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Can The Bulldogs Build Off The Vanderbilt Win?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 14, 2008

In Saturday’s upset win over Vanderbilt, Tyson Lee continued to prove himself adept at managing the game, a QB who hasn’t existed at Mississippi State in seemingly forever. I’ll still maintain that the last good Bulldog quarterback was Sleepy Robinson.  But don’t worry, I’m not anointing Lee to any privileged status just yet. The kid has a way to go, but I like the progression.

Part of the Bulldogs success resulted from creative play calling in the early going. Some passes, some draws, but mostly runs…oh, and a little luck in Vandy being off sides on a blocked field goal. Sure the first drive of the game only resulted in three points, but an early score is exactly what the doctor prescribed. Another part of success involved Tyson Lee being a gritty S.O.B. (all due respects to his mother….the semantics is a compliment in this case) and using his feet to make key plays.

Mississippi State was not without their mistakes. Punter Blake McAdams looked far from a Ray Guy candidate. Penalties continued to be part of the story: a face-mask giving Vandy 1st and goal at the one, a bad offsides on Kyle Love, a running your mouth way after the play is over on Co-Eric Riley. J.C. Brignone didn’t return confidence in him either with a bad snap on a big 3rd down at the end of the third quarter.

Ultimately, the Bulldogs prevailed. The game changing play coming as an early 4th quarter interception by De’Mon Glanton, and Croom deciding to punch the ball in with field position at the Vanderbilt seven. I’m sure Bulldog “faithful” would have booed if Christian Ducre didn’t score a TD on 3rd and goal from the three yard line. But who cares what the fans think (or would have thought)? Sylvester Croom especially should not, and that’s why he chose to run and not pass.

To my question, can the Bulldogs build off the Vandy win? I think so. This team is coming together, mostly speaking about offense and the ability of the coaches to call the right plays. They are getting used to their confirmed starting quarterback and Tyson Lee is gaining the trust of his teammates. Mississippi State still must, I repeat, must learn how to limit self inflicted mistakes. Tennessee is a vulnerable opponent. If the Bulldogs play their cards right, a shot at season redemption is in sight.

Suggested Links:

This is cool….Mississippi State will play Jackson State in football in 2009. Regional rivals playing each other is what college sports should be all about (well, part of it). Now when will a Memphis-Mississippi State match-up in basketball or football, be a reality.

Brad Locke has some good post-game quotes at Inside Mississippi State Sports.

Sylvester Croom deservedly gets a helmet sticker from ESPN.com’s Chris Low.

Posted in bulldog football, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, sec football, SEC Sports, vanderbilt commodores | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are The Bulldogs Primed For An Upset of Vandy?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 10, 2008

It seems to happen every year. A college football team makes an unexpected run….sometimes it’s a school from a BCS conference, sometimes it’s a Hawaii or a Boise State. More often than not, in the early going of the season, there is more than one undefeated hopeful. The year, the 13th ranked (AP) Vanderbilt Commodores are one of those hopefuls.

Vandy has beaten ranked South Carolina and Auburn teams en route to their current 5-0 record. Their road ahead won’t be easy: at Georgia next week, along with match-ups against Florida, Tennessee and at Wake Forest in the future. Now, I’m pretty sure the Commodores aren’t looking past the Mississippi State Bulldogs. When you’ve never been in this position before, you cherish every game, knowing you can’t afford to misjudge an opponent.

To this week’s game between Mississippi State and Vanderbilt…..how about some predictions:

My Prediction: The Bulldogs are rested, tired of losing, and desire to ruin it for an unheralded team. Vandy gets brought back to earth, 31-28 Mississippi State (I know, high scoring for two lumbering offenses).

—————-

In other links:

Sylvester Croom is making a move in hopes of making Vandy not do one of those “little things” – which is limiting turnovers.

Tyson Lee is starting, but will be facing the “real deal.”

Maybe it’s the coaching….ESPN.com’s Chris Low does not rank any of the Mississippi State position coaches or coordinators among the best in conference.

Posted in bulldog football, mississippi state bulldogs, sec football, SEC Sports, vanderbilt commodores | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Awesomeness of the ESPN-SEC Deal

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 26, 2008

Living on the East Coast, my thirst for SEC sports has been left unquenched for years. Unfortunately, I’ve been surrounded by the ACC, Big East, and other coverage of the Big 10 (11), and even Pac-10. Sure there have been options such as the ESPN Game Plan. However, jumping through hoops and having to pay money for easy access to the best conference in college sports seems a tad unjust.

In steps in the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. Sure, the WWL has a monopolization on sports media coverage and uses that to push their own biased agenda. But there’s no getting around it, they are the best. ESPN gets the top talent, is a leader in media technology, and provides viewers with the essentials of sports analysis.

You can read the full press release from secsports.com, but here are some highlights:

Basketball

  • ESPN and ESPN2 will TRIPLE their coverage. So, not just Super Tuesday, but also Thursday and Saturday games.
  • More prominence for the SEC/Big East Challenge. (Remember how lame it was last year with only four games?)
  • More coverage on ESPNU, ESPN360.com, ESPN Classic (vintage SEC games and instant classics!), and ABC, among the other ESPN outlets.
  • SEC Tournament semifinals and finals nationally televised on ESPN/ABC.

Football

  • ESPN will have the rights to every SEC home game.
  • ESPN and ESPN2 will televise a minimum of 20 games during the season.
  • Supplemental coverage on ESPNU, ESPN Classic, etc.

Other

  • All SEC championship games except football will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.
  • ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships).

Overall, I could not be more excited. The 15-year, $2.25 billion deal will be quite the economic boon for each member organization. Facilities will improve and recruiting against other conferences will get better, which will lead to trickle-down upgrades for academics.

The Sports Business Journal reports that the current $5.3 million doled out to each of the 12 SEC member schools from television rights could increase over 283% to $15 million per year. Just imagine what this would mean for a school such as Mississippi State, which currently operates with a $32 million athletic budget, the lowest in the conference.

So pop the cork on the champagne, it’s time for a celebration….the Southeastern Conference is coming to ESPN.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, espn, florida gators, georgia bulldogs, kentucky wildcats, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa football, sec basketball, sec football, SEC Sports, south carolina gamecocks, southeastern conference, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldog Football On CBS?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 18, 2008

Somehow CBS has accidentally leaked their SEC football broadcast schedule for this upcoming season….not sure why it must be a “leak” or an “accident” – CBS typically doesn’t announce the games they will televise until around 10 days before the match-up.

Nonetheless, Saturdays in the South seems to have stumbled onto something, and Deadspin is trying to confirm.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs only appear once on this supposedly tentative schedule….it’s the November 22nd date with Arkansas in Starkville. The caveat is that Ole Miss @ LSU and Tennessee @ Vanderbilt also appear as televised possibilities on the same date.

Right now, the Bulldogs only have three televised games on the schedule: the August 30 opener at Louisiana Tech (ESPN2) , the September 13 matchup versus Auburn in Starkville (ESPN2), and the November 28 finale against Ole Miss in Oxford (Raycom).

Let’s hope that Miss. State remains relevant up until that second to last game versus Arkansas. It’d be nice for Coach Croom and his Bulldogs to be broadcast into the living rooms of fans and potential recruits alike.

Posted in arkansas razorbacks, auburn tigers, louisiana tech, lsu tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa football, ole miss rebels, sec football, starkville, sylvester croom, tennessee volunteers, vanderbilt commodores | Leave a Comment »

Why The Mavericks May Be Charles Rhodes’ Best Shot

Posted by Kyle Weidie on June 30, 2008

Rhodes will try his ten-gallon hat in Big D

It’s been reported in the Dallas Morning News that Charles Rhodes will join the Dallas Mavericks summer league team in Las Vegas. Bulldog Killer….Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster, taken 51st overall in the draft, will be among others vying for a spot.

Why a potential good fit for Rhodes.

Assuming that Eddie Jones does not opt-out of the final year of his contract, he must do so by Tuesday, the Mavs are left with only seven players signed for next season. Just two of those players are big men in former Bulldog, Erick Dampier, and Hasselhoff fan, Dirk Nowitzki. It looks like the Mavericks will attempt to use their full MLE (mid-level exception) on DeSagana Diop (whom Dallas traded to New Jersey to get Jason Kidd). Diop would serve as a two headed monster along with Big Damp at the five spot.

The Mavs will still need a post player with scoring ability as Diop and Dampier are often estranged from the hoop. Rhodes has the capability to provide buckets in a variety of ways, given he doesn’t force the issue and learns to distribute as a team player. Rhodes’ biggest competition among other post players in Vegas will be Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Pape Sow, and Marcus Slaughter.

New Dallas coach, Rick Carlisle, is known to be demanding of players. But his appreciation of offense and defense should allow Rhodes to show his diverse skills, as long as he works his butt off.

Ideal Big Man Camp?

The Clarion-Ledger had a feature on Jarvis Varnado in Sunday’s edition. Varnado recently participated in one of Nike’s invitation only Skills Academies. Steve Nash has a point guard camp, Kobe Bryant has a shooting guard camp, Vince Carter has a wing forward camp, and Amare Stoudamire has a big man camp.

These Nike camps serve as a pseudo grassroots campaign initiated to instill fundamentals back in USA basketball. Varnado was one of around a dozen or so players at his position invited to participate in Stoudamire’s exclusive camp. The college participants in turn acted as instructors to top high school prospects, also invited to improve skills for their respective position.

MSU coach Rick Stansbury should be ecstatic about Varnado’s participation. He had an excellent chance to go against elite college bigs such as UConn senior Jeff Adrien, Pitt sophomore DeJuan Blair, Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody, and Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin. Amare Stoudamire is a great talent. But between you and me, I’d rather hear that the camp be led by the likes of Bill Russell, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, or Tim Duncan….much better examples to headline where the American big man game should be going.

Free Throw Conditioning

Every time clips of last second March Madness heroics are shown, should missed free-throws be responsible for setting the scene, they should be prerequisite viewing along with the buzzer beater. The importance of FT shooting needs to be further indoctrinated somehow.

Case in point: I was flipping around the tube on Saturday afternoon and came across the last two minutes of the 1998 tourney match-up between Ole Miss and Valparaiso…you know, the Bryce Drew game. With 4.1 seconds left and Ole Miss up 69-67, Ansu Sesay had a chance to ice the match at the charity stripe. Clang. Timeout. Clang. Rebound tipped out of bounds by Ole Miss with 2.5 seconds left and the distance of the court to go. The rest is history.

The latest and greatest example for the Mississippi State Bulldogs? Try the three-point buzzer beater West Virginia hit to win the March 2007 NIT semifinal game in Madison Square Garden. Live Angle. Game Highlights. And then the video showing Jamont Gordon missing the second of two FTs which would have put the Bulldogs up three, 63-60.

Posted in charles rhodes, jamont gordon, jarvis varnado, mississippi state bulldogs, nba draft, ole miss rebels, rick stansbury, sec basketball, vanderbilt commodores | 2 Comments »

The Case of Bully’s Missing Free Throws

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 6, 2008

Most accounts of last night’s game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Vanderbilt Commodores will begin and end with the name Shan Foster. Words like “special”, “classic”, “memorable”, “all-time” and “amazing” will be thrown around, and justifiably so……if you’re looking at the game from the perspective of a Vanderbilt fan.

The faithful in Nashville will simply remember how a senior on ‘Senior Night’ willed his team to a win. Shan Foster, of Kenner, Louisiana (who actually took a visit to Starkville), threw in a career high 42 points, making his last nine 3-point attempts (after missing his first six), including one with 2.7 seconds left in overtime to put an 86-85 Vanderbilt win in the books. If you are brave enough to want to look at the box score, you can find it here.

Now, I did not watch the game….didn’t even hear it over radio (or web), save for the last 30 seconds of OT — my dad called me and I listened to his XM Radio via my cell phone (most of my night had been spent watching my Washington Wizards get creamed by the Orlando Magic and following the State game on Stat-Tracker).

After hearing the Nashville crowd roar, my dad came back on the phone, “Incredible, huh?” I was speechless. Eventually, I managed to muster out, “Well, it’s par for the course. State makes half of their missed FTs (they missed 13, so let’s just say 6) and Foster’s effort is in vain. Unbelievable.” By many accounts, Foster was in what some call “the zone” as he hit those nine straight 3s in difficult situations with challenging defense. And some believe that the Bulldogs should have doubled Foster more, gotten the ball out of his hands, made someone else beat them. However, with an experienced senior such as Shan Foster and a good team such as Vanderbilt, this method is not always something to depend on.

In any case, I don’t care about Shan Foster. I don’t care about his three-pointers. I don’t care about what Mississippi State did or did not do in defending him. I don’t care about the legend behind the 2008 Senior Night for the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team. All I care about is that damn charity stripe where the Bulldogs shot 15-28 on the night.

You would assume that MSU Coach Rick Stansbury expressed his displeasure at the horrendous free-throw shooting in the next day media. He didn’t and we all know what happens when assumptions are made. Perhaps Rick has become so immune to his team’s traditional poor FT shooting that work at the line has become an after-thought for him; a given…part of each game with which his teams simply must deal. If the Bulldogs shoot well from the FT line in a game, well, then it’s a bonus.

Nonetheless, this quote from the head ‘Rick Rowdy’ left me in disbelief:

“There isn’t a whole lot to say except this: Foster beat us,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “You can’t say anything else about it. It wasn’t anything they did, absolutely nothing. He jumped up in stressful situations. He just jumped up and made shots. Give him credit. There is absolutely nothing I would have done differently. There is nothing we could have done. He made 30-footers with someone in his face.”
from the Sports Network

So while on this night, in this game, Shan Foster’s amazing effort, — and by all means, I am not taking away from his performance. All the aforementioned descriptive words apply….so much so that I almost wish I was there, but not really — his 42 points provide an easy out for Coach Stansbury to the media. I just hope the same “get out of jail” card was not issued to his players.

Will Bully, the lovable Mississippi State mascot, ever solve the mystery of the missing work from the charity stripe? Time will only tell as there is much work to be done on the 2007-2008 season and painful finishes can easily be forgotten. Keep those chins up and the CSI kits handy…..another baffling mystery could be just around the corner. Only in the future, the stakes will be higher.

UPDATE:
Vanderbilt fans are understandably upset that what is perhaps the best home-court performance by a Commodore, ever, was not on television.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, sec basketball, vanderbilt commodores | Leave a Comment »

What Does A Bulldog Win At Vandy Mean?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 5, 2008

  • First and foremost, the last time the Bulldogs were in Nashville, on Vanderbilt’s home court in 2006, they got shellacked by a score of 80-52. The game was attended by yours truly. So, although I won’t be in attendance this year, this 07-08 Bulldogs squad owes me a better effort.
  • Overall, Vandy owns Mississippi State on the hardwood (70-42 all-time) and especially in Nashville where the ‘Dores have trumped the ‘Dawgs 42 out of 50 times.
  • However, Mississippi State has bested Vanderbilt in 6 out of the last 8 meetings — but those two losses were ever so painful, including the aforementioned blowout and the head-smacking disappointing overtime defeat in the second round of the 2004 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Atlanta.
  • Right now, the Bulldogs are 11-3 in the SEC – not much can be done in terms of adding to the history books for Rick Stansbury. He is unable to surpass or tie his personal SEC best conference record of 14-2, achieved in 2003-2004. And upon gaining his 10th conference win this year, he tied Richard Williams for the second most years with double-digit conference wins at 3 (Babe McCarthy has 4).
  • If Mississippi State wins their last two games, at Vandy and LSU at home, while Tennessee losses their last two, at Florida and South Carolina at home, then the Bulldogs would take the SEC overall crown (as I’m pretty sure a tie would go to UT because of their head-to-head win). Nonetheless, it ain’t happening.
  • A win against Vanderbilt would no doubt increase the seeding projection of the Bulldogs, currently 7th on most sites including Lunardi’s Bracketology on ESPN, Burlison’s ‘Beating the Bracket’ on Fox Sports, and Parrish’s ‘Projecting the Seeds’ on CBS Sportsline.
  • Why? Because a Vandy win would give the Bulldogs their first against a top-25 RPI team (Vandy is currently 10th) and a 3rd against top-50 RPI teams (in addition to Ole Miss and Arkansas).
  • Hopefully, a win against Vandy would not lead to the Bulldogs looking past a revitalized Shady Brady-less LSU squad who have won their last 3 conference games going into tonight’s match-up against Alabama at home.
  • Finally, a win against Vandy would make me feel better about not being able to see or watch the game as it only seems to be available on XM Satellite radio, which I do not have. Good luck tonight Bulldogs….because another 4 point effort from Jamont Gordon is not going to cut it.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, sec basketball, vanderbilt commodores | Leave a Comment »