Sideline View by Dale McKee

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WOW! Mississippi State scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to stun Auburn, 5-4, Sunday night in the Bulldogs' opening game in the College World Series. It was their 28th comeback win of the season. MSU was scheduled to play Vanderbilt on Tuesday night in their second contest in Omaha.

In the past two weeks, we have discussed Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi football prospective wins based on their schedule. State under achieved last fall with their 8-5 overall record that included a bowl loss to Iowa. In Joe Moorhead's second year as the taskmaster, he will not have the same luxury he had last year of suiting up three defensive players that were 2019 NFL first round draft choices that helped lead the country’s best defense. Moorhead’s first MSU offense struggled against most SEC teams. In four of State's losses in 2018, they failed to score more than seven points. Moorhead reached out to Penn State graduate transfer quarterback Tommy Stevens to help. So maybe that addition will spark this year's offense.

The non-conference slate should bring four wins. The Bulldogs open in New Orleans against Louisiana-Lafayette and then follow with home games against Southern Mississippi and Kansas State. USM is the best of the four non-conference opponents. The Wildcats are predicted to do no better than ninth in the Big 12 race. The final non-conference game against Abilene Christian in late November should give MSU four wins. The eight conference games are quite difficult to dissect. The home SEC schedule will make the athletic department lots of money as Kentucky, LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss will travel to Starkville. If the Bullies go 2-2 at Scott Field in those home games, they have their six wins for a possible bowl game invite. Breaking even on the road in the SEC is never easy. The Bulldogs could pull out a couple of wins against Arkansas and Tennessee, but they will have trouble at both Auburn and Texas A&M. The make or break part of the schedule is after the Kentucky game on September 21. MSU will play only one home game (LSU) until November 16 (Alabama). During that stretch they will play at Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arkansas, along with a couple of open dates thrown in the mix. In the end, State could finish anywhere from 5-7 to 8-4.

Odds & Ends

The big news in sports last week was Delta State’s Mike Kinnison stepping down as head baseball coach to become DSU’s full time Athletic Director.

The Atlanta Braves signed 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel to a free agent contract worth $13 million last week. Last Saturday night he pitched in Pearl for the Mississippi Braves as over 5,200 fans attended the game. He gave up three runs on 11 hits in his second minor league start. He could be in Hot Atlanta before this week is over.

Former Mississippi State baseball great Hunter Renfroe is on torrid pace for the San Diego Padres. He hit five home runs this weekend (three on Friday night and two on Sunday) in a four-game set against Colorado. He now has 23 homers for the season.
The Mississippi Association Coaches Hall of Fame will be held this Friday night at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson. The induction class will be Junior Graham, M.C. Miller, Geary Jackson, Kenny Robinson and Ken Bramlett. For ticket information, visit the MAC website at mscoaches.com
Peyton Manning and David Cutcliffe will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame later this summer.
Gary Woodland won the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this past weekend. Woodland won with a 13-under over Brooks Koepka by three shots. It was Woodland’s first career major win.
Contact Dale at ddmckee18@yahoo.com