This week's game: Jackson State (0-0) at MSU (0-0), Saturday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Net/ESPN3.com (Bob Rathbun play-by-play, Tim Couch analyst, Elizabeth Moreau sideline)
Here we are, finally. The drudgery of August is coming to an end, and we have real, live football to look forward to this week. In this space each Monday morning, we will do this little entry to set the table for you.
Today, Dan Mullen will hold his regular game-week press conference at 1 p.m. Naturally, I'll have plenty of updates for you on the blog and Twitter, including videos. Throughout the week, I'll have stories aplenty and all the regular blog features, including a game prediction and the Statshot.
Before we take a look at this week's opponent, I have a couple of links for you. In today's Journal is a profile of new wide receivers coach Tim Brewster (CLICK HERE). Also in the paper is a story on sophomore center Dillon Day, who's really taken hold of the starting job (CLICK HERE).
Now, let's take a quick look at Jackson State.
• Last meeting: MSU 45, Jackson State 7 (Sept. 5, 2009, Starkville)
• Series: MSU leads 1-0.
• Jackson State on the web: jsusports.com
• Jackson State on Twitter: @JStateTigers
• Jackson State coach: Rick Comegy (41-26, seventh season)
• 3 JSU players to watch: DE Joseph LeBeau, CB Qua Cox, WR Rico Richardson
• Premature review: In my Premature Preview of JSU (CLICK HERE), I looked at the offense trying to remain prolific without quarterback Ryan Therriault. The Tigers have several options to replace him, including senior Dedric McDonald, who threw nine passes last season. A team spokesman said this morning it "looks like" McDonald will be Saturday's starter.
"We think McDonald has stepped up his act at quarterback," Comegy said earlier ths month. "He's looking good in practice, he's showing some leadership out there. We also recruited what we think are some real fine quarterbacks."
McDonald is a big kid at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and he can run. Not sure how well he can throw, but there are some pretty good weapons around him and a new offensive coordinator, Derrick McCall, who has worked for Comegy for several years at both JSU and Tuskegee.
Questions certainly linger over this offense. On defense, Comegy is more sure of things. He's got nine starters back there, and Mullen recently noted the wealth of experience on that side of the ball.
Certainly, MSU will be a heavy favorite (but FYI, Vegas doesn't normally post odds on games involving I-AA teams). But this JSU team should be better than the one that visited Starkville three years ago. The Tigers are 17-5 over the last two seasons, and when I spoke with Comegy earlier this month, he didn't sound like a coach resigned to defeat.
"I know they're a good football team," he said. "I'm not underestimating that we're going up against any slouch, but I feel any given day, any given day, any given day..."