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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crooked Letters of Intent

Mississippi's an easy target. They're a mainstay near the bottom of the state rankings in education. They're the only state to still contain the Confederate battle flag as part of the state flag. The governor himself blocked integration of the state's flagship university. They decided in 2013 to finally getting around to ratifying that pesky 13th amendment. So while I try my best to steer clear  of depicting southerners of dumb, backwoods hicks, I've been known to make exceptions for the state of Mississippi, despite personally knowing individuals who exemplify the opposite.

In the world of college sports, Mississippi and Mississippi State are  as Player 2 as it gets. The two schools tend to be the most likely to join in the "SEC!" chant without contributing to the gross domestic product. In the past three seasons, five of the seven SEC West schools have played in BCS bowls. The outliers? You guessed it. The Mississippi schools. There are now seven SEC schools with Sudler Trophies; five are in the West. The two without? Yup, the Magnolia State. Only once has Mississippi had to look more than a state away to see the crystal football since 2007, yet no championship has graced its borders in half a century.

All hope is not lost, though, and while the south certainly hasn't been down, Rebels and Bulldogs alike hope the state will rise again in their respective favors. Ole Miss may have stricken a blow with this year's recruiting, pulling in a consensus top-10 class (though to be fair, there are as many as three divisionmates ahead of them, depending on the site). One class does not a dynasty, or even a winning record, make, but Hugh Freeze certainly has things trending upwards for the Rebels. Seasons to come will see if the fruits of this labor will be realized.
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