World of C-USA keeps on spinning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Conference USA is not sitting around waiting for something to happen in its ongoing work to make things big time when affected conference officials get their heads together.

As noted the other day, Southern Miss, Memphis, Tulane, Houston, UAB, TCU, South Florida and East Carolina will compose the South Division of conference configurations. Sounds tough to me.

The powers-to-be want more than anything to have a competitive league, one that will somewhere down the road earn Southeastern Conference-type recognition, although neither league will be found talking specifically that way. You know what I mean &045; &8220;You run your league, and we’ll run ours.&8221;

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USA officials came up with just a football/basketball North and South Division and a &8220;basketball only&8221; North-South lineup. Frankly, I don’t quite get what’s going on with the C-USA at the moment.

Just know for sure the conference will be top-flight in all endeavors, with quality conference rules to prevail. I understand these things were kicked around at the beginning with the understanding only first-class rules and regulations a must.

All of us will know just how things are going after a full year of operation. I said it once, now I’ll repeat what USM President Shelby Thomas stated from the very beginning: &8220;We intend to make lemonade out of lemons.&8221; He’s not jumping in blind.

However, someone has reminded that change is the only certainty in the future of Conference USA.

&8220;I don’t see Conference USA standing pat,&8221; East Carolina president William Muse said, almost exactly as the others were saying in the league. One thing is Army has withdrawn from the league. In fact, all kinds of crazy quotes are floating around. Makes you wonder if there is to even be a C-USA.

No, seriously, you can bet your bottom dollar that when that time comes around alignments will be drawn, instructions will be in the proper hands and dickering within the league about whether &8220;you can play us such and such date&8221; will have abated. Ain’t it a shame! Good ole college football.

Coffee at McDonald’s and around wouldn’t be the same without football, and I mean from junior high on up. But particularly college football. I’ve loved writing about it since before 1940, and I haven’t quit yet.

HURRIED HASH &045; A Natchez &8220;doctor&8221; actually wreaked havoc on Pascagoula High in 1963. Talkin’ about Tommy James (now Dr. Tommy James of Jackson). Tommy and his NHS teammates ran over, around and through the Pascagoula Panthers that fall night. Finest NHS outing since Fred Foster and his teammates blasted that Gulf Coast school 50-0 in 1948. Now Dr. Edward Thomas (Tom) James Jr., the orthopedic surgeon with an Ole Miss medical degree, could cut and go and scoot.

Helped his induction into special honors groups? Didn’t hurt. Like going to Ole Miss on a football scholarship. Helped him earn his degree in medicine there. Helped him marry a pretty cheerleader named Marsha Pearce at Ole Miss? Had nothing to do with it. It’s so much fun writing about Natchez athletes.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.