There was plenty of sports action in the news this past week. The big news in Mississippi was the crowing of six MHSAA state football champions in Oxford. Also in Oxford, the NCAA closed its five-year probe into Ole Miss football. The Rebels will lose scholarships and will be banned from playing in a bowl in 2018. Ole Miss officials say they will appeal the bowl ban. The penalties were significant but could have been worse.
The big news nationally in college sports was the four playoff teams being named for the national championship playoff. Defending champion Clemson was the No. 1 team and will play No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. No. 2 Oklahoma will battle No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Both semifinals game will be played on January 1 while the winners will meet in the championship game on Jan. 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta. The biggest question heading into Sunday’s selection was whether the CFP committee would pick Alabama (11-1) or Big Ten Champion Ohio State (11-2) as the fourth team.
Georgia last played in the Rose Bowl in 1942 when they blanked UCLA, 9-0. The Bulldogs have played football since 1892 and have never played Oklahoma, who has been playing football since 1895.
Mississippi State will play Louisville and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville on December 30.
USM (8-4) will play Florida State (6-6) in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport on December 27. It will be the Seminoles' first appearance in the Independence Bowl. FSU is also headed to an NCAA record 36th straight bowl, breaking the previous record of 35 held by Nebraska from 1969-2003.
The feel good story in the bowl season will be New Mexico State (6-6) as they will go bowling for the first time since 1960. They will collide with Utah State (6-6), ironically the team that they played in the 1960 Sun Bowl.
Former Ole Miss quarterback Devante Kincade threw for two scores and passed for two more as Grambling won their second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship over Alcorn, 40-32, in the last SWAC championship game.
The Mississippi vs. Alabama All-Star game will be played on Saturday, December 16, at noon at USM's M.M. Roberts Stadium. This is just the second time that the game will be played on Mississippi soil. Alabama leads the series 22-8 while the last Mississippi win came in 2015 in Hattiesburg. This Saturday at 11:30 a.m., the 69th annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic will take place in Gulfport.
Odds & Ends
The Saints are leading the NFC South at 9-3 over Carolina (8-4) and Atlanta (7-5).
The Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders are all tied for first in the AFC West at 6-6.
A coaching decision has ended Eli Manning’s streak of 210 starts.
Nebraska had their most losses (8) since 1957.
SEC Football Media Days is moving this July 16-19 to Atlanta.
MSU Bulldog basketball is off to their best start in 14 years at 7-0.
State is only one of four schools in the nation that have unbeaten men's and women’s basketball teams.
East Mississippi won the national championship with a 31-28 win over Arizona Western.
State Championship Notes
Jefferson Davis's first year of existence after consolidating Prentiss and Bassfield - win the 3-A title.
Taylorsville freshman quarterback Ty Keyes made an impression on every sportswriter with his poise and his athletic ability.
Taylorsville (2-A) won their sixth state title and first since 2002.
Pearl (6-A) went 15-0 and won their first ever state title.
West Point (5-A), who has won 28 straight games, captured their ninth state title. They were led by the 5-A player of the year Marcus Murphy.
Simmons (1-A) has won 40 consecutive games and three straight state titles.
Noxubee County won their third 4-A title in four years.