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New Football Uniforms For Mississippi State… Again

Mississippi State is quickly becoming the SEC’s answer to Oregon.  No, the Bulldogs aren’t quite to the Ducks’ level of garishness yet, but they do churn out new uniforms at an alarming rate.

In the past few seasons they have added silver to their uniforms, donned black jerseys, tested the all-white Stormtrooper look and added gold to their Egg Bowl unis.  They’ve worn a variety of helmets as well.  All that’s missing at this point is a pillbox hat.

 

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Well, today State is expected to unveil a new overall uniform design for the 2014 season.  One reporter/leaker looks to have already let the cat out of the bag via Twitter.  Here’s the photo that’s been popping up all over the web in recent days:

 

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That uni looks positively old school (which means it gets our immediate stamp of approval).  The only question we have?  Has MSU already gotten NCAA approval to use the words “Hail State” on the front of its jerseys?  We ask because last month the NCAA ruled that new adidas uniforms for Baylor’s basketball team could not be used with the words “Sic ‘Em Bears” on the front.  Only the name of the school or its mascot are allowed on the front of basketball jerseys.  If the same holds true for football, adidas could be outta luck again.

So, surely the “Hail State” has been approved by the NCAA.  Surely.

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MSU Teases Fans With Clip Of New Uniform

A week ago, Tennessee and Adidas rolled out a new “smokey” gray uniform after first posting a teaser trailer on the web.  Mississippi State and Adidas are now doing the same, right down to titling the clip by the release date: “8.22.13.”

 

Mississippi State Football 8.22.13

 

This isn’t the first time the Bulldogs have gone down the new uni road.  They’ve worn all black and all-white with silver.  They’ve added gold trim and numbers for the Egg Bowl game.  The next step in becoming the Oregon of the SEC?  We’ll all find out tomorrow.

 

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MSU’s Mullen Upbeat; Will He Get A Tough Question?

MSU MEDIA DAYSThe disappointing end to Mississippi State’s 2012 season — the Bulldogs lost five of their last six games — has created a greater “sense of urgency” among MSU’s players, according to Dan Mullen.  That was the coach’s answer to the first question hurled at him during his main session today.  The question dealt not with State’s last six games, but just the last couple.  It was pointed out that Mullen’s teams had previously won the Egg Bowl and done well in their bowls.  Last year that didn’t happen and that prompted the question.  But the bigger five-of-the-last-six thing was not mentioned.

We’ll see if anyone is willing to throw a tough one to Mullen.

For example, State’s coach has had no problem throwing some jabs in the direction of Ole Miss over the years.  It would be interesting to see if anyone asks him about UM’s strong finish and the momentum the Rebels seem to be gathering.

At this point, Mullen seems to be very upbeat and positive.  Would his mood change if he had to answer an Ole Miss query?

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Egg Bowl Moving Back To Thanksgiving Night In 2013

EggBowl1Turkey and eggs.  In Mississippi, nothing goes better together.

ESPN has announced that the Egg Bowl game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State this fall will be moving back to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003.  From 1998 through ’03, the rivalry game was a regular part of ESPN’s Turkey Day schedule.

This year’s game will be played at 7:30pm ET on November 28th.  It’s the 110th meeting between the two squads.

MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for our state’s largest football game to be played on the largest stage of a crowded football weekend.  Some of the most memorable games in Egg Bowl history have come on Thanksgiving night, and hopefully more great memories can be made for Bulldog fans on this holiday evening.”

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze shared his feelings as well: “I think it’s great for this storied rivalry to return to Thanksgiving Day.  There were so many memorable moments from our meeting on that holiday in the past, and I hope to see a big Rebel turnout in Starkville this year.”

Mississippi upset State in last year’s game 41-24 to snap a three-year Bulldog win streak in the series.

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Freeze Warns Against Cockiness At Ole Miss

gfx - they said itOle Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze was last year’s surprising star of the year in the SEC.  He entered the league with little fanfare and took over a program stuck at the bottom of its division.  But like Vanderbilt’s James Franklin in 2011, Freeze served notice in 2012 that a less-heralded hire can take care of business, too.

Last season the Rebels finished the regular season 6-6, won back the Egg Bowl trophy from Mississippi State, went bowling and beat Pitt to finish 7-5.  And then Freeze and staff went out and landed a top 10 signing class last month.

Expectations for 2013 are growing in Oxford.  But Freeze wants to make sure the heads of his players don’t swell too much thanks to one surprising season:

 

“I’ll be the first to warn that the little success we’ve had can also be an enemy.  You can start thinking that you don’t have to go as hard on certain plays.  We have to be on our guard against that also.  we’ve got to have the same hunger that we had when we wanted to quit being known as the team that was the automatic win on your schedule for a couple of years.  We’ll guard against that.”

 

The Rebels will open the season at Vanderbilt on ESPN on a Thursday night.  Four of UM’s first five games will be on the road (at VU, home against Southeast Missouri, then road trips to Texas, Alabama, and Auburn with an open date thrown in).  With that kind of start, the last thing Ole Miss needs is for its players to come down with a case of the big head.

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UM’s Freeze Gets A Raise

Personally, I’m not a big believer in handing out raises and extensions after a coach’s first season on the job.  Oh, if you have to fend off other schools, I see the logic in fighting to keep your guy.  But one year could be just that… one year.  Who’s to say Coach X is going to ever have a season like his first?  And if he doesn’t and his school has given him a raise, then the ol’ buyout’s probably going to be larger than it should be.

In this instance, Coach X is Hugh Freeze and the school is Mississippi.  He’s getting a half-million dollar pay raise and will make $2 million next year.  His deal was also extended to last the state-maximum of four years once again.  Ole Miss is also going to increase Freeze’s cash for assistant coaches by 10% and it’s renovating its indoor practice facility.

The list of SEC coaches who had a better season than Freeze — relative to their rosters — is awfully short.  The Rebels were expected to be the worst team in the West Division and maybe the worst in the league.

Instead, UM finished 6-6 overall, 3-5 in conference play, whipped Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl (snapping a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs), and are going bowling against Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.  Freeze’s up-tempo offense also finished fifth best in the SEC.

There’s reason for optimism in Oxford and Freeze is that reason.  And in this day and age — and with Jimmy Sexton as his agent — it’s no surprise that Ole Miss gave it’s coach a raise and extension.  But his first year isn’t even over yet and he could still finish with a losing record.

I believe it might have been smarter business to just guarantee the coach $500,000 in further improvements to his program’s facilities.  That would reward the coach with a bonus — though not a cash one for his wallet — and yet the upgrade would be an investment in the overall Ole Miss football program.  If Freeze were to have another good year in his second season, then give him a nice raise and extension.

But as it stands, if Freeze stumbles and it turns out that his first season remains his best season, Ole Miss will likely have thrown extra cash down the drain rather than into its program.

This is no knock on Freeze, mind you, or on the Rebels’ willingness to support their coach.  I’ve praised Freeze’s work all year.  He and Johnny Manziel were the biggest surprises in the SEC this year.  But handing him a raise and extension after a single season?  UM had better hope he’s not the next Derek Dooley or Joker Phillips, two coaches whose best seasons were their first, who never returned to a bowl after their first season, and who were fired after their third seasons.

Yep, that’s why I’m against the one-year-on-the-job raise/extension.

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SEC Headlines – 11/19/12

A day of quickie headlines for you…

 

1.  The SEC announced its Players of the Week for football…

2.  And for basketball.

3.  Alabama and Colorado State have inked a deal to play a pair of football games.  (Rams coach Jim McElwain was the Tide’s O-coordinator until this season.)

4.  Auburn is prepping for a tall task in this year’s Iron Bowl.

5.  Arkansas’ John L. Smith: “We’re playing for the seniors.”  (Yeah, that always works.)

6.  LSU may be giving up yards, but takeaways are making up for it.

7.  It’s simple math for Ole Miss: Win the Egg Bowl = go bowling.

8.  MSU will be looking for its fourth straight Egg Bowl win under Dan Mullen.

9.  Will Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel win the Heisman as a freshman?  Or lose it to a defensive player?

10.  Will Muschamp says it looks like Florida QB Jeff Driskell will play against Florida State.

11.  Georgia’s Mark Richt is worried about Georgia Tech, not national title talk.

12.  Reports of Kentucky offering Cincinnati’s Butch Jones its job were quickly gunned down by UK.

13.  David Cutcliffe says he won’t leave Duke.  (Tennessee wasn’t going to pursue him and despite early Kentucky rumors the Cats weren’t going to, either.)

14.  Miami has self-imposed another bowl ban.  (Think Al Golden would listen to an SEC right about now?)

15. Tennessee’s players took the firing of Derek Dooley in stride.  “It’s just another coach.”

16.  Vol interim coach Jim Chaney is focused on Kentucky.  (Some Missouri fans would like to see Gary Pinkel hire the Show-Me State native.)

17.  As South Carolina preps for Clemson, foot injuries to Connor Shaw and Jadeveon Clowney are concerns.

18.  Vanderbilt’s James Franklin is becoming a coach-killer in the SEC.

19.  Missouri’s first SEC season has fizzled as the Tigers prep for fellow newcomers Texas A&M.

20.  Uh, wouldya believe money is behind the Big Ten’s latest expansion?

21.  One big conference AD: “Everyone’s going to start looking over their shoulder again.”

22.  How ’bout some bowl projections?

23.  Auburn’s hoops team lost to Dayton yesterday.

24.  Point guard BJ Young looked good in Arkansas’ blowout win yesterday.

25.  Mississippi State will face North Carolina in Maui today… with six scholarship players available.

26.  Mark Fox’s Georgia team will face top-ranked Indiana tonight.

27.  A thankful, remorseful Scottie Wilbekin is back with Florida’s hoops squad.

28.  Ex-UK player and current Morehead State coach Sean Woods wonders if UK’s current players appreciate what it means to play for Kentucky.

29.  South Carolina faces Rider tonight.  (C.C. Rider?)

30.  Tennessee got back in the win column against UMass yesterday.

BONUS… We tweeted this one out over the weekend, but this clip is vintage Les Miles.

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WOW Headlines – 11/13/12

Arkansas interim coach John L. Smith is still “knocking on wood” that he’ll be retained as UA’s full-time coach
LSU’s Les Miles says a one-loss SEC champion deserves to be in the BCS Championship Game
The family of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is planning to trademark the nickname “Johnny Football”
With another injury, Ole Miss is now to 59 scholarship players… the NCAA maximum is 85
Forty different players have started at least one game for Auburn this season
Dan Mullen on a 7:00pm ET start to this year’s Egg Bowl with Ole Miss: “I’ll play them at 9 o’clock in the morning in the parking lot.”
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he wouldn’t speculate on job openings when asked about Arkansas’ job
Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville on coaching rumors tying him to Arkansas and Tennessee: “I’m tired of moving (my family) around.”
Georgia’s basketball team scored just 14 second-half points in an upset loss to Youngstown State
Tennessee guard Trae Golden says the basketball Vols “feel much more confident” this season
Follow the Southeastern Conference at MrSEC.com or with a MrSEC.com iPhone/Android/iPad app!

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MSU Goes Boise State With Huge Bulldog Heads On New Alternate Helmet

Today, Mississippi State University and adidas — why don’t they capitalize their name? — unveiled two sets of special football uniforms to be worn later this year.

On November 3rd, State will don all white uniforms at home against Texas A&M to commemorate the two schools’ 2000 “Snow Bowl” Independence Bowl battle.  For those who like the helmet Boise State sometimes wears featuring a giant Bronco logo on one side, you’re in luck ’cause the Dogs are doubling the fun.  The white helmet — shown at left — will feature a big silver Bulldog head on each side of the lid and MSU’s standard maroon M-State logo will be centered on the back as well.

Then, the Dogs will go from silver to gold on November 24th when they visit Oxford for this year’s Egg Bowl game.  As was the case last season, State’s unis will feature gold numerals as they battle for the Golden Egg trophy.

So why has Mississippi State recently jumped on the multiple-uniforms bandwagon?  Dan Mullen knows:

 

“They’re 18-, 19-year-old kids, you know.  They look at what’s cool and they want to play in cool uniforms.  And I think, you know, recruiting… I think recruits will think it’s really cool.  That’s what kids want to do, they want to come play for a cool team.”

 

Cool.

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More New Uniforms For MSU Football

Since Dan Mullen’s arrival at Mississippi State in 2009, the Bulldogs have been more than willing to shake things up on the uniform front.  First, they re-did their whole scheme top to bottom with new logos and secondary marks added to the brand.  Then came black jerseys (of course).  Matte-finish helmets were added last year.  And for the Egg Bowl, MSU donned maroon jerseys with gold numbers.

Get ready for more change.  According to AD Scott Stricklin’s weekly column on MSU’s website which was posted yesterday:  “Also this summer, we will be unveiling new 2012 Mississippi State football uniforms.  We will announce the time and place in upcoming weeks.”

It sounds like you can expect more changes in the future, too.  Mullen made it clear to Brandon Marcello of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger this week that he’s got no problem trying to create a buzz factor through fashion:

 

“We have a great marketing department, so who knows what we’ll come up with.  We’ll always come up with one shocking uniform every year, I’m sure.”

 

At this point, isn’t everybody?

 


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