We already do a For Whom the Links Toll post here at the site, which provides you with links on State sports from all the great beat writers and blogs that cover MSU. But sometimes we have thoughts, thoughts that don't necessarily warrant a post by themselves, that we want to record together with other thoughts about other sports in one place. I've decided to try that out here with what I'm calling Cowbells & Coffee: which will be thoughts on what's going on with MSU sports. I ask that you let me know what you think of the new series by leaving your thoughts in our comments section. If the consensus is that we like it, then we'll do a few more and see how it goes from there. If you guys say it's an awful idea, then we'll DELETE THIS POST AND NEVER SPEAK OF COWBELLS AND COFFEE EVER AGAIN.
Now, on with it.
- State went into Columbia this weekend and really put on an underwhelming performance, getting swept by the Gamecocks of South Carolina. I really thought maybe the dogs, with a fully healthy Norris back in the fold, could compete with the Gamecocks, but I was wrong. State teased us all by leading the Cocks 6-3 going late into the Friday game, only to see that lead blown and a 7-6 Friday victory for South Carolina turn into a series sweep. I think what's disappointing to me the most is that I thought maybe this team could put a run together. If they could have taken 2 of 3 from SC, then they would have a good opportunity to do the same in the next two weekends against Tennessee and Ole Miss at home. Then all of a sudden they would've strung 4 series victories together, and this season may have been shaping up where State could sneak into talks of being a regional host. The season isn't over, mind you, with the series sweep against USC, but it does remind me of the dogs place in the SEC, which as of today is 11th, and out of the SEC tournament.
- State takes on Tennessee this weekend in baseball as a part of Super Bulldog Weekend. As a part of ESPNU's Thursday night SEC game of the week coverage, the dogs will play a series starting Thursday and running through Saturday, instead of the normal Friday-Sunday setup. The Thursday-Saturday setup puzzles me, as most people won't make it to town until Friday night, and will miss the opening game, which will be on tv. I know most of that is out of State's hands, but still, will probably be a much smaller crowd.
- Speaking of smaller crowd Thursday night, State announced last night that the game Thursday will allow general admissioners to sit in the grandstand seats, most likely to give the stadium a more full feel on ESPNU. Can't blame Scott for that one. The game was also announced to be a "White Out" game, so wear your whites people. Last, but certainly not least, the school announced they will recognize Ryan Duffy at the game Thursday. If you're not familiar with that name, he is the former Bulldog player who was injured in 2010 in a diving accident in his home state of Florida. It's fantastic to know that Duff is doing good enough to make the trip to campus. Bulldog nation's hearts and prayers have been and will continue to be with Ryan as he continues his road to recovery.
- It doesn't completely heal the sting that the baseball sweep left, but softball did sweep Ole Miss this weekend, and that's pretty cool. I admire coach Vann Stuedeman for what she's been able to accomplish in year 1, and hope that she can continue to build on that success in the upcoming years. It's tough to coach at a softball program in the SEC not named UT, Bama, LSU or Florida, and any success displayed by Vann should be applauded. Oh, and is there another program on campus that is more in-tune with social networking? Their twitter, blogging and facebook make me look like an old man who has never even heard of a computer.
- Another cool nugget that some may have missed Friday was that the Men's tennis team defeated Ole Miss in Oxford to clinch the SEC West outright and defeat our rival for a 3rd straight year. Coach Per Nilsson has quietly built himself a nice dynasty at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre, and I'm glad for him. Per is an awesome person, and has done wonders building a program at a school that is probably in the middle of the pack to back of the pack in facilities in the SEC. If you're in town this weekend and enjoy tennis, I encourage you to go root on the dogs at the SEC Men's Tennis Championships, which will be held on our campus. Per and Co. deserve as much support as we can give them.
- My wife and I, along with a few more of my family members, plan to attend this weekend's spring game / concert. Scouring the interwebs since the announcement, reviews have still been mixed, obviously due to the $25 dollar a person charge. I still back the idea, as it follows the #HailState endzone paint as innovative and outside the box. I'm not sure the thumbs up on the idea is echoed throughout the fanbase though, or if it will translate into success $$$ wise. Last week the University told Brad Locke it had sold "about 14,000 tickets," and that it expected around 25,000 for the event. That would leave around 10,000 in walk ups, and that may be feasible, but it seems a bit inflated. The reality is not everyone digs Sugarland, and most people don't want to have to pay to watch a scrimmage, especially since it's been free in the past. It's really hard to argue with that, especially considering a family of 4 would cost $100 to watch the game and concert. Given the opportunity, I'm sure the University would've scheduled the game earlier in the day with the concert at night, but it sounded like from my talks with people out there that that simply wasn't an option. In the end, I think it will go down as a success overall. A lot of people grumbled about it, but that happens when things change and prices go up (especially from FREE to $25).
That's all I have right now you guys. Have a great week, and let me know your thoughts on all the above topics.