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Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi State’

P.S.R. 1-124: Week 3 Re-Ranking

With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, particularly with only two weeks in the books, so you may see one team ranked below a team it just beat — see Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas, for example. Don’t be alarmed. Everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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    Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

    Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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      No. 31: Mississippi State

      What last fall did was bring Mississippi State back down to Earth. Run roughshod over the SEC? Leap tall buildings, Nick Saban and L.S.U. in a single bound? Put together an offense that will leave this defense-based conference gasping for breath? It’s not that easy, with last season as our evidence — but don’t get off the bandwagon. Instead, adjust your thinking to recognize the battles that await any team hoping to reach bowl eligibility in the SEC, let alone one planning to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a three-year span. The road to a major bowl will always go through an Auburn, Arkansas, L.S.U. or Alabama; that’s life in the SEC West, where you’re either quick or you’re dead, and no one wants to be Mississippi. So where does that leave the Bulldogs heading into fall camp? Here’s where it should: firm in the knowledge that progression comes in all shapes and sizes; that sometimes, improvement is not necessarily manifested in the win column; and that last year’s team was not necessarily worse than the nine-win team that preceded it. All systems are still go. The bandwagon remains full. But it will never, ever be easy to navigate the rocky shores of the SEC West.

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        SEC Approves 6-1-1 Conference Schedule

        Following a brief, closed-door discussion at the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., SEC athletic directors approved a proposal for running the conference schedule along a 6-1-1 split: six games against divisional opponents, one game against a rotating opponent from the opposite division and one game against a permanent cross-divisional rival.

        The plan will take effect in this coming season, helping the league accommodate the arrival of Missouri and Texas A&M. For the league, unpalatable alternatives included a 5-2-1 split — which would have caused each team to miss one divisional opponent, creating the opportunity for a multiple-team tie — or moving to a nine-game conference schedule; the latter option would have maintained the SEC’s prior practice of having each team play two opponents from the opposite division.

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          No. 93: Mississippi

          The healing can begin. But first, major surgery. Scalpel: excise the nasty taste of a program record for futility in SEC play — 14 straight losses and counting. Suction: rebuild the roster, beginning with those gone, those who returned and those willing to do what it takes to return Mississippi to competitiveness in an SEC West that’s nothing if not unkind to those unable to maintain a heavy foot on the gas pedal. Calipers: gauge not only where you stand today but where you want to be tomorrow, when the Rebels stand a better chance of reclaiming a permanent spot in postseason play. Suture: but not until the wound has been cleared of any potentially infectious debris. Rehabilitation: hit the weights, work late into the night, study your film, send out scholarship offers to any quick, strong, agile and hostile recruit with two arms and two legs. Ready? Send the Rebels up to the Operating Room. Dr. Hugh Freeze will do the honors.

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            The SEC Wins Again; the SEC Always Wins

            College football’s version of Catch-22 goes as follows: The SEC wins national championships because the best recruits opt to play in the SEC; the best recruits opt to play in the SEC because not only do they win – earning national attention in the process – but they also play against the best; by playing and succeeding against the best, these players go high in every spring’s N.F.L. draft; and because players from the conference are taken high in every spring’s N.F.L. draft, the best recruits opt to play in the SEC. This will end when another conference offers to prospective recruits just what the SEC can offer, and not just over one season, but over the span of several years.

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              Arkansas Is Still Dangerous to Most of SEC

              They won’t show it, but the rest of the SEC can’t help but be relieved by the prospect of Arkansas failing to reach its lofty expectations in 2012. Ten days ago, the Razorbacks were considered a national title favorite for a reason: the offense was the league’s best, the defense in line for a nice improvement under new coordinator Paul Haynes and, in Bobby Petrino, the program had one of only a handful of coaches in college football capable of striking absolute fear into the competition — outside of Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge, at least. The Razorbacks’ talent level hasn’t changed, but it’s hard to imagine this team making a B.C.S. run without the program’s prime architect in tow.

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                The Countdown: 2011 List

                Hey, what’s this? You know the drill: I shudder at the thought of not having all of last season’s Countdown saved for posterity — all that work down the drain and so forth, but also because man can only learn from his mistakes, and as last summer’s work eventually illustrated, I’ve made a few. So consider this post both a place-saver for the 2011 Countdown and a refresher of how mistakes have been made and will most assuredly be made again. From here, I’ll link to this page at the bottom of the growing list of previews soon to accumulate along the right sidebar. How soon? Very, very soon. More on that later today.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.