worth it. Instead, they vowed to keep on with their quest for gridiron glory.