October 5, 2017 7:30:20 AM
This might be the longest Mailbag I've ever done and it comes on the dang bye week, because y'all are awesome. My most sincere thank you to all of you.
- I have an unpopular opinion, so let's get it out of the way now. Twitter friend Ryan Nelson (@ryannnel76) asks: Should LSU go ahead and eat the $12 million buyout and fire Ed Orgeron?
I actually think LSU will be fine in the long term. I recognize it's certainly possible Ed O proves to be a bad head coach and ruins this like Les ultimately did, but hear me out.
LSU lost basically everything from last year's defense, and some of the few returners have been hurt recently: defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, for instance. Combine that with one of the worst preseasons for an offensive line I've ever seen in terms of injury and other departures and you've got a team primed to take a few bad L's. Maybe Ed O is a bad head coach, but I'm not entirely sure the recent run of games proves that beyond all doubt, given those other circumstances.
- Let's take a second to talk about one of my favorite college football subjects: uni game, fam. John Roberts, @JohnRoberts__, wonders why Nick Fitzgerald isn't wearing sleeves.
Well, John, he's a single man now. (To the best of my knowledge.) The man's got to show off the guns. "Hey girl, you see me on TV? You like what you see?"
- @Coach18Nabors (Go Yellow Jackets, Coach) gets straight to the point: MSU found a WR yet?
#sources tell me MSU came very close to working out a trade for Hunter Renfroe but couldn't quite agree on the recruits to send to Clemson to complete the deal. (Of course I'm kidding.)
Honestly, I don't think MSU's problems at wideout are as bad as the last two games have suggested. I think time will tell that Auburn and Georgia are the second- and third-best teams in the conference (no particular order right now) and I don't think we entered the season expecting this team to be of the caliber required to compete with teams like this, if we're being honest. I wrote a column on that subject recently (that hopefully you all have seen or will go find now) basically saying this team has problems, but this is no disaster based on preseason expectations.
I think guys like Donald Gray, Deddrick Thomas, Jamal Couch and the tight ends will reappear against defenses that aren't as suffocating.
- On a similar subject, @jcdickinson32 asks what's happened to the mentality of the defense?
Again, I'm going to credit competition here. I think this defense has better days ahead of it: obviously so with teams including BYU, Kentucky and UMass ahead, but even against teams such as Ole Miss and Arkansas. The safety play has to get better, there is no doubt, and Cory Thomas needs to return real, real bad. I still think the defense will be fine relative to the 7-5 preseason predictions, or even my personal prediction of 8-4 -- most importantly better than last year's, which is the whole point with a new defensive coordinator anyway. Todd Grantham defenses have never stopped attacking when they've been torched a couple of times: sometimes that's worked against him, but most of the time it all evens out.
- Let's take a quick break from football for a couple of questions. Shoutout to my dude Josh Barnhill, @Barne2017, who asks about a very important topic: barbeque. He went to Jim N Nicks while in Auburn and he knows I'm from Alabama, so he asks: What's better, the chicken or BBQ at Jim N Nicks?
Hope you enjoyed those cheese biscuits, my friend. They're lit.
I'm normally not a huge fan of smoked chicken done by whole part -- leg, breast, thigh, etc. I like for that chicken to be chopped or something in a way that's more receptive to some BBQ flavor. I'll take the pork here, which I had several times and loved each time.
- My man Justin Strawn (@JStrawnFWtCT) -- He won a new set of golf clubs in a golf fantasy competition and wants to know if it's the coolest thing to happen to anyone in the history of the world?
The only thing that would be cooler is winning the lottery to go get the best clubs on the market and get them customized to your size and swing.
Are you kidding me? That's incredible. No doubt the coolest thing that's ever happened to a non-lottery winner. I'm still swinging the same irons I was swinging in high school -- and doing so with no end in sight because, you know, I'm a sports writer and I have no money.
Apparently I need to invest some time in fantasy golf.
- One football question before we go non-football from here on out. James Roger Craig (@JRCraig6593) asks his first of two: What can you tell us about the recruiting class?
I can tell you its beating Ole Miss' class like the Rockies and Diamondbacks were beating baseballs last night.
Joking aside, they went the JUCO route with two wide receivers, which those critical of the wideouts the last couple of weeks will be thrilled to hear. (One of them is 6-foot-4, Stephen Guidry.) They also went with several high school defensive backs, which makes sense: after going so heavy with JUCO guys in that unit, you need to get some high school guys in now to develop them and get some depth while you have the immediate stop-gap measures in town. In general, there are offensive playmakers for days in this class. It's eye-popping, really.
- JRC's second question: How many people on average do you keep blocked?
I actually cleaned house in this respect right before football season: I went through the list and cleared out everyone who was blocked for reasons I couldn't remember. A fresh start, so to speak.
I think the list right now is something like 10. Starts with folks that are blocked just to guarantee I never see their garbage in my timeline: Stephen A. Smith, Danny Kanell, Floyd Mayweather, etc. Not many fans have gotten blocked, I don't think: unless you're just attacking me or my family (which has happened) with bad intentions or you're beyond unreasonable and constantly bothering me about it, you won't get blocked.
- Mailbag baller Rob Montgomery @10RobertWilliam asks two questions: Best Family Guy moments/episodes and my World Series prediction.
Man, best Family Guy moments. This list can last for days. Here's my best stab at keeping it less than a mile long: Any Peter v. Chicken fight...When Stewie beats the crap out Brian...The Bird is the Word episode...The whole gag about Brian banging Quagmire's dad after (s)he had the sex change...I find all the stupid stuff Jillian says and Brian's/Stewie's reactions to them hilarious...the Everything Is Better With A Bag Of Weed song...Anytime when Peter destroys Cleveland's house while Cleveland's in the tub: "No no no no NO NO NOOOOO. I gotta stop taking my baths during Peter's shenanigans."
I'll take Astros over Dodgers, but take that with a grain of salt: I'm an A's fan, so what business do I have talking about the playoffs in any way?
- Here's a thinker from @jaceleachman15, not to be confused with future Heisman winner Jace Christmann. One of the best Mailbag questions I've ever gotten: If I got to live for a year in a foreign country, which one and why?
I'm going to provide two answers based on a hypothetical, because I've always said this about going abroad: If I'm going to a country for any extended period of time, I'm going to learn the language. It'd drive me crazy not to, and plus, it's good for you, isn't it?
The first answer comes if it were my current self, where I'm basically limited to countries that speak English. (My Spanish isn't good enough to last in Mexico, much less other places.) My answer is Australia: I would love to experience Australian golf, there are several cool cities and that's almost certainly as easy as it'll ever be for me to get to places like India, Japan, China, the Philippines, South Korea, etc. I'd go to Australia but probably end up only spending about 10 months there and spend the rest of the time touring Asia in stints.
Now, if you'll let me pretend I have time to learn the language of the country I'm moving to, I think I might go Germany. I can't really explain why, but I've always thought there's something about the German culture and how they, like a lot of Europe, place a lot of importance on what people do after work. I'm sure there's a ton of really cool stuff to get into there. Plus, if you look at Europe as a whole, Berlin is a good place to hub for an American trying to get a full taste of Europe: London, Rome, Moscow and even Barcelona are all relatively manageable flights. Give me a brat and beer, freunde, auf nach Deutschland.
- Let's wrap up on the most important subject I've ever addressed in the Mailbag: brunch. My girl Abby and her outstanding Twitter handle, @abstractabs, asks how excited I am for brunch next Saturday.
For context: when MSU plays a morning home game, as it will against BYU next week, MSU provides a breakfast spread for us in the press box. They always provide food, but obviously since this pregame meal is being consumed at something like 9:30, breakfast is the choice. I haven't had it yet, but I hear from the vets of the group that it's incredible.
Now, let me run through as many reasons as I can possibly think of why brunch is awesome.
Brunch is awesome because it almost always includes biscuits, and biscuits are the best bread product on Earth, y'all. You ever had a biscuit from Chick Fil A? Bojangles? Popeyes? Kept it local with The Biscuit Lady? That's as good as bread gets. Get that ciabatta out of here, biscuit is winning every bread bracket you can put together.
Brunch is awesome because the flavor combos are lit. My go-to brunch dish here in Starkville is Restaurant Tyler's Mississippi River Biscuit: fried chicken, bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage gravy. Where else are you getting all that deliciousness on one plate?
Brunch is awesome because BACON. Bacon, the Golden State Warriors of breakfast meats, except it never blows a 3-1 lead. Bacon is to breakfast meats what Jim Halpert is to boyfriends. While all these other teams want Bama, Bama wants Bacon. Come on, y'all, we got people out here thinking the Earth is flat but we still can't find a group of people uniting against bacon. Bacon would've won the election -- doesn't matter which election, any election, bacon would've won it. Life advice: go where the bacon is. You'll be better for it.
Brunch is awesome because grits are an option. If you can't understand the inherent greatness of grits, then you're probably out of place reading a blog that's (kind of) about college football in the first place.
Brunch is awesome because it's indecision-proof. We've all been there, right: trying to find a dinner place but someone just had pizza for lunch, someone else isn't feeling like Asian, you've got a vegetarian in the group (well, I don't, but you might, I don't know you) and it's all just a mess. Not with brunch. If you can't go to your average brunch place and find something on the menu you throw down, I'm willing to bet the menu/restaurant isn't the problem.
Treat yo'self to brunch, y'all. Can't take no L's at a brunch table. It's impossible.