josh robinson msstate

CFB Week 12: Jake’s Picks

We are down to the final three weeks of the regular season and things are serious.  We are in the fourth week of the college football playoff drama and things should only intensify.

It’s a huge week in the state of Mississippi and we will get to that shortly, but first let’s look at some other games that have huge implications as well.

Last Week: 5-0

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE AT MAROONANDWHITE NATION.COM

 Yearly Predictions: 37-20

 

No. 11 Nebraska at No. 22 Wisconsin

It’s a Big-10 showdown as Nebraska looks to stay on top of the Western Division and Wisconsin can create a log jam at the top.

In the grand scheme of things, if Nebraska wants to make a serious run in the college football playoff rankings, they have to win this game.  They are currently 16th in the rankings, but a win here puts them in position to play for the Big-10 championship which could propel them close to the top four.

Big Red 27 – Wis CANSIN 17

 

No. 9 Auburn at No. 16 Georgia

It’s the battle of Jekyll and Hyde between the Tiger of Auburn and the Dogs of Georgia.  Georgia has looked like world beaters one week and chumps the next.  Auburn was sitting comfortably in the college football playoff until they were dinged this past weekend against Texas A&M.

Georgia still has a chance to win the East if things go right, but must win Saturday.  Auburn can save face and still finish in the upper half of the West and head to a big bowl game.

Coin Flip:

Butt Fumble 31 – We Richting 30

 

No. 20 LSU at Arkansas

It’s the battle for the boot as LSU travels to Arkansas and this should be another throw back, knock-em down type of game.

LSU is coming off a heart breaking defeat to Alabama in overtime, while Arkansas had the week off.  The Hogs need two wins to become bowl eligible for the first time in eons.  Many feel Arkansas will ding someone in the west before it’s all said and done this year and Saturday could be the day.  Arkansas has played well in close losses to Alabama and Mississippi State and had Texas A&M on the ropes.

With this being at home, I give the edge to the Hog Mollys.

Wooooo We got one 20 – We need a quarterback deaux 14

 

No. 2 Florida State at Miami

Florida State has been living off that Auburn karma all season long, while they are undefeated; they have hardly looked the part of a defending national champion.  Close wins against the likes of Clemson, Notre Dame and Louisville has them looking like they are on borrowed time.

Don’t take my word for it though, as the college football playoff committee just docked them a spot from two to three in this week’s poll.

Miami is a very good team this year and would love nothing more than to ruin the Noles season.  Karma is running out in Tallahassee and could be on empty Saturday.

The U 34 – Pass the Crab Legs 31

 

No. 1 Mississippi State at No. 4 Alabama

I don’t think I have to tell you what this game means or get into the matchup to much as we have done this at nauseam all week here at MWN.   The goal is now simple.  Beat Bama and State can stay number-one in the country and lock up the west at home next week against Vanderbilt.

A loss isn’t the end of the world as the Bulldogs could still make the CFB Playoff by winning out.

But – this is truly State verses the world this weekend as very few pundits are picking the Bulldogs and other fan bases are wanting their teams to get into the CFB Playoff, so they will be pulling for Alabama as well.

It all comes down to quarterback play and turnovers for me in this game and I give the nod to Number-15 in Maroon.

I think State comes out and punches Alabama in the face and holds on late.   This is their moment, they have prepared for this game and time for a long while now.  This team is battle tested and now they can taste success and see the finish line.  Get those Champaign glasses out and get ready.  It’s coming Saturday.

We Them Boys 31 – We use to Be them Boys 21

Arkansas v LSU

Les Miles’ Last Big Win In Tiger Stadium?

As Bo Wallace’s last angry, desperate heave into the endzone fell into the arms of LSU safety Ronald Martin’s arms, LSU Coach Les Miles calmly looked skyward with a last acknowledgement to his mother Martha who passed away friday night just before the biggest game of the year so far in the SEC West.

This wild, instant classic 10-7 win, in front of the largest crowd in LSU history looks to be his commencement.  A nostalgic flashback of the way life was in college football before the spread offenses and no huddle teams and coaches entered the SEC.

Les Miles has notched 102 wins as the LSU head coach and only losing 26 games since 2005.  Early on, he was bolstered from the recruiting prowess of Nick Saban who left LSU in great shape for the next man and Miles kept LSU playing at the high level Saban had built in the program.

LSU was always a top program but they haven’t won a national championship in 45 years before Nick Saban came to town and won it all in 2003.  It’s always hard to be the man to follow “the man,” but Miles kept winning and won his own national title in 2007.

LSU vs. Ole Miss 11/17/12

It hasn’t been easy to satisfy a rabid fanbase like LSU’s but Miles has kept one step ahead of the firing squad.  He followed up his 2007 national title with a eight win season in 2008 but won nine the next year, 11 in 2010 and was back in the national title game in 2011.

The last two years he has had double digit wins but in 2014 he is sitting at 7-2 and 3-2 in the SEC and Alabama still looming on the schedule.  His only two losses, and they were big losses, were to the read option offenses of Mississippi State and Auburn.

The emotion displayed by his players on Saturday in response to his mothers passing allowed him one last reprive on his own programs demise which has been caused because of his recruiting prowess.

Les Miles has recruited too well.  So well in fact that the last two years he lost 18 juniors to the NFL draft, add to that 57 seniors that moved on and this team’s roster has been decimated.

The 2014 roster has 14 seniors total, they are starting a true freshman at running back, wide receiver and a sophomore at QB.  Granted they are all still very talented but this is a team game and the entire team of LSU is a shadow of what they once were.

In the two losses to MSU and Auburn, Miles’ Tigers looked lost and confused.  The defensive line was porus, giving up over 500 yards total offense in each game, and an average of over 300 of those were rushing yards in each game.

The writing is on the wall for Les Miles but never count “The Hat” out.  The coach known for making incredible ridiculous calls that go his way (for the most part) was the calm and calculated one saturday night.

Last friday night, Coach Miles was actually at the hospital with his son Ben who had broken his ankle during his high school game when he got the call that his mother Martha had passed away at the age of 91.

jennings lsu sportingnews

Faced with the mortal realities of life and death, it is easy to put football in its proper perspective, even when facing the no. 3 team in the nation and hosting ESPN’s College Gameday.

Miles was quoted, “I spent time today thinking about the way that I need to tell them that when they see me on the sideline, it has not to do with who’s passed and what’s going on,” Miles said. “It has only to do that I’m looking for every opportunity and advantage for us to win, and they need to see me as an aggressive man.”

A focused young LSU defense held Ole Miss to 313 yards and only 7 points, a team that normally averages nearly 450 yards and they cut the potent Ole Miss passing attack in half, only allowing 176 yards the one early score.

Tight end Logan Stokes added, “We played for him tonight. We absolutely played for him.  For a guy that cares about us like that — I mean, your mother just passed away. I know if my mother passed away, I know how I would be feeling, so I can only imagine how he feels. But for us to go out there and get that win for him tonight, there’s no greater feeling. Yeah, I scored the game-winning touchdown. That’s a great feeling. But the fact that we won for Coach Les Miles is unreal.”

The team won for Les Miles.  They played beyond their abilities and maturity, for one game, for their leader, in what may be the last major win for Les Miles as a dying breed of SEC coaches.

1chasing1962

Chasing 1962: Ole Miss Is In Search For New Glory Days

Ole Miss dismantled the Tennessee Volunteers in Oxford saturday night 34-3. (Game Recap) Tennessee is a team that had won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two teams, a team that won the first BCS national title, a team with a 100,000 seat stadium and one of the best funded programs in all of college football.

wallace treadwell

The winning team from Mississippi has a stadium that seats just over 60,000 and an operating budget approximately half as large as Tennessee.

This is not supposed to happen. You just can’t get enough quality players to Mississippi right? This state is already one of the smallest in the league and we have to share players with Mississippi State. Ole Miss and MSU will never be able to compete, right? It’s just the facts.

(Read this article at OleHottyToddy.com)

Well, as we have seen, what is likely is not always absolute. The 10% chance is happening. The improbable lightning strike has struck, twice actually.

Ole Miss has not been 7-0 since 1962 a year when they went undefeated for the year at 10-0, a year that has been much discussed for the athletic prowess on the field but also for their ability to overcome the distractions off the field (which may have been a bigger accomplishment).

(See UT/Ole Miss preview video from WBIR – Knoxville, TN)

The 2014 accomplishments for the Rebs are similar in more than just the record. The current team is strikingly similar to the glory days of the 60’s. Both teams were proficient at passing with a dominant defense. Both teams also led the SEC as Ole Miss was the only undefeated team in ’62 at 10-0, and the current team at 7-0 has a half-game lead as MSU had a bye this week.

Glynn Griffing was a co-captain quarterback on the ’62 team and was selected in 2012 as an SEC Legends class.

He was a first team All-American, All-SEC and was MVP of the Sugar Bowl as the Rebels beat Arkansas 17-13 and helped his team win a share of the national championship.

Statistically, Griffing had 882 total yards passing (4th in SEC) and 11 touchdowns (3rd in SEC).

Comparatively; Bo Wallace, after 7 games, has 1,899 passing yards (2nd in SEC) and 17 touchdowns (2nd in SEC).

1962 olemisssports

Louis Guy was the other co-captain and an All-SEC senior wingback in 1962 who lead the team in receptions from Glynn Griffing. He had 24 receptions in 1962 (4th in SEC) and 5 receiving touchdowns (1st in SEC).

The 2014 leading receiver is Laquon Treadwell with 34 receptions (5th in SEC) and 4 touchdowns (7th in SEC).

The 1962 defense, like the 2014 defense was one of the best in the nation as they gave up only 5.3 points per game, good enough for 3rd best in the SEC. After seven games the 2014 Ole Miss defense has allowed 10.6 points per game which is the best in the nation currently.

In an era where most players played on both offense and defense, running back Buck Randall would average over 4 yards a carry on offense then stay on the field as an outside linebacker to suffocate opposing teams.

The 1962 Ole Miss team finished ranked in several polls as the best team in the nation but the AP poll gave the top honor to Southern California who also finished 10-0 and gave the Rebels a number 3 ranking, the same ranking the 2014 team currently holds.

There is a lot of work left to do for Coach Hugh Freeze’s team and if they can finish the road left in front of them they would be the first team to win the new playoff format and they would have to win 15 games if they go undefeated, not just 10 or 11 as in 1962.

The first year of playoffs will give teams a chance to win a championship on the field rather than be subjected to voters opinions.

If the Rebels get through this year undefeated at 15-0 you could easily make a case that not only would they be the best team in 2014, but they could lay claim to the best single season ever played in the history of college football.

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Mississippi State: America’s team?

Last week, I mentioned to some friends of mine that we are quickly becoming America’s favorite college football team. I really believe that. Our story is real – it isn’t invented in the mind of some writer or TV producer. There aren’t any adoptions of five-star players or the famous names of football aristocracy adorning the backs of our kids’ jerseys. It is real-life kids who have worked their butts off to get where they are today. It is the ultimate Cinderella story of kids who were overlooked by the other colleges across the country.

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It’s about kids with winning attitude and ability to work hard to create their own version of the “American Dream” despite the fact that they were written off as “not quite good enough” by the big boys of college football. These are kids who have an agenda – who are playing with an enormous chip on their shoulder.

When Dan Mullen was hired at MSU he walked into what was undoubtedly the most challenging position in the SEC. He’s done an amazing job of getting us to where we are today simply because he came to Starkville with a plan and stuck to it. Some believed while others doubted, but all the while, Dan stayed the course. He talked about winning championships even while some of his own fans rolled their eyes in disbelief that anything so wonderful could ever happen for their beloved Bulldogs in Starkville. I mean, we just weren’t THAT lucky. To rival fanbases, his comments were comical and were fodder for jokes. Now, on the heels of a number one ranking in both the AP and Coaches polls, his Championship talk doesn’t seem the least bit laughable anymore.

He’s built this team from the ground up – from scratch. He’s done it with hard work, integrity, and dedication. He didn’t accept any less than the very best from his players both off and on the field. He has ingrained the idea that we are not just a team, but rather, a “family” into every fiber of our being.

He’s been selling all of this for a long time, and it’s finally clicked… his players, his administration, and every single fan has bought-in to Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State University, including the ones who had doubts from the beginning.

From day one Mullen’s staff hit the ground running. They hit up every small town in Mississippi in a quest for the talent that they knew was there. They understood that it wasn’t going to be easy, and they knew that they weren’t going to be able to go into the big schools and start getting commitments from the five star players in the short run. Instead, they adopted a different approach. They learned to look closer…to view players through a different set of lenses. Sure, they were looking for talent, but more importantly, they looked for character and work ethic. They looked for kids with a desire to win and with the willingness to do whatever it took to give their best in all aspects of their lives.

Simply put, our coaches learned to look for the intangible qualities that make people not just good football players, but exceptional individuals both on and off the field. They searched for overlooked in-state talent – “diamonds in the rough” and along the way, they picked up some of those kids in Louisiana and Alabama that had been overlooked by their own local Universities. Then, they redshirted those kids and built up the raw talent in their bodies, and they coached up their minds. In short, it worked and it is paying off big dividends in Starkville.

What this staff has done is nothing short of incredible. Mississippi State has eighteen starters that were rated from zero star to three star, according to scouting services. Let me rephrase that, “The best team in the nation has eighteen of twenty-two starters rated anywhere from zero to three star in high school.” Let that sink-in for a moment.

Everyone doubted Mullen for saying that he was going to build a program in Starkville that would consistently compete for Championships. Everyone told us that it was impossible to do in Starkville. Everyone laughed and jeered. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Mullen’s plan has worked. His plan was to build a program that would not only compete one out of every three or four years, but rather to sustain success.

We are set for years to come at MSU. Dan has not only built a program that will compete for Championships year in and year out; he has built a team that everyone in America can and does love.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State, and the fans who “believed” have gotten the last laugh…because the joke is on all those people who said it wasn’t possible.

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This is OUR State. This is OUR America. #HailState