December 13, 2018 7:05:13 AM
Y'all know, we have a lot of fun here in the Mailbag, we truly do. A lot of that is thanks to you, those you that ask fun questions and allow us to get into some funny topics. But this week, we've got a couple of questions that have the potential to get me in trouble, so I'm going to start with those.
- The first is a hyperlocal question. Wes Mims (@mississippimims) said the following -- Caldwell High was decent. Lee High played for championships regularly. Why can't Columbus High (the two consolidated) field a decent football team?
This question can get me in trouble considering The Dispatch is the Columbus paper; at the same time, our staff has done some pretty extensive reporting on the state of affairs at Columbus High School and very little of it is flattering, so there's a backing for this.
High school athletics are far more dependent on continuity than collegiate sports. In college sports, there are certain understood guarantees about the bare minimum of financial backing the football program is going to get, the staff it can hire, things of that nature. No AD is going to take over at Ohio State and slash the football budget by $20 million, put it that way.
At the high school level -- with the exception of very few longstanding national powers -- that is no such guarantee. We use the phrase doing a lot with little to compliment coaches, but coaches can't do a lot with a little if the exact amount of little continually changes. Each administrator is going to want to do things differently, and with those changes comes a new set of working parameters for the football program; that's been the case with the Columbus High administration as it has changed hands so many times in recent years.
As Wes mentioned, the Columbus area is not completely void of talent. It may not be a hotbed of talent good enough to win the state title with regularity, but it almost has to be more than recent results indicate. If that stabilizes and they get the right coach in there (Eric Rice absolutely could be that guy), then I imagine the Falcons can play winning football in short order.
(Moving down to 5A sure is going to help, also.)
- Alright, the other question that can get me in trouble, this one because the answer probably won't be popular among Mississippi State fans. It comes from Jason White (@WhiteJasw50) -- Who will be the surprise signing in the early period?
I'm stealing this idea from Tom Eble, WCBI sports director and co-host on the Straight Sippin' podcast with me and Courtney Robb: I won't be surprised if MSU loses a current commitment on the line of scrimmage.
This class has six offensive linemen and five defensive linemen committed right now, and I don't think I have to explain that's a lot -- even for a school that has done a ton of junior college lineman recruiting in recent years. MSU got the surprise last year when James Williams flipped to Ole Miss on signing day and I wouldn't be shocked to see it happen this year.
Granted, I'm far from confident enough in it to predict a specific player or set of players as candidates. I just think that's a possibility for a surprise in a class that I truly believe won't contain all that many surprises.
- Alright, let's get to a question that's going to make people happy. Thanks for the Get Out Of Jail Free Card, @cristilmethod -- Name one underrated State football player you think can break out in 2019.
Jace Christmann. All the way to the Heisman Trophy.
My actual answer: Maurice Smitherman. Hear me out.
Jamal Peters is Jamal Peters, his name resonates in the fan base. Cameron Dantzler, for my money, had his breakout season this year. He may not be a household name in the league yet, but his play sure made him one within the fan base. When Peters went down and things had to shuffle at that position, a lot of talk surrounded what would happen with Chris Rayford and how he would fit positionally.
Maurice Smitherman was quietly an excellent cover guy this year. With Peters and Rayford gone, I imagine he won't be all that quiet next year.
- Alright, it's time to unleash some #takes. Rob Montgomery (@10RobertWilliam) gives me that opportunity with three questions: 1) Did the Heisman voters get it right? 2) Prior to this week's games, where would you rank State's men's hoops in an SEC power rankings? 3rd? 4th? Other? 3) If you have to make a Super Bowl pick right this instant, who would it be?
1) Let's just say I'm thrilled I didn't have a Heisman ballot this year. Any configuration that had Tua and Kyler a distant 1 and 2 from the rest of the pack was perfectly fine with me, and that was more or less the case, so I'll say they got it right. I even split my ballot in my own voting responsibilities: I voted for Kyler Murray for the Maxwell Award but put Tua Tagovailoa as my first-team All-American QB for my FWAA All-American ballot.
2) Any conversation about SEC hoops right now starts with Tennessee and Auburn, so that's the top two spots right there. I think Kentucky is eventually going to get it together, but that clearly isn't right now, which leaves State in a class by itself with Florida. The Gators have been inconsistent in their results, a quality MSU currently lacks, so I'll give the Bulldogs the edge and deem them the No. 3 team in the conference on Dec. 13.
3) Chiefs-Rams. Not for actual prognostication reasons, just because there are only three or four actually creative offenses in this horrendous league and I want to see two of them in the Super Bowl.
- What up, @dalemo830 -- More impressive: the team making 19 3's in one game or Lamar Peters making 8 in two straight games?
Nerd alert! I ran the numbers on this.
MSU's barrage of 19 3's on Clemson was one of 19 times that has happened this season as of late Wednesday night. Lamar Peters is one of just three players in the nation to hit 8 or more 3's in back-to-back games this year, but check this out: Detroit Mercy's Antoine David did it on back-to-back days, hitting 10 in a win over Loyola (MD) and 8 in a win over Bowling Green.
- And finally, from @Wesley_Johnson -- Why does daylight savings time still happen? Imagine having a 24-foot rope, cutting off a foot on one end, adding it to the opposite end and telling people you have a longer rope. Mississippi can gamble, how about we stop DST?
Brother I wish I had a good answer for that.
My understanding is it benefits the farming industry in some way, which is all fine and good, whatever. But let's take the life of the average American. Most American work days are roughly in the construct of morning to late afternoon, right on the precipice of evening, right? We wake up with our families in the morning, go work through the day and spend the evening with our families. What a treat.
Here's the deal: when you leave work and it's already dark outside, who benefits from that? Who benefits from our time construct in the fall where it gets dark stupid early? Sure, the early risers out there get an extra hour of sunlight early in the morning when most people are sleeping, but when I have to get up early for that kind of thing, I honestly like it when I'm up before the sun. It makes me feel like I'm really getting after it. What's the point of going to the gym super early in the morning if you're not beating the sunrise in doing so?
Give us that extra hour of sunlight at the tail end of the day all year long, people. Make it possible for us to go in the back yard and throw the ball around with the kids after work. Let us see the sunset from the window of our living room, not the window of our office.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson