The 2015 season culminated in triumphant celebration for the Ole Miss Rebels, while the Oklahoma State Cowboys were forced to quietly pack their things and pile into the team bus with sullen faces.
But with the recent NCAA violations brought against Ole Miss, and their corresponding self-imposed bowl ban, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was left wondering what might have been.
“We’ll never know what we could have done in the Sugar Bowl if it was a level playing field,” Gundy said. “That is the truth. I’m not sure we would have won the Sugar Bowl, but we’ll never know.”
Apparently coach Hugh Freeze didn’t take too kindly to this.
He quickly came to the defense of his Rebels team tweeted a not-so-subtle endorsement of what he thinks his Rebel’s are capable of doing once they are eligible for a bowl game again.
The final score of the Sugar Bowl that year was 48-20, a huge margin regardless of whether the Rebels cheated or not. And cheated is such a difficult world to apply in this context.
None of the allegations brought forward against the university had anything to do with their conduct on the field, but instead with their behavior off the field and on the recruiting trail.
To insinuate that the result might have been different had Ole Miss complied with the investigation, not arranged payments or shown a better sense of “institutional control” is a stretch.