Sideline View by Dale McKee
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Southeastern Conference football returns this Saturday. Mississippi State and their new taskmaster Mike Leach will travel to LSU to take on Coach O and the defending National Champions. Bulldog fans are excited under the head Pirate, who believes in the motto of “Swing Your Sword.” Stanford graduate transfer KJ Costello will most likely be the starting quarterback for the opener. Garrett Shrader, who started four games last season as a true freshman, has been moved to receiver. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Ole Miss will leave the train station with their new locomotive engineer Lane Kiffin. The Rebels have an 11 a.m. kickoff as they entertain the Florida Gators and former MSU head coach Dan Mullen. Matt Corral will probably start at quarterback, but expect to see a lot of John Rhys Plumlee all over the field.
Southern Mississippi lost a heartbreaker in the debut of Scotty Walden as head coach of the Golden Eagles. Louisiana Tech rallied from 17 points down to clip the home team, 31-30, with 14 seconds to play. Next up for USM is a meeting with Tulane in Hattiesburg Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
Reports circulated late last week from several Mississippi newspapers that NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders would be named head coach of Jackson State this week. The Tigers fired head coach John Hendrick last month. Sanders, who nicknamed himself “Prime Time,” has never been an assistant coach or head coach at the college or pro level. Sanders presently serves as his son Shedeur’s team at Trinity Christian in Cedar Hills, Texas, as the offensive coordinator.
The Big 10 changed course this week and said it planned to start football back on October 24. Each team will have an eight-game conference only schedule. The PAC 12 is meeting this week, and news is circulating that they will begin play on October 31.
My one question to all five-conference commissioners would be why didn’t the SEC, ACC, Big 12, PAC 12 and Big 10 all get together with one voice and get on the same page back in August? These latest two conferences changing course proves to me College Football has poor leadership from the top.
Former Ole Miss football stars Patrick Willis and Wesley Walls are on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot for the class of 2020. Two former Alcorn Braves in Steve McNair and Donald Driver will join them on the ballot along with Jackson State alum Jimmy Smith. Peyton Manning also made the ballot.
Former Southern Mississippi basketball legend Casey Fisher has been named the head basketball coach at Porter’s Chapel in Vicksburg. Fisher is the all-time assist leader and the eighth leading all-time scorer in Golden Eagle history. He was a standout guard on the 1987 USM NIT Championship team.
Former Ocean Springs baseball standout Garrett Crochet made his Major League debut last Friday night. He was the first round pick of the Chicago White Sox back in June. He last pitched in college at Tennessee back on March 7. The 6-6, 220-pound left-handed pitcher threw a perfect sixth inning as he fanned two batters and six of his 13 pitches were clocked at over 100 miles per hour. He is the first MLB player to bypass the minors since Mike Leake did in 2009. Petal’s DeMarcus Evans also made his MLB debut for the Texas Rangers as he worked one inning against the California Angels. The 6-5, 265-pounder, who was drafted in 2015, allowed one run, which was the 662ndhome run for future MLB Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
Congratulations to the 1970 Forest Bearcat football team on the reunion celebration of the Little Dixie Champions last Friday night.
Dale is a Waynesboro native who has written sports in Mississippi since 1973.
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