Greetings, boys and girls.
As you well know by now, SBNation has unveiled a grand redesign that provides us, the editors and proprietors of individual blogs of various allegiances, with the tools and design to succeed at providing our selected fanbases with all the news, commentary, opinion, analysis, and funnies on a site that is as professional (even when we always aren't) as could possibly be. Not only is the site now "prettier", it also functions better, providing faster load times, easier grouping of content, and the ability to maneuver content on the front page as we see fit. Although, yes, it has most likely been a labor today to maneuver through the site, need I remind you that no change comes easily, and once the new wears off you will most likely view the upgrade as we do: a huge success.
Part of the opening day, the Christmas Day, the kickoff, that this blog is having today is for us to remind you that we are a part of something bigger. Not only does For Whom the Cowbell Tolls exist to provide you with everything you need to know on Mississippi State sports, but we also are here to remind you we are a part of a network of blogs - all filled with people as talented (or more) as we at providing you sports coverage of their teams. We know you come here for the MSU hot sports takes, but at this time, let us take a break from talking about the greatest team to ever win the 2010 Gator Bowl to tell you about some of the other outstanding work that goes on at other sites in the SBNation family.
SBNation.com - FUMBLR Week 3
Those that follow me here or on twitter (or know me personally) know that I like to laugh above all. If I can avoid being serious for an entire day or even an entire week I will, and one series of posts at the mothership that has aided in my daily laughing routine has been FUMBLR. Another note - I also love memes, gifs, and other visual forms of LOLs. FUMBLR then takes those two things and combines them into one weekly post that knows where my funny bone is. If you like the NFL, and more specifically the lighter side of the NFL, then you will love FUMBLR. I highly advise you to click the link above.
SBNation.com - Mortal Gods
During the excitement of the day today you may have missed a few things outside of the shiny new blogging platform we have here. One - Spencer Hall, the funniest man on the planet to use a QWERTY keyboard, has been named the Editorial Director of SBNation. Two - SBNation is introducing more long-form content to the .com page, and their first effort was no slouch. I have not had the time to read it the way through (it's quite long in a Wright Thompson, good kind of way), but what I've read of R.D. Rosen's first effort at SBNation was wonderful. A truly valuable part to this network, and even makes me want to be a better blogger (don't expect anything that good, I'm sorry).
Sunday Morning Quarterback - Reaction Time: Finally Florida State packs a vintage punch
You may have also missed this, but one of the best college football bloggers is back, at least in the part time sense, at SBNation. Matt Hinton, a Southern Miss alumni and CBS/SBNation/Football Outsiders writer, recently fired back up his blog at SBNation - Sunday Morning Quarterback - which covers the ins and outs of college football. Hinton's writing is one of my favorites since his time at Yahoo!'s Dr. Saturday Blog, even if he is a Buzzard alumn. This link is his most recent post - covering last weekend's biggest games from FSU-Clemson to LSU-Auburn. You might want to bookmark his page for the future.
Arkansas Expats - Arkansas Next Head Coach Tracker - 9.24.2012
We, as a human society, seem to enjoy watching people/teams/businesses in power fall. Watching Arkansas' fast and brutal fall from grace this season went from fun to watch to uncomfortable to NSFW in a hurry, and I for one am on the feeling sorry side of viewing their season now four weeks in. Sure, they play in the SEC West with us, so I'm not TOO sorry to see the fall from the top, but as a life long State fan I can't help but feel some sympathy for them. In the wake of their already disastrous season, Arkansas fans have done really the only thing they can do at this point in the season: look towards the future. Arkansas Expats, SBNation's Razorbacks blog, has done an amazing job of mixing serious and not-so-serious looks at candidates for their next head football coach. We all know it's coming, whether next week or in November, so why not go ahead and begin speculating? They have at AE, and they've done a good job with it [I highly recommend the Other Candidates section]
Coug Center - SBNation United: It's all about community
I link Coug Center here because I doubt that's a blog you check out to often. Why would you? They write about Washington State - a school nowhere near us and one that we rarely, if ever, play. But I check out Coug Center from time to time, not only for the Mike Leach stories, but for the superb writing. Coug Center has spawned SBNation.com's new managing editor, Brian Floyd, as well as news desk editor Jeff Nusser. These guys do a great job, and if you read there stuff and follow their site then it's easy to see why some of them have risen to points of authority. I recommend you drop in on them from time to time, if not for Mike Leach press conference coverage, at least to see what a successful Pacific Northwest blog looks like.
SBNation.com - SEC Crash Course Road Trip
I always, always, always enjoy reading Bill Connely's material, but I included this one for a specific reason. Bill, over the course of several days last week, visited essentially the entire SEC, including Starkville, Oxford, Tuscaloosa, and points east that don't really matter. Here's an exerpt from Bill's time in Starkville, where he spent the night at Old Chester, ate some Old Venice, and was impressed with our girls' accents:
The next morning, we took a little longer getting out of town, partially because were enjoying ourselves at the MSU bookstore (all of the cowbells), partially because we had to fulfill a recommendation of going by Strange Brew Coffee House, and partially because we did about two unintentional laps around campus attempting to get back to the highway. (We were probably paying penance for the "What, no 'Speed Limit: 13' signs in honor of Wesley Carroll?" jokes.) As in Memphis, however, Davis-Wade Stadium was open because of event staff work, so we walked right in there, too.
Haha, I laughed out loud at the Wesley Carroll sign bit. I'm glad to know we State fans are not the only ones who understood just how bad MSU QB play was for a few years there in the 2000's.
Now, many of you may have already read these links. You may already visit these sites daily, have them bookmarked on your morning trip 'round the web. But the point of this post is to show you just how deep and talented this network is as a whole. We here at For Whom the Cowbell Tolls pride ourselves on being a part of that kind of network. We feel like it gives us an advantage over other sites, and acts as a motivation for us to produce higher quality material for you to consume, discuss, and maybe even hate (or vehemently argue with). No matter what your interests are, I hope you enjoy our site, our new design, and above all, enjoy the quality content and hidden gems that abound throughout this network. Let's finish with a few more links from around the network, then you're free to go!