Man, another week has flown by. Christmas creeps closer, and if you are like me, you're looking up to realize that you still have like half of your gifts to buy, and no idea where to buy them. My favorite this time of the year is the "that item is discontinued sir" line. Got to love it.
Although nationally this past week wasn't as hectic as the coaching search season begins to wind down, there was still plenty going on. The same goes for the world of MSU sports, as All-American honors were given, bowl practice kicked off, and injuries occurred. We do our best to cover it all right here in your Saturday morning news and notes. Grab that cup of Community Coffee and enjoy!
- This article from the Columbus Dispatch's Matthew Stevens gives good insight to the plans of the athletic department and more specifically, AD Scott Stricklin, on their plans for facility upgrades in the future. The interview with Stricklin talks about what facilities become priority now that football is underway, and the list includes softball, soccer, tennis, and golf. I am certainly glad to see all of these sports getting commitments that upgrades are coming. If you are a casual observer of MSU's 3 major sports, you may not be aware that all the listed sports have facilities badly in need of upgrades and/or just facilities in general. In the article, Stricklin talks about building a soccer fieldhouse, and how that commitment was one of the integral parts in getting new coach Aaron Gordon to come. Stricklin also talks about upgrades that are coming to the softball/tennis complex; upgrades that will need to be finished in time for MSU to host the 2014 SEC softball tournament. You, like me, are probably wondering where baseball falls on that list. Stricklin does mention the need for a renovation of Dudy Noble Field, but it is clearly down the list. Although I would like to see this become more of a high priority with the department, I understand it falling behind the other sports like softball and tennis. Still, I hold out hope that by late 2013 or 2014 they have some sort of renovation plans announced for the cathedral that Ron Polk built. P.S., in case you forgot what it may look like, here's one of the renderings of the renovations to the softball/tennis complex on campus:
via our buddy Bobby C.
- Bowl practice kicked off this week for State, as they begin preparations for the New Year's Day showdown with the Northwestern Wildcats. To get you primed up for it, winstoncounty'sfinest previewed what to watch for in the first week of practice. Also, here's a set of photos from the first day of practice, which took place in the Palmeiro Center. Also, here's a set of photos from Thursday, and a set from Friday. Also, get caught up on bowl practice with Bob Carskadon's notes and tidbits from the practice field.
- Earlier in the week, we wrote about the home football attendance numbers for this season, and how they dipped ever so slightly compared to 2011. This, without much of a doubt, is the result of two things: more day games in 2012, and bigger home matchups in 2011. Still, State only averaged about 300 less fans per game in 2012. Not bad.
- Are you going to the Gator Bowl in a couple of weeks? If you are, the MSU Alumni Association wants to tell you about their Bulldog New Year's Eve Party. It will be held at the Jacksonville Landing, and will run from 6p.m. until. I've heard grumblings that the last one wasn't that great, but who knows, it might be worth your time.
- Ticket Sales Update: so far, State says they've sold about 9,000, while Northwestern says they've sold 47% more than some unknown number sold last season.
- Johnthan Banks picked up another All-American honor this week, as Banks was tabbed to the second team by the Associated Press. Chalk up another All-American honor for Banks, as he was also named to the FWAA All-American team this week as well.
- According to Todd McShay's latest mock draft, Banks is projected to go in the first round, 25th pick to the New York Giants.
- Another All-American honor for freshman middle linebacker Bernardrick McKinney. Earlier in the week, Bernardrick picked up a nomination from CBSSports.com. In addition to his freshman All-American honor, McKinney also drew high praise from ESPN's Edward Aschoff, as Aschoff named McKinney one of his non-Johnny Manziel impact freshmen.
- East-West Shrine Game invitations were extended this week, and two MSU seniors - Chad Bumphis and Josh Boyd - were among those invited to take part in this year's game.
- Phil Steele released his post-regular season All-SEC team this week, and 6 Bulldogs were included in his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams.
- As we mentioned Wednesday, cowbells will be allowed to this year's Gator Bowl. There had been some worry that they would not be, as the bowl did not come out and immediately declare them welcome, but after a couple of weeks, we finally have official word that they will be.
- Awful news for sophomore Nick Griffin, as the talented running back sustained an ACL tear in a practice last weekend. Griffin, who really started to pick up momentum in State's backfield towards the end of 2012, had already suffered one ACL tear in his career. Griffin will have a tough road ahead of him, but he has already had surgery, and will now start the long road to recovery. We wish you all the best in your rehab Nick.
Yall just don't know how much I appreciate all the love and support from everyone. Promise to make it a speedy recovery!— Nick Griffin (@MacGrifferous) December 13, 2012
- For some of us too young to have been around when the event occurred, we may not truly understand the significance of the 1963 MSU - Loyola game that celebrates its 50th anniversary today. The game, as you may or may not know, was more than just that; it was the unified effort of MSU's basketball team to stand tall in the face of segregation in the early 1960's. As the story goes, Mississippi State had earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC. The state of Mississippi, at that time, had an unwritten rule that prohibited state universities from participating in athletic events against integrated teams. The night before MSU's game against Loyola - Chicago, a state legislator was granted an injunction prohibiting the team from traveling to its game against the Ramblers. Under the cover of night and through various means, the team snuck out anyways, and went on to play in the game. There are more details to it, but I will let you read for yourself in the following links from persons more qualified to tell the tale than me. What is important to note from it is the lengths that State's team went to to participate in that game. The final score, what happened on the court in general, would not matter a bit in the long run. What mattered was a team, unified from its coach all the way down to the B-team, decided to stand squarely in the face of segregation and oppose it. That act, nearly 50 years later, still stands as a pivotal moment in the forwarding of integration and race relations in the 60's. Even if you don't know the story, be proud to be affiliated with those brave men - the president of the school, the coach, the team - who risked their reputations and their careers for a cause they believed and we now know to be right. A truly amazing moment not only in MSU's history, but in American history as well.
- You can watch the full documentary on the "Game of Change" here.
- Some good reads on the 'Game of Change': ESPN on "the game that should not be forgotten", Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News ranks the game as the all-time best moment in the NCAA Tournament, and Fox Sports Detroit. Also, the B&B show chatted with Kyle Veazey yesterday about his book written on the "Game of Change".
- Coach Rick Ray has announced that alumni weekend for MSU men's basketball has been set for Saturday, February 2nd. Ray is inviting back all former players, coaches, and trainers for a gathering prior to and following the LSU game that weekend.
- Coach Ray also announced this week that MSU hoops signee Quantel Denson has been released from his scholarship. Denson has had legal issues in the past, and was reportedly on a one strike policy with coach Ray and the rest of the staff. Apparently Denson did something to accumulate his one strike, and is no longer on his way to Starkville. Say what you will about coach Ray, but I am impressed with how he sticks with his discipline, no matter the costs. That will count for a lot in the long run, which is what really matters. The question now becomes: who will Ray and company target to fill Denson's spot? It's interesting - coach Ray mentioned to the media that they will look to transfers most likely to fill his spot. As it has been noted on just about every message board, it will be interesting to see a player transfer in rather than out for a change.
- We still do not know a possible return date for guard Jalen Steele. Steele is still in a cast, and we will have to wait until his cast is removed and an MRI is conducted to see just when he could return.
- Speaking of injuries and the fact that we can't afford to lose another breathing member of the bball team, we now have official word that Wendell Lewis is out 8+ weeks. My gosh, is this really happening? I feel like this is the wrath of God punishing us for the sins of the Stansbury regime.
- Absolutely worth a few minutes of your time is this slideshow of pictures of college football coaches in high school. Our own Dan Mullen is included, and really, no coach in there isn't captured in some awesome and/or hilarious way. SPOILER: Les Miles, the wrestler included.
- For those of you who follow recruiting, there were a few moves and shakes this week in regards to MSU's football recruiting. Firstly, Butler CC Tommy Sanders, who was down to MSU, Ohio State, and Texas A&M, announced he would decide this past Wednesday. But after a visit from Auburn and South Carolina, Sanders changed his mind, pushing the date back for his announcement, as well as seemingly removing MSU from his final list. In addition, JUCO CB Carroll Washington announced this week that he would sign next Wednesday with either Arkansas, whom Washington is committed to, or Mississippi State, whom Carroll visited this past weekend. But, after a face to face meeting with new Arkansas coach Brett Bielema, Washington decided to stick with his original pledge and sign with the Razorbacks. A big miss for State, but one that was somewhat expected. For all of your recruiting info, make sure to "like" our football recruiting storystream, and as always check out the wonderful work by the Paul at 247 Sports, the guys at Genespage, and Bulldog Blitz. Also, be on the lookout for the new MSU recruiting website Cowbell Clang, which will be run by John Farley, formerly of Bulldawg Junction, MSU Dawg Walk, etc.
- Here's some video on MSU commits Justin Cox and Corey Smith, courtesy of Derek Cody:
East Mississippi DB Justin Cox (via EMCCathletics)
East Mississippi WR Corey Smith (via EMCCathletics)
- Seal Complex pictures - if you aren't following Bo Hemphill on Twitter, then you probably should be. He's been tweeting out a good many pictures of the new football facility. Too many to link here, so go check them out.
- It's so nice to see MSU's own Fletcher Cox doing well in his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Last night, Fletcher recorded back to back sacks of Cincinnati's Andy Dalton, and proceeded to celebrate by rolling the dice.
- Here's your link to this week's Wednesday Bulldog Update from AD Scott Stricklin. We've covered most of everything that's included in this week's update already, but give it a read if you'd like to.
- Notes from Brandon Marcello as the media chatted with the basketball team earlier in the week.
- Really cool picture from @SI_Vault of Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro at the 1985 College World Series.
- Speaking of baseball, sophomore Jonathan Holder and senior Adam Frazier have been named All-American by the NCBWA (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association).
- Such an awesome picture of Dontae Jones when he was at Northeast Mississippi CC, via @Kedthesportsguy:
- Forgot this last week, but here's a list of every bowl bound Mississippian, courtesy of the Clarion-Ledger's Rod Walker.
- A story on bowl directors, and their salaries, which continue to rise each year.
- I have to say I was a bit surprised last Sunday when the announcement came that Cincinnati hired away Tommy Tuberville from Texas Tech. Apparently, ole Tubbs wasn't too happy in Lubbock, and was looking to get out. He must have wanted to get out bad. Speaking of Tubbs, did he dine and dash on some Texas Tech recruits this past weekend? It appears so, although he's refuting it.
- Texas Tech, after
losinggetting rid of Tommy T., wasted no time in making what they considered to be the only choice for them: hiring former TT QB (and currently the hottest OC name in college football) Kliff Kingsbury away from Texas A&M. Kingsbury is young, but would have no doubt been snatched up by an FBS school in the next year or two anyways. Smart move by Texas Tech. Also, cool way to introduce the hire as well.
- Pat Forde picks Northwestern to beat MSU in his bowl edition of the Forde Yard Dash.
- Tennessee's new football coaching staff didn't have orange ties yet, so, uh, the school photoshopped them in.
- Last week I told you how excited I am to see The Hobbit. I have not seen it yet - I promised my sister I would wait and see it with her next Saturday - but there is yet another movie that I'm dying to see that comes out this upcoming week. Zero Dark Thirty - the story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden - has me literally giddy with anticipation over seeing it. Add to it the hullabaloo that classified information was possibly used to make the movie, and yeah, they have my full attention. Oh, and did I mention that Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is in it? Doesn't get more 'Muricah than that, my friends. Here's the trailer, for those who have not seen it yet:
ZERO DARK THIRTY - Official Trailer - In Theaters 12/19 (via SonyPictures)
- The question I have for you is not if you have watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation but how many times have you watched it? I have not watched it yet, but will this weekend and probably again about 10 times next week. Can't get enough of it.
- Holiday Music - how do you feel about it? I love it, but I know some that can't stand it. It, like most things in life, is good in moderation, so it's understandable to not care for it if you've overloaded on it already.
- Just over a week until Christmas: have you finished your shopping? Better get on it!
That's it for today, friends. Have a great Saturday!