OPINION | WALLY HALL: Freeze has worked his way back up … again

Just 19 years ago, Hugh Freeze was the head football and girls basketball coach at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.

Since then, the Auburn head football coach has worked his way up to the SEC twice.

His first college head coaching job was at Lambuth, where he went 20-5 in two seasons.

He then landed at Arkansas State as offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach and leading the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record, including 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. They played in the GoDaddy Bowl, but Freeze was on his way to Ole Miss to be the head coach.

His record was officially 10-25 because a bunch of wins were vacated after a NCAA investigation. Freeze was terminated for off-the-field actions that are well-known and ancient history.

Freeze was out of coaching for three years before emerging as the head coach at Liberty, a conservative Christian school where he had incredible results.

The Flames were 34-15 in his four seasons and went to a bowl game every year.

Then he followed two other former ASU coaches, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin, as the head coach at Auburn and he brings a team with a 5-4 record, 2-4 in the SEC, to Fayetteville for a 3 p.m. kick this Saturday.

In his 10 seasons as a head coach on the FBS level, Freeze has gone to nine bowls.

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With just three weeks left in college football's regular season only seven team have gone unscathed and five of those lead the College Football Playoff Rankings.

Michigan remained No. 3 and CFP Committee Chairman Boo Corrigan told ESPN that the selection committee is only considering on-field results and that the NCAA's investigation into allegations of the Wolverines' signal stealing is not a CFP issue.

There are two top-10 matchups this weekend: No. 2 Georgia hosts No. 9 Ole Miss and the Wolverines travel to State College, Pa., to take on No. 10 Penn State.

No. 1 Ohio State faces a luckless Michigan State, No. 4 Florida State takes on a mediocre Miami and No. 5 Washington hosts No. 18 Utah.

The only other undefeated teams are unranked Liberty and James Madison, which is not eligible for a bowl because of the NCAA's two-year waiting period for programs moving up to the FBS level.

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In Wednesday's column, Rex Nelson wrote about the Battle of the Ravine, the yearly football game between Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State, and he called it the small-college version of the Iron Bowl, the annual hatefest between Auburn and Alabama.

That's where the Battle of the Ravine is slightly different, it is the friendliest feud in the world.

Rex is a proud graduate of Ouachita and a 40-year veteran as the Tigers' radio play-by-play announcer and if he has negative feelings towards Henderson, he keeps them to himself.

As Rex said, attending this annual game should be on every on Arkansan's bucket list.

This Saturday will be the 97th time they have met and Ouachita holds a 47-43 series edge with six ties.

In 2019, at the end of Chad Morris' two-years at Arkansas as head coach, your trusty scribe skipped another Razorback loss and traveled to Arkadelphia to fulfil the bucket list item.

That year the game was played at Henderson and from start to finish it was a totally enjoyable experience.

Ouachita, who hosts this year's game at Cliff Harris Field with a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday, won and is currently on a six-game winning streak in the rivalry.

Something else to add to your bucket list is listening to Rex and Dr. Jeff Root broadcast the game. There is not a more enthusiastic, entertaining and enjoyable radio team in the country.