Every Thursday. the hosts of the weekday Supertalk Mississippi show “Head to Head” will answer a question exclusively for Daily Journal readers. Oxford native Richard Cross is also part of the new SEC Network broadcast team, while Matt Wyatt is former MSU quarterback and the color man for Bulldogs’ football broadcasts. Email your questions to DJournalSports@gmail.com
This week’s question: Which date on the schedule looks like the biggest trap game for Ole Miss and Mississippi State?
THE RICHARD CROSS TAKE
Given its rich history, it’s hard to believe how far Tennessee football has fallen. Gone are the days of Peyton Manning, a ferocious defense and the aura surrounding the program. In place of the aforementioned is rhetoric about a return to glory and a brick by brick rebuilding of the once mighty “T.”
Because Tennessee finally made the right hire with Butch Jones, because the Vols are stockpiling talent at a rate not seen in a decade and because of where the game falls, it’s the trap game for Ole Miss.
The game is in the middle of the toughest part of the schedule for Ole Miss, sandwiched between Bama, A&M, LSU and Auburn. With the game at Vaught Hemingway and the current state of UT, most Ole Miss fans have penciled in a “W” for October 18th.
Tennessee returns no starters on the offensive line and only one in its defensive front seven, but that lack of experience will be largely nullified by the midway point of the year. Tennessee will be halfway to bowl eligibility and will need a road win in Oxford to help its postseason chances.
For Mississippi State, the trap game is on October 4th with Texas A&M. It’s a home game that falls after LSU and before Auburn. There’s no room for complacency with a talented Aggie team that will be hitting its stride.
THE MATT WYATT TAKE
We entered Tuscaloosa undefeated in 1999, but the loss to Alabama meant our MSU team would miss out on an SEC West title. Next, we had to play a mediocre Arkansas team in dreary Little Rock.
It was a trap!
On the 2014 Bulldogs schedule, I see two trap games.
A road trip to South Alabama in Week 3 fits the bill. With 15 returning starters, 9 on offense, the Jaguars will be hyped. They’ve used this game to sell more tickets. It’ll be like USA’s Super Bowl.
However, the game Ackbar is screaming about is Vanderbilt. Coming to Starkville in late November, Mullen and company will have traveled to Tuscaloosa the week before. State might look ahead to a small tilt “up north” the following Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend.
This sandwich spot on the State schedule – between Bama and Ole Miss – used to belong to Arkansas. Mississippi State is 6-15 in that series since the Hogs joined the league, and that’s after winning two in a row.
Bulldogs, watch out when Vandy comes to town. It’s a trap!
Ole Miss might watch out for Tennessee on October 18. Tennessee will have nothing to lose by then. Plus, Ole Miss travels to Texas A&M the week before, and to Baton Rouge the week after.