Football arrives in the Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 1999

Football season is here- and it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Local high school football, exciting as ever, was served up last Friday night to Miss-Lou fans. Historically, our area fans go for the prep brand of football, and each Friday night more of the same is featured.

And this Saturday, wow! King football pretty well opens up nationally on the college level.

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Having specially welcomed their personable new head coach David Cutcliffe, Ole Miss followers are ready for Memphis this Saturday night in Memphis as coach Cutcliffe directs the Rebels against a Tiger team that would like nothing better than to make hay against a Rebel team believed to be well manned as well as well coached.

Ole Miss for a fact returns eight offensive and nine defensive starters from last year’s 7-5 team, plus three specialists. And a total of 55 returning lettermen, whether imposing or not, sounds imposing.

Veteran Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill welcomes quite a few top hands from his 1998 SEC West championship team as well, and Bulldogs walked all over Ole Miss 28-6 in their annual Egg Bowl. And even though Arkansas is generally given the nod to displace the Bullies atop the SEC West this fall, State is regarded in many quarters as good enough to repeat.

State will be brushing up against lightly-regarded Middle Tennessee State this Saturday in Starkville at 6 p. m. The game’s not what you would consider a real test for State, but a good warmup contest. Ordinarily that’s also what Memphis would be considered for Ole Miss. This time? Maybe, maybe not.

The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles of veteran skipper Jeff Bower could be facing a laborious task with Tulane in Hattiesburg next Monday (Labor Day.) You’ll remember that the Conference USA champion Greenies flipped USM 21-7 last year, but they don’t figure to be that good this time around.

Coach Bower talks major college football in depth with the best. And backs it with victories a majority of the time. However, this fall he welcomes only. four offensive and eight defensive starters from last year’s 7-4 regular season club . But some predict that he and his 41 returning lettermen will win the Conference USA championship this year. I’m inclined to agree.

About the games this weekend, I like all three Mississippi teams to win. That would be Ole Miss over Memphis, State over MTS and USM over Tulane.

Hey, how about them Tigers, you ask. Well, after last year’s near collapse, I’m afraid to even guess. I thought coach Gerry DiNardo – whom I still contend is a good coach – somehow lost the handle last fall. Better watch his kind, though.

All football fans understand that it takes time each fall to determine any team’s real worth. Certainly that will be the case this fall for LSU. San Jose State, thought should be just so much Tiger meat Saturday.

This explanation concerning picking SEC and Conference USA games other than State, Ole Miss and LSU of the SEC and USM of USA this fall: I won’t regularly be picking a full slate of SEC games, nor USA, but you know I’ll be watching and writing about those four teams essentially every week.

Also, if it’s top high school football you crave each Friday night, check out the exciting local area brand. Think about it – hog (pigskin) heaven is composed of Natchez, Vidalia, Ferriday, Jonesville, Meadville, Woodville and Centreville.

And this: ACCS’ imposing 6-foot-four, 270-pound tight end-defender Hayden Wadsworth is just one good example of great athletes playing football in the Miss-Lou. Check ’em out.