STORYLINES RELATED TO THE GAME
Cam Newton, last seen at the Egg Bowl ringing a cowbell on the field after the game, makes his return to Starkville
Hailed as the next great Bulldog quarterback (actually, make that "first" great quarterback) by State fans, Cam Newton eventually crushed their hopes and signed with Auburn. Branded "a piece of shit" by many, Newton is already being greeted well to quite well in Starkville.
I'm sure if State fans had the religious zealot death-zeal of Arkansas fans, they'd have already found his cell phone number and be giving him the DeMarcus Cousins treatment. But with probably more hate and racial slurs. Anyway, Cam Newton will be under a lot of pressure both State and Auburn fans.
Tyler Russell and Chris Relf face their first defense that probably ranks slightly above "putrid"
Against Memphis, the two combined for 372 yards of passing and 5 touchdowns (1 INT), which is Jacksonville State-upsets-Ole-Miss stunning. However, Auburn, while a terrible team against the pass (101st in 2009 against the pass and gave up 323 to the Arkansas State Red Wolves to open this season), is probably not as awful as Memphis. How much less awful is up for debate. If Relf and Russell can throw effectively with success, State could rampage through Auburn. Conversely, new Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz oversaw the 87th ranked defense in America in 2009 while at Middle Tennessee State. I may be jinxing this, but I feel good about avoiding the 3-2 flaming three-wheeled covered wagon of horror we watched inch across our television screens in 2008 when the game was last in Starkville.
(For the sake of my weekly picks, I shall side with Auburn. A 5-7 team with a new quarterback versus an 8-4 team with a new quarterback. While State certainly has plenty of momentum, consider this list of Dan Mullen victories: Jackson State, Vanderbilt, MTSU, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Memphis. Until he beats one of the big schools, I'll side with the big schools.)
STORYLINES UNRELATED TO THE GAME (60% of broadcast material will come from here)
A.J. Green suspended for the next three games for selling one of his jerseys (4 games total)
There is a clear NCAA rule that forbids players from selling merchandise they receive from their school. It's understood that when you go to college to play college athletics, you forfeit your right to make money off your name. It's brutally unfair, but thems the rules. So in this incident, the NCAA was able to interpret the rule book as it is and did not have to make something up to achieve their desired result (suspension). What is truly ridiculous is that the NCAA is still allowed to throw out random numbers for games suspension. Allegedly, Green sold his jersey to an agent-ish person for $1,000. Suspended Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus got $2,000 in benefits for a trip to Miami and will miss only two games, which makes perfect sense. You see, of the four people that work for the NCAA, the number four was the favorite number of employee #2 and it was his week to use that favorite number in any way he saw fit.
Alabama's Mark Ingram will most likely not play against Penn State
Without him, Alabama really struggled to run against San Jose State, accumulating only 257 yards.
Derek Dooley unimpressed, not with Tennessee's offense, but their SHOWER DISCIPLINE
I'm sorry, I though you said "shower discipline." It's true, shower discipline. Granted, I have not spent a considerable amount of time in community showers, but I feel like there are three simple rules to maintaining proper shower discipline:
1. Eyes up. Let's not make this weirder than it already is.
2. No popping those in the shower with wet towels. Unless your name is Ace Ventura and you're looking for Ray Finkle.
3. No peeing in the shower while someone else is in there. I'm pro-shower peeing, but no one wants to be in a room where another human's pee is out in the open. Now if the showers are blocked off by stalls, then pee freely.
To be fair, Dooley was addressing proper washing technique and towel usage to prevent staph infections. Technique and usage most of us learned by age nine through a teacher known as common sense.
But if Tennessee's shower discipline was that sloppy, what was shower time like under Lane Kiffin? Was it like Any Given Sunday when they throw that live alligator in the shower? Did Ed Orgeron stalk around in there ready to towel-pop anyone who took longer than 42 seconds? Did the place clear out like it was on fire when Monte Kiffin rolled in? THE HORROR OF OLD MAN NAKEDNESS. I'm beginning to wonder if the only rule Kiffin enforced (other than "no eye contact, gentlemen") was that teammates were not allowed to throw feces at one another.
Reggie Bush cares as much about losing his Heisman as the majority of America cares about who wins the Heisman
Who's looking forward to this year's popularity contest? Anyone? No? Okay. No one it is.
If Les Miles survives 2010, he'll have another opportunity to showcase his ability to scare the hell out of his fans while still winning on opening weekend
Oregon will meet LSU in Cowboys Stadium to open the 2011 season for both teams. Whenever Les Miles can display his game-mangling skills before a national television audience, you'll have my full support.