JOHN L. PITTS: SEC West appears to be up for grabs

CORINTH
On Monday, a caller asked where she could find the football schedules for Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
It’s the first sign of fall.
This time next week, we’ll be into the fourth and final day of SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
And college football can again replace futbol as the focus of our attention.
For now, even fans whose teams were dumpster fires last season – I’m looking at you, Arkansas – can be filled with optimism.
I’ve spent most of the spring thinking that this might be the year that Ole Miss or Mississippi State could shock the world and win an SEC Western Division title.
Bear with me, I haven’t been out in the sun too long.
Alabama is on a two-game losing streak, will have a new quarterback and is still suffering from an Iron Bowl hangover.
Auburn had just about every break go its way last season, and that’s unlikely to happen two years in a row.
LSU has turned into the SEC’s Clemson, a marvelously talented team that’s always good for at least one befuddling loss.
Texas A&M lost Johnny Football and two other first-round NFL Draft picks.
And there’s Arkansas. I bet they’ll win a Big Ten title one of these years.
Ole Miss is a trendy pick to have a breakout season for Hugh Freeze and we keep hearing that this should be Dan Mullen’s best team in Starkville.
Still, we’re talking about two teams that combined for 11 losses last season. Neither has finished better than .500 in league play in a while – Ole Miss in 2008 and MSU in 1999.
And with just one trip to the league title game between them.
But when it looked like the Rebels and Bulldogs might have a chance to play in June with a trip to the College World Series at stake, I wondered out loud how crazy the fan bases would get if a Battle for the Golden Egg came with a trip to the SEC title game as the grand prize.
For the first time in my decade-plus in Mississippi, that’s not an entirely absurd question.
Random thoughts
• Let me tell you how the Ed O’Bannon case against the NCAA ends up – every four-year college athlete is going to get, upon graduation, a check for $47.
• Next time somebody says there’s more scoring in football than soccer, remind them of this: Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2.
• Mowing our yard takes just slightly longer that a four-tire NASCAR pit stop.
• U.S. senators lecturing the NCAA should be broadcast on Comedy Central, not CSPAN.
John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc.com) is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He shares more random thoughts on Twitter @JohnLPitts