Thank goodness this week is winding down, because I'm ready for some football. I know originally we thought the Auburn game was going to be a big test, but that has obviously turned out otherwise. But despite Tennessee's 3-2 record (with losses to two top 15 teams), I definitely feel like this is the stiffest test we've faced thus far this season. We would be blind or foolish to say that State hasn't benefited from a soft schedule thus far, winning games over far inferior opponents in outcomes we cashed out of early but still won handily. Rest assured, Tennessee will definitely push back if we don't decide to come out and play inspired football. We have a shot at doing some great things this season, and it all starts Saturday night against the Volunteers. This game may not be make or break for MSU like it is for Derek Dooley, but these are the type of games we have to start winning more consistently to be taken seriously as a contender. We cannot rest on Auburn being enough, or that beating Ole Miss means a good season. The remaining schedule will certainly provide some tests, but I believe this Bulldog football team finally has the pieces to pass (some of) those tests, and it all starts with the Volunteers Saturday. Now, here are your MSU News and Notes for Thursday:
- Basketball season is fast approaching, and this Saturday will be the first time coach Rick Ray has been able to watch his entire team practice. Yesterday the media met with coach Ray and talked about expectations, player's development, and a good bit more.
- Master of lists Phil Steele doesn't short those who like mid-season rankings, as yesterday he released his mid-season All-American teams. Two Bulldog players donned that list - CB Johnthan banks made the first team while G Gabe Jackson was named to the second team.
- You might have missed it, but the BCS National Championship trophy will be making its way through Starkville this weekend. Brandon Marcello has all the details on where you can see it, get your picture taken with it, drop it, etc. One of the stops the trophy will make is the West Point Wal Mart - I bet that'll end well!
- We thought former MSU RB Vick Ballard would have a successful NFL career, but I doubt any of us thought he'd get a legitimate shot at it this early on. With starter Donald Brown out 2-3 weeks after knee surgery, Vick will get his chance to be the main back behind Andrew Luck:
Colts interim HC Bruce Arians said RB Donald Brown underwent knee surgery, will be out two to three weeks. Vick Ballard will start.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2012
- Remember we talked several weeks ago about Kyle Veazey's new book Champions of Change? Well Veazey will be in town this weekend to sign copies at Strange Brew Saturday from 2 to 5 and at Restaurant Tyler Sunday from 10 until 2. Go check it out!
- Hey, Auburn players are questioning upperclassmen leadership! That's probably not anything to worry about, right?!
- Our counterparts at Rocky Top Talk with a statsy preview of the Vols and Bulldogs Saturday.
- Forgot to share this yesterday, but our own tbradenbishop went on with the guys at Rocky Top Talk Tuesday night to talk a little Vols-Dogs action. Make sure you check that out!
That's all for today folks. Almost to the weekend! I'm ready to watch some football at Davis Wade Saturday night, how about you?