Mississippi State will play in Mobile

If find this hard to believe:

MOBILE, Alabama – As the start of fall practice draws closer for South Alabama’s sixth season of football, the interest in the Jaguars’ home opener continues to increase. The Jags, who are off the first week of the season (Aug. 30 weekend) and open the season on Sat., Sept. 6 at Kent State, will play SEC West Division member Mississippi State at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in a 3 p.m. CDT game that will also be broadcast on ESPNews.

That’s right.  State will play an away game against South Alabama.

Some will try to spin this as a way to develop recruiting in the fertile Mobile area, but this is some way to do it.

On the other hand, the Dogs’ other out-of-conference home games include Southern Miss, UAB and UT-Martin.  Maybe they were too embarrassed to add the Jags to that slate.

In reality, I guess this speaks to the difficulty of scheduling that fourth OOC game, even if you are an SEC member.

 

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Palmer Loves Him Some Hyperbole?

 

Whoa, Jesse

Whoa, Jesse:

“He’s the best running quarterback [Dak Prescott] that Dan Mullen’s ever coached,” ESPN’s Jesse Palmer said on the TV broadcast. “Yeah, that includes Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 pick overall. That includes Tim Tebow.”

A former Florida Gator quarterback himself, Palmer knew what he said, and backed it up.

“The escapebilty, you don’t have to block everybody in order for him to give you the explosive play,” Palmer said. “He makes this offense better in the red zone a lot like Tim Tebow and Alex Smith.”

You’ve said a mouthful there, Jesse, given Smith’s performance at Utah and Tebow’s Heisman exploits at UF.

But on the other hand, Prescott does make Mississippi State better.  Yes, he’s a good runner, but he’s also tough and seems to be a great leader.  If State is able to build on their Liberty Bowl appearance and take a step forward in 2014, it’ll likely be because of Prescott.

MSU Really, Really Fired Up About Liberty Bowl

Dan Mullen and Mississippi State are really, really fired up about the Liberty Bowl:

“It’s an unbelievable honor for them to select you,” Mullen said. “And the one thing we can do is we’re a team that’s worthy being selected every single year to great bowl games because we’re going to bring a huge crowd with us.”

It’s the Liberty Bowl, people.  It’ll be played when the temperature is about 30 degrees.

But bless their hearts.  Those State folks sure do help our perspective.

MSU’s Nickoe Whitley Played Most of ’13 with Torn ACL

I don’t know about you, but I think if a guy can play through the season with a torn knee ligament, he should have his own line in the school fight song:

“I met with Nickoe and said, ‘Hey, you can have surgery now and hopefully be healed for the (NFL) combine, or you can suck it up and play with it the rest of the year. It’s not going to get a lot worse. You’ll still have to have the surgery afterward,’” Mullen said according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “He said, ‘I’m not giving up on the team, I’m going to play it out, and I’ll (have surgery) after the last regular-season game.’”

Saturday Football Thoughts

For years, Alabama fans have had the expectation that a win against most every team on the schedule was a given.  And it didn’t matter what year and it didn’t matter who was the coach.  We just expect to win.

Unfortunately, our expectations weren’t always met and, in several stretches of time, we would actually find a way to struggle mightily with lesser teams and sometimes even lose.  For example, we’d head into games like today’s, expect a big win and then wind up playing a really close game or actually finding a way to lose.

If there’s one thing that has happened in the Nick Saban era at Alabama, it has been doing away with that sort of play.  In his first year we struggled a bit record-wise and in 2009 and 2009 we sometimes didn’t play hard for a full 60 minutes, but, for the most part, since then, we’ve dominated the teams we’re supposed to dominate.  That’s what makes me feel fine about tonight’s game at Starkville.  Sure, there are some comparisons to 1980, but those were different times.  Accidents can still happen, but in 1980, Coach Bryant’s time at Alabama was drawing to a close and sometimes cracks could be seen in the program.

Saban circa 2013 is still getting after it.  I think there’s a lot of football left to be played and a lot to play for this year.  I think Alabama will be ready tonight.  I think State will show a lot of emotion and try to start the game with a bang, but assuming we don’t turn the ball over frequently, ‘Bama has more talent and more depth and should be comfortably ahead by games end.

 

Mississippi State Likes to Think Big: Championships in November

Fresh off of wins against Jackson State, Auburn, Troy and South Alabama, Mississippi State thinks they are primed for a championship run:

“We are 4-0, ranked nationally, and right where we want to be,” Mullen told a group of reporters. “If you want to compete for national championships you need to get out of the month of September undefeated. We were able to do that.”

“The opportunity could be there for championships,” Mullen said. “We’ll see as October goes through. If we get through October unscathed we’ll put ourselves in a position to be in some championship games come November and that’s where you want to be as a football program.”

Um, okay.

Technically, however, you don’t “need to get out of the month of September undefeated” to compete for a national championship.  Well, I guess maybe if you’re Mississippi State you do, but most national powers don’t.  In fact, most pundits would say it’s better to lose early than late.

Also, I’m not really sure which championship games are played in November.  I seem to recall the SEC championship game always being played in December.  Maybe he’s talking about the Sun Belt title game.  Is it played in November?

Anyways, I guess feasting on cupcakes like Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama gives you such a sugar rush that you become delirious and start dreaming big.  Don’t bother waking them right now; it’ll be over soon.

The New Lingo

Get with the new lingo, folks.

While reading through the sports news yesterday, I noticed these comments…

One from Auburn:

Coaches were more even handed with the offense, with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler saying he was encouraged by the demeanor of quarterback Kiehl Frazier in his first start, as well as the 100-yard games from running back Tre Mason and wide receiver Emory Blake.

And one from Mississippi State:

“I always look at things for the quarterback to improve from, but I really liked how he handled what his game-day demeanor was,” Mullen said. “And not just how it was on the field but how he was on the sideline and with every adjustment we made during the game.”

Did you get that? Both coaches were pleased with their quarterback’s demeanor during last week’s games. Does that mean they were pleased that they weren’t crying on the field or not puking in the huddle? Is demeanor something you have to coach?

That’s a new one on me.