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I am glad we pulled this one off. We needed to beat a team like Kentucky and this was one where both teams worked hard. There was only one call where I'm not sure the official got it right and it was in favor of MSU. All-in-all officiating here seems to have been better than in the past.

There is talk of being bowl eligible and that is nice to hear. If it comes to be all the better, but right now it is refreshing to simply hear the talk.

I follow SEC football and go to pretty much every Mississippi State home game, so I've seen some bad officiating in my time. Heck, the SEC invented bad officiating. But I have to admit that the team officiating at the Mississippi State vs. Houston game is the all-time worst I have ever seen. The number of missed calls is too high to count. These folks have apparently never seen holding they had a problem with except for the time we did it. I knew it was bad when these fine men who are unbiased and alert to what is happening in the game had to go up to the booth for a review to determine what down it was! Yes, friends, they lost count of what down it was. Houston was about to get a fifth down until the crowd started yelling at which time the refs reviewed the play.

When this officiating crew left the field at the end of the game they were booed by the fans. That is a first for me. We've had bad officials and we have not liked some of the calls, but these guys had so many that they were booed when they left the field. I wish they had on the shows after the game and explain why they made or didn't make certain calls much like the coaches have to. I think at the very least the coaches should be allowed to comment about the impact bad officiating had on the game.

Tom Barnett is ticked off a Chicago and I can't blame him. All the man wanted to do was take his son to a Packers game but was berated most of the time by the Bears fans. He claims he will not go back to Chicago or spend any more money there.

It reminds me of the last time I attended a game at the University of Mississippi. It was for the Egg Bowl and the University of Mississippi had won. The weather was lousy, it had rained most, if not all, of the game, and it was Thanksgiving. I was patted down by security on the way in, apparently confusing with the drunks they are used to having at their games. (By the way, what University in the nation has been told by a federal judge that they need to get their student drinking problem under control?) As I was walking back to the car where the rest of my family and friends were waiting, I saw a guy come running up behind us, jumped on a guy's back who was walking with his wife and son, and made a very crude statement. It was at that time that I decided I had attended my last function on that campus.

In my case there was no bright side. In the case of tom Barnett, his son at least said he enjoyed the time they spent together. That says a lot about the relationship they have and I have no doubt that his son will grow up to be a fine young man--who shows much more class than fans of the Chicago Bears.

Croom Resigns

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CBS reported a little while ago that Sylvester Croom has resigned as head coach. I am saddened by the news for several reasons. First, Croom has done a lot for the Mississippi State football team. Let's not forget that just a few short years ago the team was undisciplined and we were just as likely to read about players in the police blotter as we were in the sports section. Second, Croom brought some enthusiasm to the team, enthusiasm that was sorely needed. Third, Croom was a man of honor and integrity, something that is getting more and more difficult to find in athletics.

Obviously there were problems with the team. I do believe that some changes were needed on the staff, and yes, as head coach Croom was ultimately responsible for making those changes. But he didn't. By no means am I a coaching expert, but it seems to me that when a team is in trouble the first thing that happens is that coordinators and assistant coaches are replaced one year. If things improve the next year then all is well; if not, then the head coach resigns or is fired. It seems to me that Croom did not get the first year.

So, if Croom did not get the first year was that because he was not given the opportunity to make changes in the staff or was he given the opportunity to make changes and resigned instead. I can see either one being the case.

I was disappointed with CBS in their reporting because they spoke only about Croom's race, something he did not discuss. In fact this s the guy that said Maroon is the only color that matters". The bigger issue is who is really behind this change.

Pitiful. Sorry. Lousy. Inexcusable. Unacceptable. The list of words describing the lack of performance by the MSU Bulldogs can go on and on for days. The game today was plain and simple, an embarrassment. Some players played as hard as they could, others seemed to not even want to be there.

The calls for firing Coach Croom will certainly grow louder. The TV even showed a fan holding a sign calling for him to be fired now. I can't say we are at that point yet, but we may be getting close. We have had some good games this year but performance has been sporadic. Tyson Lee has been a breath of fresh air but he got the stuffing knocked out him several times today which brings me to something I've been saying all season long--we have no offensive line. They cannot bock and they cannot create openings through which the ball can be run.

Someone will be leaving the coaching staff soon; perhaps as early as next week. I can't see any way around it. The season was a disappointment and today's game was the perfect way to end a terrible season. The big alums will start making calls and heads will have to roll. I know Croom does not really want to fire anyone so perhaps some will resign on their own; otherwise it can get pretty dirty.

As for me, football season is over for the year. I may watch a few bowl games but I really don't care about much more of the season. I did see LSU lose today and if I can see Alabama lose another time or two then I'll be a little happier. Of course I want to see Navy beat Army, but that will likely happen.

As we have grown accustomed to saying around here--wait 'til next year.

MSU 13 -- UK 14

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Any loss is tough but it seems the toughest losses are the not the ones where you are beaten by a superior team, but when you beat yourself. That it is where the MSU Bulldogs find themselves again on this Saturday. Had the kicker been able to get a kick through the uprights instead of hitting the upright, things would have turned out differently. Had the line done a better job at blocking, the PAT would not have been blocked and things would have been different. Had the offensive line done a better job blocking, more passes could have been thrown and caught and things would have been different. Instead it ended up MSU 13, UK 14.

Very similar things happened a few weeks ago which ended with MSU 2, Auburn 3. So close but this is football, not horseshoes. It is, however, MSU football—and we all used to it by now.

MSU-7 : GA Tech-38

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Bottom line, MSU does not have an offense. Whetehr the problem is the coordinator, the style of offense, or the players themselves, Croom is going to have to make some adjustments--this season--or it will get worse and calls for a change in the head coach will grow. So far I have not heard many calling for Croom to leave, and I am certainly not doing so, but if he does not take action, and take it soonn, I predict those few cries I have heard will be louder and more numerous near the ned of the season.

Tyson Lee did play and put the first offensive points on the board in two weeks. At last weeks game the fans were calling for Lee to be put in and if he had been, perhaps we would have won that game. Lee impressed me with how he thinks on his feet and can get something out of nothing. If he had beetter blocking and his receivers were a little more consistent in hanging on to the ball, who knows what could happen.

MSU-34 : SE Louisiana-10

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Saturday could not have been a better football night. It was a little warm at kick-off but once the sun went down it was great.

MSU looked good but there were still some dumb mistakes. SE Louisiana scored first which I think got us fired-up...and it should have. I'm still not sure we out-played SE La I think we just played them down. We will have to do much better if we want to win against some SEC teams.

The University of Missisippi lost which always makes things better for MSU fans.

MSU 14: Louisiana Tech 22

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Ugly. Just ugly. 'Nuff said.

In response to seeing his team in a bowl game, a UCF student had this to say, according to Channel 13, Central Florida News: "It’s pretty awesome. Like it's right up there with like, just something awesome that I can't put into words right now because I’m super psyched at this happening right now". I mean like, where do I like go to like to sign this guy up for like a job in something awesome like maybe in like communications. I bet like if he could get super psyched he could like do a real good like job, like.

I hate to come down on the guy so hard but this is “like getting of hand, like”. We have a language loaded with words that could be used but this guy, or should I say “dude”, uses “like” and “right now” twice each in one sentence. When I read such utterances I can’t help but think that there little thinking going on in the brain that is controlling the mouth.


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I really do dislike ESPN. It seems like a few years ago, back when they would televise more Mississippi State football games, there were a little better. But now the announcers certainly appear to be biased. Oh, they love to hear themselves talk.

I watched the Liberty Bowl game on the television last night because my wife agreed that we did need to get tickets about 2 hours after they were all sold. So, I resigned myself to watching it on the tube. Well all the way through the game all I heard was how great UCF was. UCF? Who the heck are they? They play in the friggin’ Conference USA for crying out loud! Most of the game the ESPN bozos talked about Kevin Smith breaking the single-season rushing record set by Barry Sanders in 1988. Even the stats ESPN put on screen should show how stupid this argument is. Counting the Liberty Bowl, Smith’s record would be for 14 games whereas Sanders’ record was for only 11. I can’t remember the number (and don’t care enough to look it up) but the game average was significantly lower for Smith than it was for Sanders as well.

It doesn’t really matter because Smith did not break the record. Something about an SEC team getting in the way and showing the UCF team what defense is all about. As Croom says, it was not a pretty win but it was a win. We also did not play all that well. We really should have scored more points but it looked to me like our offense was not doing well more than it was a case of UCF defense playing well.

The University of Mississippi fired its head football coach Ed Orgeron today. It’s not my place to comment on what the reasons might have been for this firing, because I am not a football expert. But I do a thing or two about leadership and integrity and I have seen precious little of either in the upper ranks of leadership at the University of Mississippi. The specifics:

1) About three weeks the administration came out in support of Orgeron and said he would be back next year. I certainly understand that when the upper administration has to come out and issue proclamations of support for a coach that it means they have been fielding some irate fans and alumni. I also know it is the beginning of the end. So was the UM administration simply blowing smoke? That appears to be the case.

2) According to the Clarion Ledger, the Athletic Director Pete Boone said the statement of support was based on the assumption that the team would have a strong finish. But, he also was quoted as saying that one game was not responsible for firing the coach. The actual quote is:

"There's several criteria that I look at," Boone said in the news conference. "There should never be a point in time where one game, one call, one quarter has anything to do with such a monumental decision as this, and that's not the case here.

"That endorsement several weeks ago, it was in anticipation of finishing on a strong note, which Coach O and I both felt we would do. That did not happen. In concurrence with the chancellor, we felt for the Ole Miss people and the program that we needed to change directions."

Khayat did not speak at the news conference, but afterwards he told The Clarion-Ledger that Boone convinced him on Friday night that a change was needed. "It would be bad management on my part to get into everything that he does," said Khayat, when asked if he made the decision of if Boone did.

Well, let’s see what has happened since the statement of support. UM played and defeated Northwestern State. They then played and lost to LSU. Now come own, no one at the UM could possibly drink enough to think for even a second that they stood a chance at defeating LSU. Heck, the fact that they scored 24 points says a lot about the team. Then there was the loss to MSU. Oh yeah, and there was pillowgate—the 20 UM football players who stole clocks and pillows from two hotel during team stays. But the administration said that was all taken care of—you know; boys will be boys.

So, it appears then that there is a game that could have saved Orgeron his job but not one that cost him his job.

3) The administration, according to the Clarion Ledger, sent text messages to the football team announcing the firing because they were all out of town for the holidays. Now what kind of leadership is that? The proper thing to have done would have been to meet with the team and make the announcement prior to making it public. There was no reason why this could not happen. Boone says that he does not have anyone in mind to take the job so why could he not wait until Monday to make the announcement? What would it have cost the UM? They would have had a little more time to think things through, Orgeron could have enjoyed the holidays as best he could (even he knew the news was coming on Monday), and the players could have been properly informed.

The more I think about it the more I understand why the UM players stole the pillows and clocks. There is a definite lack of integrity and leadership on their campus.

MSU 17, UM 14

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Well it wasn't pretty but it was a win. The Bulldogs came back in the 4th quarter to defeat the University of Mississippi. The game was ugly and the Bulldogs looked pretty bad the whole game. The 4th quarter was a little better but even that was below what they had been playing most of the season. There was too much” Hotty Toddy” for my taste (is there a more stupid cheer out there?) and UM fans got a little cocky when they were in the lead. In fact, they seemed to have accepted victory before the game was over. I thought surely they would have learned by now that when the Bulldogs play, the game is not over until the last play is played.

Bully came out at the start of the game with a pillow and clock radio and some students had a couple of pillows they kept throwing around. There were the expected signs about UM stealing from hotels. Of course they say no NCAA violations were committed but I would love to see some penalties somewhere for such stupidity. You know, if it had been one or two players it would have been one thing, but to have had 20 players involved makes this seem a little more serious.

Last night one of the UM players was on the news talking about how UM wanted to come and win the game to keep MSU out of a bowl game. Comments like that really make the victory sweet.

I am still amazed at how UM botched handling the hotel items theft. They have had severe alcohol problems, have had some racial incidents, and have had other legal/disciplinary problems and the way they handle football players stealing from hotels is with a "boys will be boys" comment? But then again, when a drunk student drags a kills a Highway Patrolman during a traffic stop and gets off with a very light sentence such behavior is implicitly encouraged.

I got email earlier this week from someone who has a new UM cheer:

Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty,
Where’d my clock and pillow go?
Flim flam, bim bam,
Ole Miss stole them by damn!

Mississippi State 17, Alabama 12

How sweet it is! It is always good to see the Bulldogs win, but it is even better when they beat a team that has such obnoxious fans. I did not hear a lot of that Roll Tide Roll garbage but I did get a kick out of how excited the Alabama fans became at scoring field goals. Field goals!

Those of us who have been MSU Bulldog fans for a long time, fans because we graduated from the school, understand that the team has been good, that the team has been bad, and that it will be both again. So we just enjoy the victories when we get them and enjoy the day when we don't. Contrast that to Alabama where they live and die by wins and losses. And by the way, did any Alabama fans actually graduate from the school? I've met many Alabama fans but precious few Alabama graduates.

Not long ago Alabama was firing a coach and forking over a sizable portion of the State's net worth for Saban. Who knows what they will do now? As for Mississippi State, we will enjoy the victory while we can, try to not be too obnoxious, and wait for the next game. Win or lose we will enjoy the game.

I was also disappointed, once again, in the SEC officials. Calling four time outs for Alabama in the first half? And near the end of the game, when MSU was trying to run down the clock, the ref seemed to forget that he was supposed blow the whistle when the ball was ready to play, not wait until Alabama was ready to play.

MSU 0, LSU 45

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It was not a pretty sight, not a pretty sight at all. The good news is that we held LSU to 9 for a while. Our defense looked pretty good, the offense was, well, there is lots of room for improvement. Henig threw far too many interceptions. The fans were ready to have him taken out far earlier than the coaches. About midway through the fourth quarter Caroll came in as quarterback but he had no line left. The crowd cheered when he entered but there were so few fans left it was not much of a roar.

I know, LSU was ranked #2 and we were ranked not number 2. I never expected to win the game but I did think we would do better than 0-45. But there was a good side. First, the officiating was actually good. It has been a while I have been able to say that so perhaps that is an improvement. Second, the LSU fans were actually fairly tame for a change. Perhaps it is because it was an away game so we got more of the adult fans than if it had been a Saturday game.

There were also some bad parts. First, many of the fans left far too early. They sat through two fairly heavy downpours then left when the score got to high for LSU. What? They expected us to actually win this game? I’m not a rabid fan who expects everyone to stay the entire game but this is getting ridiculous. I swear there were more cheerleaders in front of the student section than there were students in the student section. Second, we had too many students up in our section of the stadium. They didn’t have tickets for that section; they just sat where they could, even on the steps. Now I like students, but I don’t like them being more concerned about their friends seeing them than they are about seeing the game. I did the student section thing a long time ago, now I like the old folks section. Most of us have had tickets there for many years and know each other. We can pretty much predict each person’s reactions because we have seen them so often.

This is only the beginning, and we will play some teams that we may be able to beat, but I sure hate we looked this bad on national TV. There is a consolation prize though. We are not ranked as the #13 party school in the nation like LSU, and we are certainly not ranked the #2 party school like the University of Mississippi. I guess our players are spending too much time in the classroom, but they will be the better for it.

NAVY 24 -- ARMY 16

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Dateline: Home Study

Or perhaps it should be Navy-Army

I had some thing s going on so I couldn’t watch all of the game but I caught parts here and there. This is always my favorite game of the year; I like it better than even the MSU-University of Mississippi game. Why? Several reasons.

One, the teams realize that this is a game and when the year ends they will be teammates in America’s military. Two, each team has discipline. Sure, they lose their tempers every now and then, but then compare that to other football games. Third, regardless of whether one, both, or neither team is any good, they always play hard. And finally, at the end of the game, both teams sign their alma maters, first in front the losing team’s students, and then in front of the wining team’s students. Now that, my friends, is sportsmanship.

I think that, with a little effort, the MUS team could do the same at the University of Mississippi game, but many of the UM fans I’ve met would not be able to. The UM fans are so bad I have sworn off ever attending another sporting event at their school. By the way, the best fans I met were from Auburn. They seem to be good winners and good losers—although lately they have not had much practice at losing.

Navy 24 – Army 16!

MSU 35 - UM 14

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Dateline: Home Study

So sweet. To beat the University of Mississippi 35 to 14, in Starkville was the highlight of the weekend. Especially since the UM fans are such obnoxious people it is no wonder why they are the least liked fans in the SEC. Earlier Sylvester Crrom said something along the lines of we are going beat Ole Miss' butt and UM people took offense. We'll take offense all they want, Croom did what he said he would do.

Of course the night was highlighted with many incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct on behalf of UM. All of the reviews they asked for is a result of the coaching staff; the conduct on the field is the fault of the officials. For most of the game there was a lot of pushing, shoving, and fighting but flags were not thrown until the fourth quarter. Our wonderful SEC officials also could see holding only on one team, but my expectations of SEC officials now are so low that this was a pretty well-officiated game.


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Dateline: Home Study

Katrina has come and gone, leaving death and destruction in her path. We suffered relatively little here. We lost electricity for a little over two days—nothing compared to how long it will be out in the southern parts of the state. Katrina certainly made us all aware of the power of Mother Nature and the relative powerlessness of man, especially man without electricity.

Without electrons I had no computer and pretty much everything I need is on the computer. I’ll move more of it on to my laptop but what I really need are removable hard drives. We use them in the military when working on the “high side” so that they can be locked up in the safe, but wouldn’t it be nice to have them at home for emergencies? In the event of an evacuation you could simply pull the hard drive and take it with you. Would that not be better than trying to pull paper files with insurance information?

It was also hot, especially at night. There have been editorials written about how we used to survive in the olden days without air conditioning. Yep, we sure did. I was a teenager before I lived in a house with air conditioning…in the southeastern United States! But you know, we always had a fan or two. At least at night, when the wind died down outside, we could have breeze blowing through the house. And those days were before the energy crisis of the 1970’s after which houses were super-insulated and sealed. In other words, in the olden days, houses were designed to function without air conditioning, today they are not. I wish the editorialists could remember that.

The other thing we are learning is that there are disasters and there are DISASTERS. Most of what we deal with throughout the year are isolated incidents such as a tornado. The damage is localized and relatively few people are affected. We can then send in huge assets to a small area and really work the problem. September 11, as tragic as it was, fell into this category. The Pentagon in DC and World Trade Center in New York were local sites. Panic spread and cities were affected but even then it was still localized and the infrastructure, for the most part, was functioning. Katrina is just the opposite—A large area was affected, infrastructure was not just damaged but is missing, and we can send in huge resources but they are spread over a large area. It will take a while to recover.

I also learned how stupid some people can be. Yes, stupid. True, some of the people in Katrina’s path couldn’t evacuate but many could. You can see them every night on the news now, especially in New Orleans, screaming for the government to bail them out of the mess they got themselves into. Yes, there are arguments that they didn’t have cars. Well look past the people and tell me what you see underwater. I see lots of cars and SUV’s. No, some people were stupid enough to ride it out and now they are paying the price. Unfortunately it cost some of them their lives. And it is not like this was unheard of. When you mention Camille in this state people immediately think of the 1969 hurricane, not some girl they met last week.

The people of New Orleans are an embarrassment to the entire South. It irritates me to see their complaints. Most of them should have left and then those who couldn’t have left would have been able to be rescued. Those who are suffering now are suffering, to a great extent, because of those who could have left but didn’t. Yes, they should feel guilty.

We are also getting a good sight of the lack of leadership in the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Mayor Ray Nagin (D) had no plan for his city. Today he escorted visitors to the front of the line to get a bus out of town…in front of those who have been waiting for days. I’m sure he will not be re-elected. Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) had no plan for her state. Amidst the screams of where is the federal government I must ask, where is the state and local government and where is there request for help. No one expects the mayor, the governor, or even the entire state to handle this alone but why were they not doing more? Why did they not ask for help? This is a republic where we value the rights of individual states. I think we generally oppose have the federal government step in until they are asked. Bottom line, more could have been done and it could have been done sooner, but the problem is not at the federal level.

I have also been embarrassed by the people of my state and my town. We now have a gas shortage because of complete idiots ran to the gas pumps in fear of a shortage and filled up their SUVs and 55 gallon drums with gas. There is not and never was a shortage but there is now because of outright stupid people making a mess of things because they are not capable of engaging their brains! There really are some outright stupid people wandering around. The rumors I heard about refineries shutting down were downright silly and I’m sad that more people did not see them for what they were—rumors.

A similar thing happened following 11 September. Fortunately I was in Norfolk (with reasonable people) while an idiotic elected official in our area actually told people to go get gas because it was going to run out. Now how could he have said that? Idiocy!

Tomorrow we play our first football game of the season. I’ll probably not be there because I think it is ridiculous that we are even playing. This state is asking for federal aid but we are not going to let it interfere with football! A few days ago the prospect that hotels would be turning out those who sought shelter from the hurricane to make room for fans coming in for the game. Some actually contacting those with reservations and they all said “cancel my reservation”. So there are some good, reasonable people out there.

Of course last night on the news the university “leadership” was trying to work out something and doing a little hand wringing. They asked fans to consider canceling their reservations. Hmmm. All it would have taken from the “leadership” was a declaration that the game was postponed, and that problem would have gone away.

Strong leaders are hard find. It takes strength to make decisions quickly and to make the tough calls. Being a leader is more than being boss, and is more than surrounding yourself in the trappings of leadership. While I’m disappointed with “leaders” at many levels, Haley Barbour (R) is coming through as a champ. I think he showing the nation what a leader is, just a Rudy Giuliani (R) did on September 11. Is it just me or is they a definite (D) and (R) thing going on here? Effective leaders, (R); ineffective leaders (D).

Another sign of good leadership is the ability to stay calm under stress. Anyone who watched the news can attest to the fact the Ray Nagin (D) and the NOPD Chief have been anything but calm. They must settle down, lower the tones of their voices, and instill confidence in the citizens of their city. Their current actions are leading to more problems. Fortunately communications within the city are limited so most within the city are not able to hear their ranting.

And a final lesson is that communications must be improved, especially in times of disaster or problems. Four County EPA was unwilling to even give estimates of when power would be restored. They said they had learned that estimates were always wrong and they wouldn’t make them. Well, two words of advice. First, find out how to make better estimates so that they are not always wrong. Second, your customers would like to have estimates so they could plan. Will be a few hours in which case we will wait it out or will it be days/weeks in which we may wish to go spend some time with friends and family? I really don’t think that is asking too much. When I talked to people who can not even give me an estimate my immediate assumption is that they do not have a plan.

One of the most frequently heard comments from the people in New Orleans is “tell us what to do”. They need information and no one is able to give them any. Why, because they do not have a plan. That is a sad state of affairs and, in my opinion, indicates what a true lack of leadership they have. With the military stepping in now, there will be a plan and things will get must better, much faster.

I’ve exercised with the military, government, and civilian organizations in the past. Things are going to get better because those exercises showed me that the military and FEMA are the best organized institutions I’ve ever seen. Lt. Gen. Russel Honore is on the scene now and is obviously taking charge.


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Dateline: Home Study

The NCAA has gone too far, again, on this Native American thing. Why can't they focus on sports and leave political correctness to the politicians? This is America for crying out loud ,let 'em sue! If the Native American's are insulted, let them ask the schools to change mascots and images.

Mary Katharine Ham had a nice piece on this topic called Mascot mayhem. I got such a kick out of it I had to email the NCAA about their silliness. My email is below.

Has the NCAA considered that redshirting is offensive? I find it highly offensive for it brings to mind images of redskins, which we all know is offensive. I therefore ask the NCAA to immediately either 1) eliminate the term "redshirt" from college football or, 2) grow up and give up on this left-wing, radical, political correctness stuff.

And when should I have PETA contact you. After all there are teams that have animal names which offend some. Perhaps we should eliminate them?

I also find it amusing that you consider Alcorn State University to be a racist institution because they have the "Braves".

When were "savages" determined to be Native Americans? If I recall Vikings have been referred to as savages, Nazis were seen as savages, and some even saw the KKK as savages. How nice of the NCAA to redefine words for us.

But why no ban on the Trojans? Could those of Greek ancestry not possibly be offended by the Trojans? Or is just not politically correct to be "outraged" by groups that reside outside the US?

You might also want to evaluate the name of your Copyright Royalty Tribunal. It does sound a lot like it involves that banned "tribe" word. (Yes, I know the origin of the word but since when is the NCAA concerned with facts? It is only appearances that matter. Right?)

I know all of this looks silly, and it is. But I do hope that you all also realize how silly the NCAA looks to those of us who live in the real world. Only for me it is more a feeling of sadness than silliness.

So please, ask the NCAA leaders to please be leaders. What they are doing now is NOT leadership.

We'll see how it goes but I don't have expectations of the NCAA doing the "right" thing anytime soon.

MSU-22, UK-0, Referees-7

Mississippi State pulled off another one today. Sylvester Croom has really stirred this team up and they are playing some football! The offense was off a little today but the defense dead-on. We took an early lead and kept it throughout the game. There are still those dumb mistakes, read penalties, which will go away with more experience and confidence.

The officials were fairly good today and I was about to give them a good grade until they missed a big call. UK did not score the touchdown, the ball carrier was down on a knee that was apparent to everyone in the stadium, was apparent on the Jumbotron, and was apparent on the news replays. It seems the only people who didn't see were the officials. While it did not have an impact on the game, it was still a bad call.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I can accept some mistakes but these are simply too gross to let go. Given that there seem to be problems with officials at most every game, even those I see on TV, it makes me think that there are systemic problems in how the officials are trained. I know they all want to do a good job and, with few exceptions, they are not biased, so there must be a deeper problem.

Will anything be done? Of course not! Remember that referees are the only ones not allowed to be criticized about there job performance. Do we need video review during the game? I used to think not but given how clear this missed call was, I think it is time to let the refs use some tape reviews to correct some bad calls.

MSU 7, Maine 9

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To say it was a disappointing loss would be an understatement--but it was a disappointing loss. The Bulldogs are not the best they've been and we all know that. The team has declined over the last several years and it will take some time to buld it back. There are some very good players on the field, the discipline is much better than it has been (witness the few number of panalties), and the coach, Sylvester Croom, holds a lot of prgress.

The bright spot of yesterday's game was that the team did not give up. For too many years the Bulldogs have been playing thirty minutes of a sixty minute game. Now they are playing the full sixty minutes and need only get better to win some games. During the recruiting season, Coach Croom said that the new recruits would have the opportunity to play for an SEC championship while they were here. I still belive him and am ready to buy my tickets.

What disturbed me yesterday was the poor officiating. I, and many others, have long said that the SEC has the best football teams and the worst officials in the nation, and I still believe that. You have question any organization in America that prohibits those most affected by something from talking about it yet that is excatly what the NCAA does. Why are they worried about coaches complaining about officials? Most every game is televised it seems so if a coach gets out of line and unduly accuses an official of a bad call, a simple replay of the tape will show the truth.

Now don't get me wrong. referees are human and will make mistakes. No matter what we do there will still the ocassional bad or missed call. It just seems to he be happening more often than not of late.

One call that bothers me from yesterday is the incomlete pass call. One official ruled it complete and another ruled it incomplete. The replay showed it was complete. But why did the two differ? Obviously one saw it better than the other and the one on the oppostie side of the play ruled it compelte. Oficials have to learn that you do not make a call unless you are sure you saw what you are calling.

Look at the increasing number of "conferences" on the field with officials these days. Yestraday's game had several flags waved off because a hasty official had to toss his yellow hanky before he was sure of what he saw. After they meet on the field, they take bakc the flag and play on.

Nothing wrong with conferecnes and reviewing calls except the number of flags thrown only to be recalled are growing. The oficials are, wuite simply, not as good as they should be. And the world of collegiate athletics, where there is a lot of money involved, not to mention careers of coaches and their staffs, a bad official has an impact that extends far from the playing field.

The wrst officiating I have ever seen however reamins that of the MSU BYU game a few years ago. That was just blatant bad officiating and everyone of those refs should have been fired. That was also the first and last year that BYU was really a ranked team. Did the officials have something to do with that?

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