For Whom the Links Toll | 1.27.2012

It's Friday again, and let's be honest with ourselves, we don't want to work. That's okay! We're here to save you from the tedium's of your Friday work tasks with these links to stories around the interwebs this morning on your Mississippi State bulldogs. From football to basketball to baseball, it's all in here today, so click away!

2012 Football Look Ahead: Wide Receiver, Tight End | Brad Locke

Likely starters: Bumphis, Clark, Smith

Overall grade: B. This is a tough group to grade. It wasn't as productive last season as I expected it to be, although we saw some really nice things from Clark and Smith. Bumphis has to reach that next level, because Lewis will be gunning for his job in the slot.

Depth grade: A. So much experience returning here. Lewis needs to get more involved, and Morrow offers the kind of big target MSU has lacked.

MSU's mound presence: Pitching could prove a strength for the Bulldogs | Michael Wardlaw - SDN

When you look back over Cohen's first three seasons, there is no question pitching has been the missing link.

State has been able to score runs, but it simply had trouble getting guys out, especially in big situations. This season however, a veteran group is expected to be difference makers on the mound.

"Well we won't have 35 freshman starts like we did two years ago," said Cohen as he gave a half-hearted laugh. "That's a recipe for disaster. I will say that barring injury, the leadership of this club is on the mound. I really trust our kids and their work ethic on the mound. Again, you're not just talking about what they do on the mound. The real leaders are on the mound and they all lead by example."

Arguably the most productive Bulldog has been Caleb Reed.

Last season, Reed paced MSU with a 1.55 ERA and was second only to Chris Stratton in innings pitched with 64. He has been a rock for the Bulldogs as he has been the one hurler who could stop the bleeding, getting outs late in the game.

Reed is one guy Cohen can turn to as an example to his younger players.

"I love the leadership we have," Cohen said. "Caleb Reed is an all-American, just a great story. It is so important to have people in your program to where you can say to young arms to go do it the way this guy is going it. Caleb is that guy for us."

Bulldogs have room to sign as many as 28 | Brandon Marcello

State could "sign" 28 in the class thanks to the early enrollment of three junior college prospects, who will count back to last year's class, which included 22 prospects after academic casualties.

"People look at the new rule and forget that you can still count back to the previous class if you had open spots," said Paul Jones, a recruiting analyst for 247sports.com's MSU affiliate. "That's what Mississippi State has with three open spots. That part of the rule is never going to change. You can always count back to the previous class if you had spots available."

State's class was bumped to 26 verbal commitments early Sunday when defensive end A.J. Jefferson of North Pike High committed to coaches following his visit to campus last weekend.

Why Don't Rankings Mean Anything in Basketball? | Maroon and White Nation

According to Joe Lunardi's "bracketology", MSU is an '8′ seed right now. Vanderbilt (15-5), who State (16-4) beat and has a better record than, is a '5′ seed. West Virginia (15-5), who State beat and has a better record than, is a '3′ seed. Alabama (13-6), who State beat and has a much better record than, is also an '8′ seed. AND NONE OF THOSE TEAMS ARE RANKED! Where is the logic in this? I'm not blaming Lunardi, he just goes by the criteria the NCAA selection committee does. Other "bracketologist" like Jerry Palm of CBS have similar numbers. But that's the problem, it's the NCAA's criteria that is a sham!

How can you tell me that rankings don't mean anything? Why don't the opinions of sports writers and coaches matter? They've seen these teams, watched them play, analyzed them and gotten together to compile who they believe the best teams are, but we throw their rankings in the trash in favor of computers?!

In college football, human voters count for 2/3 of the formula to determine the BCS Title Game. So why is basketball so different that rankings mean absolutely nothing? The coaches say Mississippi State is a '4′ seed. The AP says a '5′ seed. So why are we completely cutting those opinions out in favor of an RPI and a few old guys in a room with a dry erase board?

College Basketball Power Rankings | ESPN.com

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Have a great weekend you guys.

#HailState

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