Dan Mullen, ever on the bleeding edge of the recruiting game, takes the practice of autographing a pregnant woman’s belly to its furthest rational conclusion.
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• Washington 17, No. 8 Stanford 13. Will this be one of those delightful years that sees every highly regarded team picked off, one by one? What, like you don’t want to see a Minnesota-Oregon State Rose Bowl? Cartoon beavers and gophers, clutching flower stems in their teeth! Don’t hate this beautiful inevitability.
We do not quite credit Stanford’s Trent Murphy with the elusive FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN, but he certainly is burly, and his interception return provided some of the only entertainment to be found in Thursday night’s matchup. Stewart Mandel, bless him, actually watched the whole thing and wrote some words about it. Honor him. [BOX | RECAP]
Tired of reading exclusively about Missouri, Texas A&M and LSU heading into the weekend? We’ve got you covered. Read about the rest of the action in our Saturday Superlatives, which are kind of like preseason awards for the upcoming weekend of football, and just as binding. For additional preview content heading into Week 2, check out Andy Staples’ Walkthrough.
• Best Worst Anniversary. It’s Auburn-Mississippi State weekend, which means it’s the anniversary of No. 9 Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2. It also means it’s time to drag our favorite decrepit video down out of the bloggy attic.
We had what our parents called a “real job” in 2008, and constructed this 3-2 tribute video the Monday after the game on some ancient version of Quicktime while rendering something we were actually being paid to make in Final Cut. The video is grainy, but think of that aspect as a tribute to the quality of play captured. The end product is raggedy and not aging well, and it might just be the work we are most proud of in our entire lives.
Dan Mullen, discussing Auburn on his radio show tonight: “Hey, I’ll take a 3-2 win.” #2008
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) September 7, 2012
PLEASE. PLEASE OH PLEASE. PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN, DAN MULLEN POWERS. Week 2 proffers a uniquely terrible slate of games overall, and another 3-2 finish would be its crowning achievement. Auburn is looking to avoid an 0-2 start after an opening-week loss to Clemson, while Mississippi State is coming off a 56-9 win over Jackson State.
If God is a DJ, and life is a dancefloor, then Hugh Freeze’s dance card is full, thankyouverymuch.
For the third time in 24 hours, we find ourselves discussing Ole Miss, which has to be some kind of record: Yesterday morning we marveled at Freeze’s irony-free Twitter stylings; last night we discussed his fruitful attempts to out-Richt Mark Richt with our friends at The Solid Verbal; and this morning we behold a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that has Freeze pulling a scholarship offer from linebacker Mario Mathis because of an ACL injury last year:
Mathis tore his ACL before his junior season but played through the pain because it was improperly diagnosed as a knee strain. Mathis underwent surgery on January 17, and later committed on May 3 [...] Ole Miss was aware of the injury at the time, and coach Hugh Freeze personally accepted the commitment from Mathis over the phone.
Fast forward to this past weekend: Mathis did a light workout for the Ole Miss coaches and was examined by the team trainer (who said the Mathis recovery was on schedule, according to Fletcher). Then they started getting mixed signals from the Ole Miss staff, and knew something was wrong.
Mathis, a three-star prospect out of Thomasville, Ga., also fielded offers from South Florida and Mississippi State during his recruitment. It’s not really a question of “whether” Dan Mullen is going to have a real good time with this, so much as “how many cheeky billboards will this action inspire?” We can see it now. “STATE: WHERE COMMITMENT MEANS COMMITMENT.”
We get asked a lot why we bother with SEC Media Days. Occasionally, we wonder ourselves. But every year we skip could mean missing out on the next Robbie Caldwell, which in 2012 happened to be Arkansas’ new head ballcoach. He tops our 2012 SEC Media Days Power Rankings:
1. John L. “Johnelle” “John-El” Smith: He shook hands with the cameramen. He openly ridiculed questions at the podium. He introduced a nation to the slogan “GET YOUR PISS HOT.” He has extremely expressive hands, which we have named Butterscotch and Flibbertigibbey. Are we overly susceptible to folksiness? Probably. Do we care? Not a fig. LSU-Arkansas 2012 just morphed into a buddy-cop movie where both leads are the loose cannon on the force. Not a by-the-book buttoned-down type in sight, and we can hardly wait.
2. T.J. Moe: Mizzou’s leading receiver brought a rare burst of logic to the dreaded “how excited are you” question: ”We’re as excited as anybody. We’re the ones that actually have to go out there and do it.” Oh, and then he went and said this:
Mizzou’s T.J. Moe on SEC: “They say girls are prettier here, air’s fresher & toilet paper is thicker”
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyCBS) July 17, 2012
HOOVER, Ala. — It may surprise you to learn Dan Mullen did not take the stage at SEC Media Days pulling a derogatory billboard behind him in a little red wagon! Highlights from Mississippi State’s Q&A:
• How important is that first game against Auburn? “That first conference game is critical. It sets the tone for the season, no matter who you’re playing.”
• Any more trollsome billboard plans for fall? Not trying to disguise his glee: “I’m sure there are!” Mullen said he receives miniature versions of the billboards the marketing department comes up with. We imagine him moving them around like battleships on his desks.
• Mullen: “We’re not that far from a national title.” Indeed, we can drive from Starkville to Tuscaloosa in less than an hour and a half. (There may have been some tangents in there.)
• Finally, somebody asking Dan Mullen the hard questions: “What level of success do you expect Urban Meyer to have at Ohio State?”
• “Starkville, Mississippi is the best college town in the country.” Hell, just slap that on the next Oxford-baiting billboard, coach. Who needs a marketing department?
Learn something new every day. Dan Mullen just sat down and played “Stairway to Heaven” on the baby grand piano here at event.
— Joe Galbraith (@joestate) May 21, 2012
[UPDATE: Now with photo evidence!] Our enthusiasm for sitting through the polo-shirted cattle call of SEC Media Days just spiked mightily. We have already secured a borrowed keyboard for the occasion, and will be installing it in the lobby and shrieking requests at Mullen every time he passes. Top five, in descending order: 1. “Free Bird,” 2. Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3,” 3. “Shine On Harvest Moon,” 4. the entire songbook of Show Boat, 5. “Hot Cross Buns.”
A lovingly curated selection of our favorite stories from the past week to speed you through your Friday:
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The Chick-fil-A Bowl’s annual charity golf tournament kicks off this weekend, forcing 16 ACC and SEC skippers to mute their phones (probably), partner up with celebrity alums from their current programs and battle for scholarship dollars in the carefully sculpted wilds of Georgia. The pairings for the main event have been released. We have some thoughts.