Just Talkin’ Croom may be big-time recruiter

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Coach Sylvester Croom is Mississippi State’s first black head football coach, but the important thing is that he’s been warmly welcomed by everyone connected to the university, and he WILL get a clean shot at coaching the BIG Bulldogs of Starkville.

Newspapers all over the state and the South made much ado about coach Croom’s arrival on the MSU campus and his taking over the football program. I think the big welcome was necessary all right enough, but I also believe it fit right in with the importance of it all.

Watch his smoke, is all I have to say. Recruiting is the No. 1 prerequisite, but you just watch Coach Croom’s success in that part of it. Sure, recruiting tells it all, but so what &045; Croom will, again, connect. He just might out-recruit the Bulldog coaches who have gone before him, who knows?

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Ole Miss, meantime, has been matched against Oklahoma State Jan. 2 in Dallas’ prestigious Cotton Bowl. How fortunate can you be? But if the Johnny Rebs find they can’t hold Oklahoma State a light, the Rebels and their coaches may not consider themselves so fortunate. Won’t happen, though.

To be sure, this is not to say I believe Ole Miss has been overmatched &045; I’m just not saying that. Actually, I believe coach David Cutcliffe’s Rebels will not only show up, but battle the No. 21 Cowboys to the bitter end.

The strangest occurrence to date is the fact that No. 1 USC won’t be in a game that could mean the No. 1 ranking after all the bowl results are in. At least it looks that way. And there are so many bowl games it’s a joke. Well, maybe not really &045; a lot of bowl games make for a lot of fun watching TV and reading the paper.

But especially reading about the games in the newspapers. More details, you know. You have to hand it to the Sugar folks &045; a matchup of two 12-1 teams can’t be matched, the way I see it. Biased? Maybe.

This is not to forget Southern Mississippi’s Liberty Bowl battle Dec. 31 with 9-2 Utah. The Golden Eagles are 9-3, but Utah had better watch out. The Golden Eagles and Utah stack up even in my opinion.

The Ole Miss-Oklahoma State Cotton clash just might be one of the best games on tap that bowl weekend. In fact, I look for it. And I will be looking.

Back to the Sugar, though, LSU at 12-1 and Oklahoma at 12-1 makes for a dream matchup in my book. Sugar talk has already started around here. Let’s pull for the Tigers to show off on national television, then talk about how the SEC team beat mighty Oklahoma. If LSU loses, well, just another day.

One thing for sure, one game can’t come close to taking away from so many big bowl clashes.

Just be glad we live in the good ole United States, because it’s here that fans have the freedom of choice between TV shows or pick a game to go see in person. Americans are thankful for America.

Again, don’t forget the Sugar that has been sweetened by the appearance of once-beaten LSU and once-beaten Oklahoma. Nor 9-3 USM’s clash with a Utah team that has lost but twice.

Are we gonna have fun or what.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.