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MSU Mailbag: The #WeBelieve movement, best The Office episodes, Bama talk and more




Bama Week has me so fired up I'm diving right into RAPID FIRE MAILBAG MODE -- right after I throw myself into the MSU Twitter debate from earlier this week. 


- Justin Strawn is the one roping me into this. I'll quote him exactly because I thought it was funny: "How would you view a social media campaign that reached a nearly global audience, but the end results were embarrassing? #WeBelieve" 


Have a seat, friends, it's Mailbag story time. I'm going to tell you what I think of that movement from an unbiased, after-the-fact perspective, but let me tell you why that took me a minute to get there. 


When the #WeBelieve movement was at the height of its powers, I was less than a year removed from graduating from Alabama. I obviously had strong ties to students on campus at the time, and you want to know what their reaction was? Laughter. 


It's elitist, dismissive, blind and a whole bunch of other adjectives, but it's true. In a lot of places, it was treated like when the 16 seed says it's not scared of the 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and says they're just as good: aw, that's cute, congrats for getting here, now go get your whipping and leave with the memories. The #WeBelieve movement was a great time for the MSU fan base, that's undeniable, but I'm here to shed light from the outside, which is that it was a bit of a laughing stock even before that Alabama game started as poorly as it did. 


Now, for my opinion. 


There is certainly some good things of the #WeBelieve movement: it showed a national audience that the MSU fan base is more than just.....whatever you want to call Stingray. It showed that within the fan base is a group of decent people spread across the nation and world; it's more than a collection of low-IQ degenerates from within a few hours of campus (a perception many SEC fan bases suffer from). MSU fans can enjoy that, and the nation will have that in its subconscious; however, in the front of its mind, it will only have the result of the game, so reminding people of that movement isn't a bright idea. 


You know how we can make fun of Browns fans for dressing like idiots to watch the team lose in embarrassing fashion? Or how we can make fun of Ohio State fans for puffing their chests out as THE Ohio State while THE Iowa Hawkeyes are putting 55 points and THE surprise butt-whipping of the year on THE Buckeyes? MSU fans risk being the butt of a recurring college football joke if it keeps turning to something like #WeBelieve every time it has a ranked team meeting the leader of the SEC West. 


- ALL ABOARD THE RAPID FIRE MAILBAG TRAIN. @sbcmortgageman, who has changed his Twitter name to Come At Me Bro, wants to know more about the whole Gerri Green leg twist controversy and wants to know if something like that gets reported to anyone/anything. 


Technically, yes, but because it's UMass it seems unlikely unless the Minutemen take it on themselves. 


Remember the whole Dillon Day stomping thing? All of that ran through the SEC office after LSU sent it to the conference, so the conference stepped in and enforced the suspension there. UMass, being an independent, I assume would have to work through the NCAA, and I highly doubt MSU wants to go to that amount of trouble for a non-conference team that it's unlikely to see again for at least a decade. 


- @MaroonDawg_ wants to know how many scholarship receivers MSU has that are healthy? On a similar subject, Colby Williams (@ColbyW1411) wants to know if any of the injured guys will be back. 


MSU has a guarantee of six: Jamal Couch, Deddrick Thomas, Reggie Todd, Austin Williams, Jesse Jackson and Osirus Mitchell. For context, Washington State has six receivers with at least three catches per game and New Mexico State has six with at least two catches per game, and MSU can barely get that on the sidelines for a game. Rough times, guys. 


As for getting guys back, I feel good about getting Keith Mixon back but I'm not as optimistic about Donald Gray and Gabe Myles. 


- Last one in Rapid Fire fashion is a duo from a man coming after a spot as a Mailbag regular, Colby Williams, @ColbyW1411 -- What's Bama's weakest link? Prediction for MSU's rushing yards? 


Well the injuries at linebacker Alabama suffered against LSU make that an obvious picking point, but when you look at an experienced Keith Holcombe stepping up there and a five-star freshman Dylan Moses likely to take a bigger role there, too, you wonder how much of a weakness that's really going to be. (That's as Alabama as it gets, isn't it?) I'm going to take one off the beaten path and say the right side of the offensive line: guard Lester Cotton is solid, but not near what the left side is and the right tackle spot was a battle well into the year between Jedrick Willis and Mississippi product Matt Womack. 


As for Fitzgerald rushing yards: I'm sure Alabama's going to get a couple of sacks to hurt this total, but I also think MSU is going to try harder than normal to get him at least 12 carries, and more than that if MSU scores a couple of times early and it decides to not waste clock. I'll go with 56. 


- Let's do two more Alabama questions before we get to the non-football stuff. First, @msubulldog85 changed his avatar to the headshot used by The Daily Journal's Logan Lowery on his columns and I find that to be hilarious. Now, his question: What's the bigger challenge, Alabama's offense or defense? 


It's the Alabama defense, by a significant margin. Which is pretty impressive given the offensive renaissance we've seen the Tide take on in the last 5 years or so. 


Let me outline for you the basic blueprint of the Alabama defense: it uses that mass of people larger than the Lithuanian army known as its analysts and quality control guys to scout you mercilessly and figure out the first 18 things you're going to try to do. Then it starts the game by taking all of that away, knowing it has the immense talent to do it all. So it toys with you for a quarter while you realize you can't do any of that and then sees what you come up with on the sideline. Then it uses that army of people up in the press box to identify that scary quickly, then they go to the sideline and take that away in one possession. Then there you are, floundering for life for the entire second half, hopelessly suffocated by Alabama. 


For all the credit Nick Saban gets for taking on the new generation of college football offense, Alabama still hasn't reached the point where it's beautiful in executing it by any means. The Alabama defense has that locked down and has had it that way for almost a decade. 


- The Tupelo Flash, @cprovine3, knows what I really want to talk about: tight ends. He asks if they'll get more catches this weekend. 


I don't know if MSU will, but I can make the case for it benefitting greatly from it. 


It's no secret that Alabama is hurting at linebacker right now, and there's no position that can exploit that better than tight end. MSU has already used formations with two tight ends in the box well, so I think calling on Alabama to cover those guys effectively might provide boosts when needed, like a second-and-long. I don't have a good feeling about using them effectively in the pass game as split-out wide receivers, but doing quick stuff from inline/H-Back positions might give MSU a few wrinkles to keep a few otherwise failed drives alive. 


- Let us begin the non-football fun. A brutally difficult question from friend of the Mailbag Josh Barnhill (Barne2017), who challenges me to name two worse neighboring towns than Gordo and Reform. 


Well, as an employee of The Commercial Dispatch, which sells papers in both of those towns, I have to say that Gordo and Reform are beautiful small towns in Alabama that are two of my favorite places in the world and I love all of the people there. Go Green Wave and Go Tornadoes. 


Now, Josh, I used to live in northeast Louisiana, so I nominate Bastrop and Mer Rouge. I'm going to describe Bastrop in the words of a colleague who shall remain nameless: there's an air of anger in the air at basically all town gatherings -- high school games included -- probably because everyone is angry to be stuck in Bastrop. In my experience, all good things that happen Bastrop, leave Bastrop. 


Mer Rouge is in between Bastrop and Oak Grove, a super small town that feeds its high schoolers to Oak Grove, another small town which still can't get beyond 1A with any consistency even with help of towns like Mer Rouge. So you've got the combo of an average-sized town and a town so small there isn't much it can offer anyone. 


(I'm gonna get so much hate mail for this. Thanks Josh.) 


- Jared Bailey (@IamBailey8) -- Rank these movies from best to not as best: Anchorman, Step Brothers, Dodgeball, Hot Rod, Pineapple Express. 


I didn't see Hot Rod, so I'm forced to exclude it. 


As much as I loved Dodgeball, there are some points of it that are funny the first couple of times and then wear down to stupid with repetition. I can't think of any of such moments with Step Brothers -- and trust me, I've seen it enough times to find those moments if they existed. 


Final decision: Step Brothers, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Pineapple Express. And I greatly enjoyed Pineapple Express, which tells you where I am about those other three movies. 


- I saved the toughest question for last. Caleb Garner is making my life difficult with this question he knows is going to rip at my soul: What's the best episode of The Office? (His vote goes to the one where Michael burns his foot on the George Foreman grill.) 


So, this is not an episode, but I think my favorite moment in The Office is the episode that opens with Kevin talking about how proud he is of his chili while we watch him enter the office, spill it all over the floor and fail to clean it up. I seriously love that episode so much that I can't remember the episode that follows it but I still might name that my favorite episode just because that open has me crying laughing every single time. 


A rough list of candidates for this esteemed honor: The one where Michael runs over Meredith with his car and holds the Rabies awareness run; the one where Jim is in Stamford and they play Call of Duty in the office; the one where Dwight runs the fire drill and Michael comes to realize he's the reason for Stanley's stress; the Season 3 finale where Jim barges in to ask Pam on a date after Michael totally ruins both a job interview and Jan's exit from the company; the episode with the pizza delivery boy; the one where Dwight and Andy duel for Angela; and the one where Andy struggles to remember the Kit Kar bar jingle.



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