Written by Brett Holloway | 15 December 2010

Well guys, just wanted to share my opinion on all of the upcoming Bowl Games with yall. Every year, we have some interesting and amazing match-ups, but then again, there are always a few stinkers. I myself have organized all 35 of the 2010-2011 Bowls into 5 categories: (1) Great Match-Ups, (2) Barn Burners, (3) Snoozers, and (4) Big Names...But, Who Cares? So with that said, here's how I positioned the games within those categories...

Great Match-Ups dansign
South Car vs FSU
Wisconsin vs TCU
Stanford vs VT
Ohio State vs Arkansas
LSU vs aTm
Air Force vs GT
Michigan vs MSU
Auburn vs Oregon

Barn Burners
Navy vs San Diego St
Hawaii vs Tulsa
NIU vs Fresno State
ECU vs Maryland
Okl State vs Arizona
Illionois vs Baylor
Middle TN vs Miami (OH)

Ohio vs Troy
Utah vs Boise St
FIU vs Toledo
Army vs SMU
K-State vs Syracuse
Northwestern vs Tx Tech
Pitt vs UK
UConn vs Okl

Big Names...But, Who Cares?
NC vs UT
Mizz vs Iowa
Clemson vs USF
ND vs Miami
Neb vs Washington
Nevada vs BC
Bama vs Mich St
USM vs Louisville

Your Thoughts? Am I way off on any of these? Games you are most interested in?

Don't get me wrong, if I'm in front of a TV, I'll watch any of these games, but some leave something left to be desired. There are a number of traditionally strong programs that are down this year, and would otherwise be an outstanding match-up any other year. I will say this, you have to feel bad for Okl State and Nebraska. 2 teams that are facing off against somewhat much lesser opponents, not to mention that Nebraska has already killed Washington this season. And for what it's worth, why I'm barking up this tree, I'm really happy that Huskies' QB Jake Locker is graduating. Washington is a CONTINUAL under-achieving, media darling that just STINKS. I'm tired of hearing about them and Locker. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

Miami Trustee on Mullen's Ego
In MSU news, apparently a Miami trustee was turned off by Dan Mullen's 'ego'. Saying that "he acts like he invented the game." I couldn't disagree more. What Mullen doesn't do is back down to anyone who takes a jab at him, be it Saban or Nutt. He carries himself professionally, he doesn't under-estimate his opposition, and he doesn't throw his coaches or players under the bus. The only time that he has shown any ounce of ego, is in his confidence towards Ole Miss. And that whole situation appears completely one-sided right now, because ever since Nutt jabbed at State in late 2009, he has been dominated by Dan Mullen. Maybe the 'U' needs to realize that they "didn't invent the game", and that they are not the job they once were. Guess we'll see what Golden is made of, but MSU is clearly the better job right now, and in the near future.

Dawgs Top Belhaven in Sidney Debut
Sidney wasn't able to compete for as long as he or those in attendance had hope for, but the Jackson native played well in his first 15 minutes of the season. Sidney finished with 10 points, 6 boards, and 1 block. Dee Bost was allowed to play, due to the fact that the game was indeed an exhibition. Bost showed just how much he'd be missed until January, racking up 26 points. Ravern Johnson continued to be the hot hand for MSU, with 29 points. State won 101-76.

Keith Fitzhugh on Jay Leno
Don't know how many of yall saw it last night, but former MSU Safety Keith Fitzhugh was invited onthe Tonight Show. Keith has made the news in the past week, after he turned down a chance to be picked up by the Jets, who lost their starting Safety last week to injury. Fitzhugh has spent some time in the NFL, but it's pretty much been when teams have 'needed' him. Fitz decided not to respond to the Jets' call to duty this time, due to the stability of his job as a rail road conductor. I don't blame him. Why sign on for an NFL team that's cut you in the past, and may not make it past the first week of the playoffs. Leno showed a clip of what Rex Ryan had to say about Fitzhugh's character, and how bad he wanted 'that kid' to sign with the Jets again. Great interview, and MSU was represented well.

So, does Mullen have an ego? Thoughts on Sidney and Bost? Did you see Keith Fitzhugh?

Bowl Mania Reminder
I have created a Bowl Mania Pick 'Ems group on ESPN.com. Not only will you be picking the winner of each game, but to make the picks even tougher, you will have to assign confidence points to each pick. 35 is the highest amount of confidence points that you can apply to a game, with 1 being the fewest. Rank your games 35 all the way to 1, and we'll wait to see how things shake out. Here's all the info you'll need to join:
Group Page: (Link)
Group Name: All Things Maroon
Group Password: eggbowl3123

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Written by Brett Holloway | 15 December 2010

DancarrDawgs Practice
State's Tuesday practice focused in on Red-Zone work. And just as anything else that Dan Mullen organizes or has a hand in, competition was at the heart of the practice. "It was good, it was a little red zone scrimmage. The defense was up 5 to 1 and then the offense scored five straight touchdowns to win it.”  Dylan Favre and Tyler Russell led the comeback that Mullen detailed. Russell was strong in 7 on 7 passing drills, while Chris Relf worked on his running game in 6 on 5 drills. Favre though, was by far the player of the day. 3 TD passes and a naked bootleg run on the Dawg D, summed up Dylan's day. "It was great for the offense to realize one thing they say, it takes one score to get two; so you don’t worry about how many you have to score, worry about the next one. And they did a nice job of that today.” As for the D's performance, it somewhat reflected their performance during the season. “It’s something we have to learn as a team. The defense had the offense down and then let them back in it, they didn’t put them away. We had some teams that we could have put away this season and we let them hang around in the game. We’ve got to learn to put teams away when you have them down.”

Of course, Mullen is resting the injured along with the Veteran players, and working in the youngsters. “I think the guys have got to have fun playing the game. It’s an opportunity for young guys to get out and play. A lot of our experienced guys get a lot of fun playing every Saturday in the stadium and playing in the big games. A lot of these young guys all their work has come in practice. So it’s kind of a reward for them...“The competition to spring has already started. It kind of lets everybody know that hey, there might be somebody right behind me that can step in and make the plays. So I’d better get going!”

Is it just me, or do you think Dylan Favre will be a special player for MSU before he graduates?

Sidney Debut
Well guys, when Rick Stansbury inked Renardo Sidney-back when what seemed an eternity ago, the Bulldog Faithful had high hopes. The trio of Jarvis Varnado, Ravern Johnson, Dee Bost, and the addition of Sidney, might have turned the Bulldogs into one of the toughest teams in the country. Fast forward past Sidney's suspension, that covered a full year (2009-2010) and 9 games (30%) of the young 2010-2011 season. and the wait is finally over. Sidney will not step on the hardwood at the Hump, but rather on the temporary, exhibition surface that is laid down annually in the Jackson Civic Center. Guess there's no place like home, especially for a player who is making a much awaited debut. So, what's Sidney saying about finally getting to don the Maroon and White? Here's a look...

"I’m very excited, and nervous. I haven’t played in a year-and-a-half and a lot of people have a lot of expectations out of me. But I’m excited to get back on the court...I’ll just be more comfortable getting back on court with all my people supporting me...I know this is another level but I think I’m ready for it and I’ve been waiting a long time to get back on court...Coach Stansbury told me I was starting and would play me until my lungs collapse or something. So I guess that means the whole game!"

I know one thing, I'm looking forward to what the kid can and will bring to this team. He'll be just the spark we need, in order to survive til January and Bost's return. Having both Bost and Sidney on the court at the same time, will somewhat get things back to normal for State fans. Though Elgin Bailey has played as hard as he can to start the season, Sidney will add a lot of versatility around the rim and beyond the arch.

Your thoughts on Sidney and what he brings?

How are yall feeling about this weekend vs Virginia Tech?

Bowl Mania is Here!
As promised, I have created a Bowl Mania Pick 'Ems group on ESPN.com. Not only will you be picking the winner of each game, but to make the picks even tougher, you will have to assign confidence points to each pick. 35 is the highest amount of confidence points that you can apply to a game, with 1 being the fewest. Rank your games 35 all the way to 1, and we'll wait to see how things shake out. Here's all the info you'll need to join:
Group Page:(Link)
Group Name: All Things Maroon
Group Password: eggbowl3123

Thoughts, Comments, & Questions?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 11 December 2010

relfWell guys, I've been meaning to post this sooner, but with all the talk surrounding Dan Mullen over the past week, I'm just now getting to it. Dan Mullen's second season as the Bulldogs' Head Coach, has turned out to be quite special for the Maroon Nation. Mullen brought in the most regular season wins (8) and the longest winning streak since 1999 (6). Mullen and the Dawgs' work is far from finished though, considering that MSU's 2010 performance earned State a trip to the Gator Bowl vs Michigan. That game, which is scheduled for January 1st, marks the Dawgs' first Bowl bid since the 2007 season, and only the second in a decade. With that said, let's take a look back at MSU's 8-4 regular season finish. I've compiled some game stats and details for each of the 12 match ups.

Game 1-
  MSU 49  Memphis 7
At the Half:  21-0  State
Total yds: MSU (569)  Memphis (237)
Russell- 256 yds, 4 TDs
Relf- 116 yds passing, 1 TD
Heavens- 5 catches, 120 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 catches, 100, 2 TDs
Ballard- 60 yds, 2 TDs
Perkins- 57 yds
Langston- 2 INTs
State fell 20 yards short of breaking the school record for total yds, and Russell tied a school record with his 4 TD passes. State's rushing attack finished just 3 yds shy of 200 yds rushing. State was clicking on every cylinder, and the D didn't allow Memphis to score until the 4th Qtr.
MSU (1-0)

Game 2-  #21 Auburn  17  MSU  14
At the Half: 17-7 Tigers
Total yds: AU (348) MSU  (246)
Relf- 110 yds, 26 yds rushing
Bumphis- 3 carries for 27 yds
Ballard- 1 Rushing TD
Whitley- INT
State shutout Auburn in the 2nd Half, and held Cam newton to just 136 yds passing and only 70 yds on the ground. That performance by the D, has been the best against Auburn this season, by any team. A pick 6 opportunity was missed in the 4th Qtr, and State dropped 2 passes that would have at least sealed a FG try in the closing seconds.
MSU (1-1)

Game 3-  #15 LSU  29  MSU 7
At the Half:  12-0 Tigers
Total yds: MSU (268) LSU (264)
Russell- 81 yds, 3 INTs
Relf- 35 yds passing, 46 rushing, 2 INTs
Elliot- 39 yds
Ballard- 1 TD, 28 yds
Clark- 3 catches 48 yds
On one of MSU's worst Saturday's of the season. State threw 5 INTs that awarded LSU with short field position the entire night. The Dawg D who was continually placed in bad situations, held the Tiger to 5 FGs (Jasper). Jordan Jefferson led the Tigers to 2 TDs in the 3rd Qtr, and LSU had the seperation they needed. State had now lost 2 in a row.
MSU (1-2)

Game 4- MSU  24  UGA  12
At the Half:  7-6  MSU
Total yds: UGA (387) MSU (314)
Relf- 135 yds passing, 97 rushing, 2 TDs
Ballard- 14 carries, 77 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 catches, 64 yds
Clark- 2 catches, 47 yds, 1 TD
After a slow start, MSU would close out the game with a 17 point 4th Qtr. Relf's 33 yd pass to Arceto Clark put the Dawgs out front for good. Ballard established himself as MSU's main RB, Relf found confidence in his passing abilities, and the Dawg D was stout. Nickoe Whitley had the play of the game, forcing a UGA fumble on the goal line, in the 1st half. The win over UGA paved the way for an unbelievable run for State, that had just started. In my opinion, the UGA game was the game in which Relf took the starting job for the rest of the season. State fans were scratching their heads for the last 2 games, but left this one feeling a lot better.
MSU (2-2)

Game 5- MSU 49  Alcorn State  16
At the Half: 35-16 MSU
Total yds: MSU (566) Alcorn (330)
Relf- 209, 2 TDs
Ballard- 8 carries, 119 yds, 3 TDs
Perkins- 48 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 4 carries, 38 yds; 9 catches, 133 yds, 2 TDs
Berry- 3 cacthes, 97 yds; 97 yd KR for TD
State struggled early on with Alcorn, allowing their scrambling QB to post a 78 yd TD run, and a late score before half. Using this game as a chance to work on Relf's passing game and the Rabid Dawg formation, the Offense had it's moments of boring those in attendence, despite racking up 560+ yds. Relf got his work in, completing 11/15 passes. Perkins was given decent playing time in the second half, showcasing his speed on a 30 yd burst to set up a late score. Berry's KR for a TD, is still the only life that State would show on Special Teams-for the rest of 2010. State's win over the Braves made it 2 in a row for the Dawgs.
MSU (3-2)

Game 6- MSU 47  Houston  24
At the Half: 33-10 MSU
Total yds: MSU (538) UH  (403)
Relf- 57 yds passing; 96 yds rushing, 1 TD
Russell- 72 yds, 40 yds rushing
Ballard- 134 yds, 3 TDs
Perkins- 78 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 7 catches. 79 yds
Broomfield- 2 INTs (1 TD)
One game team that kept MSU out of Bowl contention in the 2009 season, was the Houston game. This time around, State posted over 400 yds rushing in the contest, and contained the Cougars' explosive attack. The Dawgs imposed their will, to the tune of 7.2 yds per rush, while holding UH's RB Beal to just 17 yds. Beal came into the game as one of the top rushers in the nation. Sadly, WR Leon Berry disclocated his ankle on a KR, which knocked Berry out for the remainder of the 2010 regular season. Relf was injured on a drive in the 2nd half, but appeared to be fine just a few plays later. Russell finished the game, leading a balanced Dawg attack for the remainder of the night. State added 14 points with Russell finishing the 2nd half. State had now won 3 in a row.
MSU (4-2)

Game 7-  MSU 10  #22 UF 7
At the Half: 10-0 MSU
Total yds: UF (361) MSU (241)
Relf- 4/9 33 yds, 82 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 98 yds
Bumphis- 3 rushes 21 yds, 1 catch 30 yds
Banks- 1 INT
Brauchle- 31 yd FG
Johnthan Banks' early INT led to MSU's first and only TD of the night. The rest of game, would unfold as an intense defensive struggle, and missed opportunities for both sidelines. With Brantley struggling to give the Gators any rhythym on Offense, Meyer turned to TE/QB Trey Burton to spark the unit, and he did just that. But, a late 3rd Qtr TD would be all that MSU would allow. UF was driving with 8 minutes left, but MSU's DT Fletcher Cox stripped the ball from Gator RB Jeff Demps , and stalled a promising drive for UF. After holding the ball for 5 + minutes, State would have to hold off a Gator 2 minute drill, that resulted in a missed FG in the closing seconds. When the night had ended, State had ran for 200+ yds. MSU was now winners of 4 straight.
MSU (5-2)

Game 8-  #24 MSU 29  UAB  24
At the Half: 10-10
Total yds: MSU (378) UAB (354)
Relf- 107 yds passing, 1 TD; 51 yds rushing
Perkins- 18 carries, 131 yds, 2 TDs
Bumphis- 4 carries, 30 yds
Heavens- 2 catches, 44 yds
DePasquale- 5/5 FGs
After defeating UF, State returned home with their first national ranking since 2001. Now sporting #24 beside their name and a 4 game winning streak, Dan Mullen warned the players and coaches of a possible letdown. It almost happened. Had it not been for some timely turnovers forced by the Dawg D, and some clutch kicking by DePasquale, the Dawgs might have been embarassed on Homecoming. Manny Diaz's D which had bought into the bend but don't break mentality, bent more than they had all year in a Bulldog victory. State posted 271 yds rushing, but only 107 through the air. Perkins showed out in Ballard's absence (injury), claiming the #2 RB spot with his 131 yd performance. Winning their 5th straight, MSU had their longest winning streak since 1999.
MSU (6-2)

Game 9-  #21 MSU  24  UK 17
At the Half: 17-10 MSU
Total yds: UK (347) MSU  (325)
Relf- 111 yds passing, 1 TD; 79 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 14 carries, 103 yds, 1 TD
Bumphis- 2 catches, 41 yds
Heavens- 1 catch, 33 yds
Clark- 2 catches, for 27 yds, 1 TD
Banks, White, Whitley- INT
Another 200 yd night for the MSU running attack was needed, because State could not control Randall Cobb when UK had the football. State stormed out to a 17-7 lead, but became somewhat complacent with the early gap. A rushing TD by Relf with 10 minutes left, and a last minute INT by Johnthan Banks, sealed up State's 7th win of the season, and 6th in a row.
MSU (7-2)

Game 10-  #12 Bama 30   #19 MSU  10
At the Half: 20-3 Bama
Total yds: Bama (452) MSU (299)
Relf- 70 yds passing, 1 INT
Russell- 80 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ballard- 80 yds rushing
Perkins- 44 yds rushing
Clark- 2 catches for 44 yds
Bumphis- 3 for 43 yds, 1 TD
DePasquale- 1/1 FG
Even though they were coming off a bye-week, State was only 7 days removed from teammate Nick Bell's funeral service. An unfocused team traveled to Tuscaloosa, and fell victim to 3 huge plays. A Defense that was not used to surrendering BIG gainers, and that prided themselves on keeping the ball in front of them, had a wake up call. Bama posted scoring plays of 45, 78, and 56 yards. Ballard ran the ball hard, but the lone highlight of the night was a 27 yd TD pass from Russell to Bumphis. This game was one to forget, and State's 6 game winning streak was over.
MSU (7-3)

Game 11-  #13 Arkansas 38  #21 MSU  31 (2-OT)
At the Half: 21-17 MSU
Total yds: Ark (488) MSU (486)
Relf- 20/30 for 224 yds; 103 yds rushing, 1 TD
Ballard- 33 carries, 150 yds, 3 TDs
Smith- 5 catches, 78 yds
Bumphis- 5 catches, 45 yds
Clark- 3 catches, 29 yds
State was down 10 with 10 minutes to play, and would fight back to tie the game at 31. With every bit of the momentum at the end of regulation, State would carry it with them into Overtime play. In the first OT, Vick Ballard managed to keep his balance on the sideline before diving and stretching for the pylon on an excellent run. Little did Ballard or anyone else know, that extra effort would actually cost him and his team. On Ballard's run, the ball was knocked out of his hands, and over the pylon for a touch back. The game would go into Double OT, and State's offense would once again miss opportunities that were there for them to win the game. The same D that struggled vs Bama, would struggle once again. Big plays from the Hogs, resulted in scores of 62, 25, and 89 yds. Relf seemed to finally find his strengths in the passing game, a new target emerged in WR Chris Smith, and State displayed the fact that even in a loss, they were on the rise. State had now lost 2 in a row, for the first time since Week 2 and 3. 
MSU (7-4)

Game 12-  #25 MSU  31  Ole Miss 23
At the Half: 21-9 MSU
Total yds: MSU (498)  OM (326)
Relf: 13/20, 288 passing yds, 3 TDs; 66 rushing yds
Perkins: 98 yds rushing, 140 receiving, 2 TDs
Ballard: 43 yds rushing,  22 receiving 1 TD
Bumphis: 44 yds receiving
Smith: 41 yds, 1 TD
Broomfield: INT
After losing 2 in a row, MSU bounced back with a strong showing vs their arch rival TSUN. The Bulldogs fell behind 6-0 early, but quickly sprinted out to a 21-9 lead at the Half. Chris Relf had a 71 yd run to set up State's first score, but for the rest of the night he would attack the Rebel D with his arm. Relf hit Perkins throughout the night on some timely screen plays and wheel routes. Perkins finished with just 3 catches, but racked up 140 yds on the 3 grabs. The Reb D focused their attention on Ballard, who was playing with a minor injury. That opened the door for Perkins, who served as an excellent change of pace for MSU. The Bulldog D was as strong as they had been all season long, but they took their foot off the gas in the 4th Qtr, allowing 2 late scores for TSUN. State held one of the SEC's most productive offenses to just 326 yds, and the Reb rushing attack which was averaging 220+ yds a game, was held to just 65 yds. State's win in Oxford, kept the Egg in Starkville for the second straight year. The win also game State 8 wins for the regular season, the most since 1999. 
MSU (8-4)

AllthingsMaroon Season Picks

-Turning Point of the Season:
Win over UGA
-Offensive MVP: QB Chris Relf- 1,508 yds passing, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 683 yds rushing, 4 TDs.
-Defensive MVP:
LB Chris White- 105 tkls, 6 Sacks, 2 INTs.
-Honorable Mention: RB Vick Ballard- 166 carries, 892 yds, 5.4 ypc, 16 TDs

After taking a look back, which game do you feel was the turning point for MSU in 2010? Why?

What was your favorite play, game, or stretch of the season?

Who were your picks this season for MVP's?

Other Questions
Is the Gus Malzahn the right coach for Vandy?

Is Muschampthe right fit at UF? Apparently he was the only candidate they spoke to and interviewed.

Final thoughts on Cam Newton's Heisman win? Anyone find it ironic that ESPN showed the 30 for 30 film on SMU's dirty program in the 80's, right after the Heisman Show?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 09 December 2010

MullenImmediately following Urban Meyer's resignation yesterday, Dan Mullen's name was thrown in the mix as Meyer's successor. After a quiet afternoon, Mullen broke his silence concerning all of the speculation, by stating that he is 'absolutely' committed to MSU and 'happy' in Starkville. Thursday, Mullen clarified his stance once gain, while answering questions at a Gator Bowl press conference. "I haven’t had contact with anybody. The only person I’ve talked to about a coaching position is sitting right here at the end of the table (MSU AD Scott Stricklin). I’m very happy at Mississippi State University. I have no plans on going anywhere.”  Mullen was named as one of Miami's top 2 candidates earlier in the week, and now with Meyer leaving UF, the MSU coach is becoming the center of the media's attention. Dan commented that the amount of attention that he is getting is both 'flattering'  and 'annoying'. “It’s kind of annoying because I have to answer a lot of questions that don’t pertain to our football team, and that’s really all I have time for to worry about is our football team. Speculation is something a lot of the media has to deal with on a daily basis but in the coaching profession we deal with reality. My reality is making sure our football team is ready to go play a great game on Jan. 1, that our football players get good grades and graduate, and we recruit and build for the future to continue our great success at Mississippi State."

You feelings about all this now?

Husdpeth Talking with Lafayette
In late November, the MSU WR coach was contacted by ULL, but turned down the opportunity to interview. This week, Lafayette knocked on his door once again, and this time Huds decided to hear them out. Hudspeth has already been granted permission from Dan Mullen to interview with the school, who could name their new head coach as early as this weekend. I myself would hate to lose Coach Huds, because it's rare to have a coach who is already a fan of the school he is coaching at. He is a Bulldog fan, getting to live out a dream. One things for sure, he could very well end up back in Starkville-one day down the road.


Cam Newton Talks
Any Foul Play in his recruiting? "I had no dealings with nobody at Mississippi State during the time that I came to Auburn. But Mississippi State knows it was between Mississippi State and Auburn. And if you've been following this, there's no secret. But I felt that, as a whole, Auburn possessed what's best for Cam Newton, and that's why I decided to come here on my decision."

Concerning "the money was too much comment":  "I'm not here to talk about any reports. I called Coach Mullen. I told him what I had in my heart at the time. I talked to him and his wife, Miss Megan, and we had an excellent conversation. They wished me the best, and I wished them the best. I wouldn't have been able to go to sleep at night without me saying I called Coach Mullen, man-to-man, not hiding behind anything and being able to say I called him because of the respect I have for him."

Concerned about his father's actions?  "That's not something that I'm trying to get clarity of because I really don't care. At the end of the day I can look him in his eye and he can look me in my eye and I can know that he has my best interest [in mind]. I'm not sitting up here saying that we all are perfect. Everybody's made mistakes. I'm not sitting up here saying what he did or what he didn't do was wrong. Who am I up here to say that what he did is true or not."

Cam chose Auburn NOT his dad: "There are a lot of things we talked about; he was bringing up a lot of decisions, a lot of situations. But at the end of the day, I was still the one making the decision."

Anything stick out to you?
-"I had no dealings with nobody at Mississippi State during the time that I came to Auburn."  Notice that Newton said  'at the time I came to Auburn.'  That doesn't rule out improper actions before he signed with Auburn, which very well could make him ineligible.
-"I'm not here to talk about any reports."  In other words, I'm not answering that. Completely dodged the question. No denial.
-"That's not something that I'm trying to get clarity of because I really don't care."  Not concerned with illegal actions or misconduct of your father? Who is a preacher? That says a lot.
-"But at the end of the day, I was still the one making the decision."  We all know that is a LIE, because Cameron himself came out and admitted it, that his father made the final call. Thus the 'rented mule' comment, that came from Cecil's mouth.

Your thoughts? Did I miss something?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 09 December 2010

DanAt the end of the 2009 season, Florida Gator coach Urban Meyer  sent a shockwave of worry through the Bulldog Nation by announcing his resignation. MSU's Dan Mullen  was only a season removed from Meyer and his former job in Gainesville, where he served as Meyer's Offensive Coordinator. A decade of friendship and discipling had molded Mullen into a first year coach in the SEC, and many thought Mullen was on his way back to the Swamp. Urban Meyer would go on to change his mind in just a span of 24 hours, and State fans could exhale. Fast forward to yesterday, and Deja Vu' once again brought a cloud of worry to Starkville. This time though, it was official. Meyer will hang up the Blue and Orange, after the Gators face off with Penn State in the Outback Bowl.

Just the rumors of Meyer calling it quits, stirred a sickening feeling in the stomachs of State fans. First, your mind can't help but imagine everything that Mullen has built over the past 2 seasons-somehow crumbling at the foundation. Second, you think of the extremes that you hope the AD and Administration would go through to keep the young coach in Starkville. Third, you have to resort to imagining his possible replacement.

Amidst the doom and gloom of yesterday, enters a ray of light. That ray of light is made up of MSU AD Scott Stricklin and some in the media who have their own sources and opinions. Here are some quotes that somewhat calmed the stomach rumblings for Bulldog fans yesterday.

AD Scott Stricklin:  "Every one calm down, take a deep breath and book hotel rooms in Jacksonville. Speculation of this nature is the price of success. We want to have the kind of success that people look at our sports and say, 'I'd like to have a coach like Mississippi State has or have a program that's run like Mississippi State. That's a by-product of success in this day and age. We're making sure he's a part of our program moving forward and it's something that's really important. We're going to do everything we can to make him feel good about that."

Bulldog Junction (BDJ):  "State fans rest easy tonight...take Scott Stricklin's advice and get ready for the Gator Bowl. You'll like how this story ends."

Gene Swindoll (MississippiStateScout.com):  "I keep reminding you of this and I'll do it again, this is not your granddad's or dad's MSU. The right people are in place to make MSU to be big time...I was just told this by a very good MSU source. And just as Steve Foley said in his post, Florida is very likely going in another direction with their head coaching hire. And, as of now, it appears Dan is not on Foley's short·list. So it appears we are fine at the moment."

Matthew Stevens (Starkville Daily News):  "A source close to the situation has told The SDN Bulldog Blog  that he received word from Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen that he has no immediate plans to be the next head football at the University of Florida."

More than anything that the Athletic Director could say, or those who are close to MSU thanks to a media pass, it was Dan Mullen's words that meant the most on a crazy Wednesday. When asked about his interest in the UF job, Mullen simply stated that he was "absolutely " commited to MSU. Mullen added, "No one has contacted me. My wife and I are happy at Mississippi State."

Be it coach-talk or the dead honest truth, we'll have to wait and see. I just know that it's time for Bulldog fans, including myself, to change their mindset.

Outside of Mullen's comments, Gene Swindoll's really grabbed me. If Dan Mullen has done anything, he has changed the way the rest of College Football views Mississippi State. The toughness, confidence, physicality, energy, and talent that is emerging in Starkville is evident to the likes of Chris Fowler, Reece Davis, and Kirk Herbstreit. Davis Wade Stadium is becoming a VERY tough place to play, the facilities are up to date with some of the nation's best programs, and MSU is in the Top 25 for the first time in 9 years. It's time to stop viewing ourselves as destined to fail. Time to stop thinking of ourselves as inferior to anyone. And finally, it's time to stop worrying about losing our coach to his OLD team, that he defeated this season. Dan Mullen has dramatically transformed the Bulldogs' performance on the field, but are we ready to allow him to do the same to our mindsets as a fanbase?

So, with that said, I want you to imagine a kick sailing wide right, a scoreboard that reads MSU  10 UF  7, the Golden Egg trophy being carried around the edges of Vaugh-Hemingway Stadium, a New Year's Day Bowl that awaits us, and Dan Mullen on the MSU sideline when we tee it up against Memphis in 2011.

Mullen on Meyer:  "Urban has been a tremendous ambassador for college football and the sport will certainly miss him. He has been a great mentor and friend to me throughout my career and I hope he's able to enjoy time with his family."

Anyway, what were your thoughts on everything yesterday?

First impressions?

Your feelings now?

What mark did Urban Meyer leave on College Football?

Did I get you pumped up enough to run through a brick wall?

Other News (As if other news matters)

Chris Low looks at UF's coaching short list. Link

Cam Newton's  2010 season vs Tebow's  2007 Heisman season. Wow, haters might want to take a look. Link

Chris Low wraps up the 2010 season in the SEC. MSU's  his biggest surprise. Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 06 December 2010

sherrodWell guys, as many of you know by now, MSU welcomed the Gator Bowl's executives to Starkville on Monday. Rick Catlett, who is the CEO of the Gator Bowl, was even awarded with his very own cowbell.Catlett had the following to say about a number of issues surrounding MSU's invite to Jacksonville: 

-On Strickland & MSU Fans:
  "I want you to know, your AD worked very hard to convince this board to make this selection. Your fans have proven they were the right fans to invite, they’ve sold all their tickets and asked for more! Scott worked very hard to educate our selection committee and people...I think Mississippi State conducted themselves very professionally and made sure we had all the facts to make the selection.”
-On State's Season and Bowl Ticket Sales:  "It’s not the largest stadium in the conference by any means (Davis Wade), but when the school you just invited calls for more tickets four, five hours into the process it shows the passion you have."
-Picking MSU over UT:  "It was a pretty easy selection at that point, a 8-4 team ranked 21st in the country. It’s sort of a rule, or feel, you don’t pass a team after the type of season Mississippi State had for a two-win-less team.” 
-On Cowbells:  "We’re going to let them to bring them to our game and they can ring them any time they want to!"

Catlett also told reporters that as of yesterday morning, there was only 428 tickets left. In order to put that figure in perspective, the Jaguars' stadium holds 77,000. MSUhas sold close to 16,000 tickets, while Wolverine fans have purchased around 12,500.  

White and Sherrod Named to All-SEC First Team
The Media has spoken, and the All-SEC Team has been named. MSU's MLB Chris White and LT Derek Sherrod were honored with First Team picks. RB Vick Ballard earned an Honorable Mention nod. Congrats to our Bulldogs! As for other honors...
-Off. Player of the Year: Cam Newton (Surprise, surprise)
-Def. Player of the Year: Nick Fairley (The next James Harrison, future NFL fines leader)
-SEC Freshman of the Year: Marcus Lattimore (Beast)
-Coach of the Year: Gene Chizik (Nazi)

Recruiting Update
Just wanted yall to keep an eye on the recruitment of QB Dak Prescott. Many of you may know that LSU is doing their best to pull the Haughton High (LA) standout away from MSU. Dak visited Baton Rouge this past weekend, but left with a 'Low Interest'  tag on his recruitment with the Tigers. Prescott will be in Starkville this weekend, for hopefully the visit that will seal his fate in Maroon and White. At this time, Prescott has given State a 'Soft Verbal'. He is the #66 QB in the country, a definite duel-threat, and is rated as a 3 Star. If Mullen would like to continue what he has done with Relf this season, after Russell is gone, then Prescott would be an excellent pick up. I talk at times with the LSU guy here at Bloguin, who is Kris on SaturdayNightSlant.com, and he actually gets to see Prescott play on Fridays. He continually reminds me that the kid is full of talent, and a perfect fit for Dan Mullen. Prescott holds offers from LSU, Grambling, La Tech, Memphis, and North Texas.

Last week, State did pick up their 23rd commitment of the 2011 recruiting class. Of course nothing is final until the players sign the dotted line, but Lloyd Allen became that 23rd player. Allen is a product of Gulf Coast Community College, and is rated as a 2 Star. The DE stands in at 6-4 240 lbs. Allen also has offers from UK, aTm, Troy, UH, Marshall, and UAB. Allen and Prescott are 2 of the pieces that could finalize MSU's spot in the Top 25 of National Recruiting. Dak_Prescott

SEC News
Here's the rest of the list of All-Conference performers. Link

Slive sticks by his ruling on Newton. Link

Urban Meyer votes Auburn #2 instead of #1...Some are saying sour grapes? Link

Remember how UT dropped UNC from their 2011 schedule? Can't run now, huh. Link

Chris Low's SEC Power Rankings. Link

LSU and Boise have conflicting rankings in the BCS...shhhhhh, don't tell anyone. Link

Every Bowl Game previewed here. Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 05 December 2010

Gator_Bowl_LogoAfter a strong 8-4 season, Dan Mullen and the MSU Bulldogs are headed to the Gator Bowl, to face the Michigan Wolverines. The Gator Bowl is the 6th oldest Bowl, spanning some 65 years. Michigan, who hails from the·historic Big 10 conference, finished with a 7-5 mark. The Wolverines are led by Coach Rich Rodriguez and former Heisman hopeful QB Denard Robinson.

It seemed until Saturday afternoon, that the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta, was a done deal. But, once South Carolina had a weekend to win over the Bowl's board members during the SEC Championship's festivities, their own deal was in·place. I myself, thought that there was no way that USC had a chance to return to Atlanta after their WEAK performance on Saturday night. Not to mention, that you have to wonder how many Gamecock fans were willing to make the same trek, to the same venue, same hotels, and everything else, less than a month later. I was quite surprised, but Chick-fil-a and Carolina·got what they deserved. A deal like that, had to be in place before the SEC Championship game even kicked off, otherwise I·believe that USC officials would not have been able to·find a Bowl representative after the game (because they left·in the 3rd Qtr). They made their bed, and now they can lay in it.

Your thoughts, did·State get screwed?

Personally, I'll take it. Jacksonville BOUND!!!

While we are on a subject that is somewhat related to the SEC Championship, let's discuss·one more item. In order to do so, you will have to put aside all the dislike, hate, and whatever other bias that you·might bring to the argument. And in order to even approach it, I too have to throw so much baggage aside that it almost still hinders my opinion. So, with that said, here's my question to you...

Is Cam Newton the best college football player·ever?

Like I said, remove that cloud that is hovering over his head, and will continue to do so...remove Cecil Newton, Kenny Rodgers, and $180,000, and just examine his body of work. I've witnessed a single player make a team better, but never before have I seen a single player transform an entire team. Newton has single handedly taken Auburn from a 3rd place SEC West team, to a National Championship caliber team. This is going to be a whole load of I've Nevers but here we go. I've never seen a QB that is tougher to bring down, that can extend a play longer, who runs more effectively, who throws more·accurate than most truepocket passers in college football, and who can produce a touchdown on any given play. The kid is simply, unstoppable. He has talent around him, but nothing like Tebow had around him at UF, and that is the deciding factor for me. Not to mention that UF's Defense during that time was stellar, while Auburn's has its' weaknesses. The fact is, whether it's making a read in the option game, checking down·to a secondary receiver, or pulling the·ball down and running, Cam seems to always make the right choice on the·field. But, it's the decisions off the field-of those closest to him and quite possibly his own, that will forever raise questions about his eligibility.

Your thoughts?gatorbowl·

Btw, did I mention that USC was terrible on Saturday night?

Mullen Speaks
Before last week, MSU had no interest at all in the University of Miami. But during last week, State fans could not wait for the Canes to hire Randy Shannon's replacement. That has yet to happen, but it appears that Dan Mullen can be removed from the U's short list. Mullen was questioned on Sunday night about MSU's Gator Bowl invitation, and whether or not he had entertained offers from Miami or others. Mullen had this to say: "The only administrator I’ve talked to at any university about coaching football is Scott Stricklin. Right now we’re working on what we hope can be a deal that will suit everybody and get our program going in the right direction-the direction it’s going right now for us-in the long term. There are a lot of great things I think we can get done here at Mississippi State that I want to accomplish here at Mississippi State. I plan on being the head coach here for a long time."

SEC·in Bowl Games

Ohio State vs Arkansas (Sugar) Cam2
Penn State vs UF (Outback)
South Carolina vs FSU (Chick-fil-a)
UNC vs UT (Music City)
LSU vs aTm (Cotton)
UGA vs UCF (Liberty)
Bama vs·Michigan State·(Capital One)
UK vs·Pitt·(Compass)
Auburn vs Oregon (BCS Title)···
Ole Miss...(crickets)...

I don't know how many of yall saw it last night, but the question was raised about where would MSU be right now, if Cam Newton was at State rather than Auburn. Reece Davis, without any hesitation at all, said "Playing Oregon in the BCS National Championship." Funny thing was, none of the other analysts doubted him. They continued to talk about MSU's Offense and Defense, and were very high on State's talent, toughness, and Head Coach Dan Mullen. You can tell that they like our Dawgs. 

Your·thoughts on the entire weekend, State's Bowl invite, Newton, Mullen, and whatever else?

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Written by Brett Holloway | 01 December 2010

camnewton2As of yesterday, the NCAA and SEC made it completely LEGAL to buy players by way of their parents. It's as simple as that. Let's look at all the 'language' that's being thrown around out there...

SEC bylaw

If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.

Problem:  [If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive...] So, what they are saying is that it's ok for  families to solicit money from a School, as long as they never shake on it or reach an actual agreement about the payments. Even though there was not an official agreement between State, Kenny Rodgers, and Cecil Newton, is the evidence not enough? There are phone text records revealing the payment plan that would be in place to purchase Newton's son, including a timeline and the size of each installment that would be paid. To be specific, "$80,000 when Cameron Newton signed, $50,000 30 days later and another $50,000 30 days after that." There were multiple phone calls and an apparent meeting at a hotel with Cecil Newton himself.

NCAA Spokesman Charles Bloom on the bylaw

"SEC Bylaw does not apply in this situation. It only applies when there is an actual payment of an improper benefit, or an agreement (such as a handshake agreement) to pay and receive an improper benefit. The facts in this case, as we understand them, are that the student-athlete’s father, without the knowledge of athlete, solicited improper payments (which were rejected) from an institution the young man did not attend, and that the institution where the young man is enrolled was not involved.”

Problem:  [The facts in this case, as we understand them, are that the student-athlete’s father, without the knowledge of athlete solicited improper payments...]  By now, I'm sure that the NCAA has investigated the phone conversation between Cameron Newton and the unidentified MSU Recruiter, in which Cam seemed remorseful about his FATHER'S decision for him to attend Auburn and not MSU, because the "money was too much." That conversation to me, is the KEY to this entire case. If that conversation actually took place and those words were spoken by Newton, this case is finished. Where's the details on that conversation? At least confirm or deny the details please?

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive

"The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics. The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC." 

Problem: [The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics.] What's so unacceptable about Cecil's conduct, if Cam Newton is still an eligible and legal player for Auburn? Why has Auburn chosen to lessen Cecil Newton's contact and involvement with the team? And last but not least, if this was any other SEC team, that was not headed to the SEC and Nat'l Championship, this case would not even be debatable. If you ask me, the fact that Slive said that "The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics", should by letter of the law, mean that Cam Newton should not legally have a place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics

I also agree with Pardon the Interruptions (ESPN) Michael Wilbon, that this is nothing more than  "agenda-based junk."  Wilbon went on to add that if TCU or another smaller conference school wasn't in the BCS' 3rd spot, that Auburn and Newton would be in hot water.

My Say:This is nothing more than the authorities looking the other way, committing crimes of OMISSION. The NCAA always seems to catch players, agents, and families long after they are gone. What's so sad about this case, is that the NCAA and SEC has the chance to protect two of the most prized awards in all of Sports, in the Heisman Trophy and the Nat'l Championship. Profit now, pay for it later, and preserve the BCS system that you receive money from. The sad thing is, I don't know who is dirtier, the Newtons or the NCAA and Mike Slive. A very poor precedent has now been set by both the NCAA and the SEC. 

Your thoughts?

Donald Trump wants the 'U' to hire Mike Leach. Link slive 

Oregon could slip up on Saturday, like so many teams before them. Link 

Stanford's Harbaugh says bring on Playoff, if BCS overlooks the Cardinal. Link

Fulmer to Vandy? Naw! Link

Btw, Jackie Sherrill mentioned that in his mind, Tommy Tuberville would be his #1 guy for the Miami job.

That's all today boys... no comments

Written by Brett Holloway | 30 November 2010

dan2One thing always accompanies the end of any regular season, and that's rumors. Since Monday, the University of Miami has made it clearly known that MSU's Dan Mullen and former NFL coach John Gruden are their 2 main targets, to replace the fired Randy Shannon.

Let me pause right there and say "Not gonna happen." I'm well aware that Miami's Football program is one of the top 20 of all-time in NCAA history. I know that the state of Florida is drenched with some of the best High School football that this fine country has to offer. I know that the 'U' has got a much bigger Athletic budget than what MSU could only dream about. And finally, I'm well aware that the Canes are famous for turning out NFL talent, and add every year to the meat market that pro scouts feast on. Ok, heck, I'll even go as far as to throw in the beach, sandals, and everything else Miami in itself has to offer. But, still I say "Not gonna happen."

Here's why I feel the way I do...

(1) SEC is King: Even on years when the SEC fails to win the Nat'l Title, it's still the best conference in College Football. The conference has claimed the Crown in 4 of the past 5 seasons. It has the highest attendance rates of any other conference, and dominates the NFL draft year in and year out. You play the best of the best every Saturday. The passion, tradition, and pageantry is unmatched. Because of that, why go elsewhere? Championships are without a doubt easier to achieve in another conference, but when you've coached among the best, anything else is a step down. Mullen is a coach who demands the best from his players and fanbase, so why would he require anything less than that from himself. Leaving the best in order to win among the mediocre, is not in the cards for Dan. And in his mind, it's probably unacceptable to even consider, and lie to the standard he holds himself and team to. Anyway, why go anywhere else, when you are already in the best conference in football, not to mention arguably the best division in college football. Many may see that as a self-defeating argument, and a good basis for a good coach to leave a strong conference. Some have already said that State will always trail Bama and LSU in tradition and success, but one can only look to the 2009 and 2010 as reality check. Mullen took a team that finished with just 3 wins in '08, to within inches of a Bowl bid in '09. In 2010, Mullen responded by leading the Dawgs to an 8-4 regular season record, and a .500 mark in conference play. Dan will have MSU in Atlanta within 5 years.

(2) Building a Program Builds Pride: Let me ask you this, is there anything more rewarding in life...anything that builds more pride...or anything more gratifying then seeing the fruits of your labor? There's nothing like seeing results, and knowing you had a hand in that product. Mullen has put butts in the seats, breaking the season attendance record in consecutive years. When the seats are full, and continually full, that changes everything. Not only is it a display of faithfulness on behalf of the fans, or just evidence that you are doing something right, but so much more. Attendance equals atmosphere, money for the program, better facilities, etc. What's amazing, is that since Mullen was hired, he has manufactured so much interest and excitement in the program, that he has yet to see Davis Wade Stadium empty. The Bulldog Club has more members now- than ever. He's taught the MSU program and fans what it feels like to win and compete-week in and week out. Mullen is pulling in the best recruits in the State, and currently has MSU ranked #23 in National recruiting. He's witnessed the hunger of 55-59,000 in the seats, and the demand that is on the horizon for expanding Davis Wade. I'm sure that Dan has seen the plans to do just just, and he can't help but realize just what he is building in Starkville. He is making what used to be 'future' plans, an immediate reality. (Don't fool yourself either, whether or not stadium expansion plans were apart of the university's master plan, it would have never happened if not for success on the football field). It's because of ALL this that I've mentioned, that Mullen won't leave in the next 3 years. Coaches are all about results, and being able to sit back and look at what they've built and accomplished. We are all capable of accomplishing amazing things in life, but rarely do we have the chance to effect the lives of 55-100,000 people on a given Saturday. Even though I would say that Mullen is more confident than arrogant, it can't help but feed his or anyone else's ego to an extent. Like I said, there's pride in building something. And in building something it's even harder to walk away. Dan Mullen is building at MSU, not just a winning program, but other elements that will be hard to walk away from one day.

In the midst of all this, MSU AD Scott Stricklin has already commented on the fact that the school is setting up Dan Mullen's contract to carry over through 2014. "We’re going to be smart and aggressive in this process. The normal protocol for something like this and the way we’ve done it in the past is to rip up the old contract and sign a brand new four-year deal.” Mullen currently brings in  $1.2 Million a year, and is set to receive plenty of incentives due to the Dawgs' upcoming Bowl appearance. As of Tuesday night, Mullen confirmed that he has NOT been contacted by anyone, even Miami. For more, here's a link to a conversation between Mullen and the CL's Rick Cleveland about staying in Starkville. Link

That's my take, your thoughts?

Chris White Wins Conerly Trophy
Just days after the Bulldogs won the Egg Bowl, and the reputation of the best team in Mississippi, Senior LB Chris White won the honor of the being named the best football player in the State. White has had a stellar Senior season, racking up 105 Tkls, 6 Sacks, 15.5 Tkls for Loss, 2 INTs, and 1 Fumble Recovery. After making a name for himself in his Junior season at MSU, White improved even more in 2010. White increased in Tackles (+30) and Sacks (+5.5). Congrats Chris, you will be hard to replace. Link 

Bumphis Out
As many of yall know, leading Bulldog WR Chad Bumphis, will miss the Bowl Game with a broken clavicle. I wanted to know your opinion, as to whether or not you think the injury hurts or helps the Bulldogs more? Out for the Bowl, but that's some major reps for a lot of our young WRs in practice and preparation.  Link

State Falls to FAU Owls
I guess we knew it was coming eventually, considering that Stansbury's squad is low on talent and experience and having already had some close calls. I can't wait til Sidney and Bost can play. For those of you who are new to the site, I cover basketball in-depth, but not til SEC play, or quality opponents show up on the schedule before conference play. Ravern Johnson finished with 18 pts, Kodi Augustus brought down 10 Rebs, and Riley Benock has 3 asst. Very bad shooting night for State, only nailing three 3-pointers. State missed 4 FT's in the final minute, and a last minute tip-in for the win. Typical. 



aTm accepts Cotton Bowl invite. Link

Boise's kicker is receiving death threats. Link

UT's Bruce Pearl zingsLane Kiffin. Link

Gamecocks make History. Link

CL reports that Chick-Fil-A Bowl isn't a done deal? Link

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Written by Brett Holloway | 29 November 2010

Excuse today's post. We are having some problems on the site. Feel free to post a comment though.Thanks no comments