The Thursday That Is

Hope y’all don’t mind, but I’m gonna load you down this morning. Lots of good stuff in today’s Journal, so I suggest you pick one up if you haven’t already. Some other links, too.

• We have a nice spread on the long rivalry between MSU coach John Cohen and Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. Both insist it’s been a cordial, even friendly, rivalry. Some trash talk would’ve spiced up the story, but it turned out pretty good anyway. Cohen certainly had plenty of nice things to say about Bianco, such as, “He thinks out of the box, and he’s a smart guy.” Their teams meet this weekend in Oxford, with the Bulldogs (21-26, 6-17 SEC) trying to play spoiler as the Rebels (36-13, 16-8) vie for the reguar-season SEC championship. More on this game in Friday’s Journal, and we’ll have full coverage, of course, this weekend.

• The NCAA released APR numbers yesterday. Ole Miss took a hit, but MSU improved its scores in several sports and received no penalties. Athletics director Greg Byrne liked to see such improvement, but said “we’ll never be satisfied until we reach 1,000.” MSU scored a 933 in football, 913 in men’s basketball and 973 in baseball. Byrne said it’s too early to tell how MSU will fare in next year’s report. “It’s a year-to-year deal, and we need to make sure we’re paying attention to it throughout the year.”

Serendipity at work: John Riek‘s paperwork arrived just after Jacquiese Holcombe announced on Wednesday that he’s leaving MSU. Speaking of State hoops, a Yahoo! Sports blog says coach Rick Stansbury is a “faceless wonder.”

• New football coach Dan Mullen is still preaching his gospel around the state. Yesterday’s stop on the Road Dawgs Tour was Natchez, where he urged supporters to “stop wishing and start wanting,” as the Natchez Democrat reports. That was a day after he visited Greenwood, where he laid out his offensive game plan. Next for Mullen are stops in Laurel and Pascagoula on Monday. Here’s the full itinerary.

Today’s Random Link: Ever wondered how sports blogs get those clever and/or wacky titles? Now you know. (Via TheBigLead.com)