Next week's BYU-Ole Miss game is mildly attractive by national viewing standards, but a momentous off-field wrinkle in time for fan bases of both programs. Each will be able to assume a sense of normalcy by publicly distancing themselves from the other: One, a so-derided "cult" of inclusive upper-class whites routinely mocked in pop culture for their core principles and misconstrued lifestyle, and the other, a Mormon college in Utah.
When BYU safety Daniel Sorensen was asked about his unique connection to his team's opening game at Ole Miss next week - the only two Division 1 offers the Colton, California native received were the Cougars and Rebels - he inadvertantly steered a conversation about faith, mission work and self-identity into a racial innuendo nosedive. Wince along at his real-time realization and subsequent nervous stammering, won't you?
BYU: "THE WHITE BOYZ ARE COMING!"
OLE MISS: /polishes Sperry Topsiders "LULZ WE'VE BEEN HERE LIKE 200 YEARS"
Seems innocous enough. It's not like the two schools have some kind of recent and/or institutional standard of racial conflict. Or, say, if the Cougars hadn't just reinstated a black basketball player after an honor code violation (premarital sex), or maybe if the Rebels weren't debuting a brand new generic mascot against BYU to replace "Colonel Rebel," debated to be either a visual representation of an Antebellum slave owner or merely a representation of Mississippi's native luddite white male curmudgeon population.
As always and with anything, you can blame former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron for this. Sorensen's unusual offer sheet came from Orgeron, who routinely offered scholarships to literally anyone: overlooked California prep stars ("unpolished, yaw!"), commercial fishermen in Nova Scotia ("ment'ly tough, yaw!") and even defected Zapatista infantry ("whol' new kinda special team player, yaw!"). Ed Orgeron is probably racist, so that's why all this happened.