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January 31, 2014

More Super Bowl Numbers and Other Oddities

By bryanflynn

When working on this week's Super Bowl preview and prediction, I came across more information than I could fit in a single article for the paper. So, I figured with the big game just a couple of days away, why not share some of the rest of the information I found that I couldn't use in print.

Between the print article and the paper, you should be able to have plenty of stats and information to spread around at any Super Bowl Party you are attending. If you missed the print article here is the link.

Also, if you missed my rant this week, here is a link to it as well.

If anyone is hoping for the weather to warm up on Super Bowl Sunday, it is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. In the playoffs when the temperature is under 40 degrees, Manning is 0-3 (to be fair as well all three of those games were on the road).

The coldest non-domed Super Bowl was at Super Bowl VI when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24-3. The game was played in New Orleans at Tulane Stadium and the high was 43 and the low was 24.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, has only played in one game under 40 degrees. That was week 15 of this season against the New York Giants, in what will be stadium the game will be played in this Sunday. The Seahawks won that game 23-0.

Manning and Wilson will set a Super Bowl record when the game kicks off. The two quarterbacks will set the record for biggest age difference between two quarterbacks. There is a 12 year and 250 days difference in age between the two starting single callers.

At 25, Wilson would join both Joe Montana and Joe Namath also won the big game at the age of 25. The Seahawks quarterback also has the most wins at 27 (including playoffs) for a second year quarterback starting the Super Bowl.

Manning has the Super Bowl experience, which is good but Wilson has some recent Super Bowl numbers on his side. Quarterbacks with previous Super Bowl experience have been in 19 Super Bowls and those quarterbacks have a 10-9 record.

Wilson has the recent history on his side. The quarterbacks with experience haven't fared so well as the quarterbacks without experience have won the last three straight (Eli Manning over Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers over Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees over Manning).

Both these teams meet in the preseason this year. That is important if anyone tells you the preseason meeting doesn't matter.

This will be the seventh time, since 1994, teams who faced off in the preseason play in the Super Bowl. The team that won the meaningless game went on to win five of the six previous Super Bowls.

In the preseason Seattle beat Denver 40-10.

These two teams have meet 52 times in ...

January 23, 2014 | 2 comments

Richard Sherman: 'Thug' = Racial Epithet

By Todd Stauffer

Richard Sherman surprised some NFL fans in his post-game interview with Erin Andrews after batting down a last-minute pass in the end zone to deny the San Francisco 49ners a game-winner and sending his team, the Seattle Seahawks, to the Super Bowl. (I thought it was basically funny, and chalked it up to him being in trash-talk war with his opponent and helping deliver his team to the Super Bowl.

Today he gave a press conference to tell his side of the controversy that's gone viral, making a good point about the [use of the word "thug" in modern parlance][1]. As quoted in Business Insider:

"The only reason it bothers me is that it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling people the n-word nowadays. … What’s the definition of a thug, really? Can a guy on the football field, just talking to people — maybe I’m talking loudly, or doing something I’m not supposed to be. But there was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey, they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and I thought, 'Oh man, I’m a thug?' So I’m really disappointed in being called a thug."

Sherman's personal story has been in the news this week -- he was a good student as a youngster who overcame his Compton background to play football and get a degree form Stanford -- and he makes a point that folks who slide a little too easily into calling him a "thug" may be doing it out of a habit that they need to break. Food for thought.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-sherman-thug-2014-1#ixzz2rGQ4a1EX

January 17, 2014

Mumme's the Word on New Belhaven Football Coach

By R.L. Nave

See the following press release from Belhaven University:

Belhaven University and the Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that Hal Mumme will be the next Head Football Coach. Mumme comes to Belhaven from Southern Methodist University, where he served as an Assistant Coach and Passing Game Coordinator under Head Coach June Jones in 2013.

“I heard for years Hal Mumme’s reputation as a football genius and innovator,” said Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott. “Then when I got to know him personally, I was amazed at how what we as football fans see on the field is just the tip of the iceberg of this remarkable coach and leader. I am excited for our students, our players, and our alumni, because Belhaven football is going to join the “Air-Raid” and soar, with Hal Mumme coming to be our head coach.”

Under the coaching of Mumme, SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert set multiple single game and single season records during the 2013 season. Gilbert racked up 635 yards of total offense against Temple, seventh most in a game in NCAA history. Gilbert also recorded single season school records, second for most total offensive yards (3795), second in passing yards (3528), and first in completions (335). As a team, the Mustangs recorded 5,222 total yards with 4,097 of those yards coming through the air in 2013.

“I want to thank Hal for his work over the past year,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “He is an innovator and a friend. I really enjoyed the time we spent together. We wish him well at Belhaven.”

Mumme not only brings experience as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, but has been a head coach at Division I Kentucky, New Mexico State, and Southeastern Louisiana. Mumme was also the Head Coach at NCAA Division II Valdosta State, Iowa Wesleyan (NAIA), and most recently McMurry (Division III and now Division II).

Mumme spent four seasons at McMurry and led the team to a 27-16 record, including three consecutive winning seasons. Mumme resurrected a McMurry program that had lost 13 consecutive games and had not had a winning season for eight years prior to his arrival. In 2011, Mumme posted a 9-3 record with the team and secured McMurry’s first postseason victory since 1949 by beating Trinity in the first round of the Division III playoffs.

Mumme began his coaching career in the NAIA at Iowa Wesleyan in 1989 and led the Tigers to the playoffs in 1991. In 1992, he moved on to NCAA Division II Valdosta State and then to Kentucky in the SEC where he coached Number One NFL Draft Pick Tim Couch. In 1998, the Wildcats went 7-5 and played in the Outback Bowl, becoming the first coach to take the team to a New Year’s Day bowl game since Bear Bryant in 1951. He is the only coach in the modern era at Kentucky to beat Alabama and numerous college head coaches’ are part of his coaching tree, ...

December 18, 2013

Comegy Fired As JSU Football Coach

By Tyler Cleveland

Jackson State University will replace head football Coach Rick Comegy, the university announced today.

A search for Comegy’s successor will begin immediately, JSU Director of Athletics Vivian L. Fuller said.

“We are grateful to Coach Comegy and his staff for their service to Jackson State,” Fuller said. “We appreciate the work he has done with JSU athletics and we wish him well.” Comegy was 55-35 in eight seasons at JSU.

A press conference to discuss Comegy's dismissal is scheduled for 2 p.m.

November 27, 2013

Gabe Jackson Wins Inaugural Hull Trophy

By Tyler Cleveland

Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, an All American guard rated at the top of his position by NFL draft experts, has been selected the first winner of the Kent Hull Trophy as Mississippi’s most outstanding collegiate offensive lineman.

Jackson will receive the Kent Hull Trophy at the C Spire Conerly Trophy banquet Tuesday night at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Jackson, a fifth-year senior from Liberty, also has been named State’s finalist for the C Spire Conerly Trophy.

"The Conerly" honors Mississippi's most outstanding collegiate football player.

October 18, 2013

JSU's Homecoming Game Cancelled

By Tyler Cleveland

Jackson State will not play a homecoming game this season. Here's what is happening instead.

October 17, 2013

I'll Pass On Grambling +50 Points

By Tyler Cleveland

Jackson State is off to a hot start again this season, and is the only remaining unbeaten team in SWAC play. This weekend's matchup with Grambling State, which has lost 13-straight SWAC games and 17-straight overall, shouldn't do anything to derail that.

But this game just got interesting, with news surfacing yesterday that Grambling's players boycotted practice a day after they walked out of a team meeting with the school's administration on Tuesday.

Among the gripes players have for administration is mistrust between the team and the coaching staff, and the fact that the team had to bus from Grambling to Indianapolis to receive a 48-0 beat-down from Alcorn State, while the Braves flew in and out for the contest.

Grambling fired coach Doug Williams last month after the team lost their first two games this season by a combined score of 71-19.

October 15, 2013

R.I.P. "Wee" Willie Heidelberg

By Tyler Cleveland

In 1970, the University of Southern Mississippi defeated Ole Miss 30-14 in what, to this day, stands as one of the biggest upsets in Mississippi history.

Southern Miss was thrashed the week before by San Diego State, and got torn to pieces the next week by Mississippi State, but managed to beat Archie Manning and the No. 4-ranked Rebels because of a secret weapon.

That weapon was "Wee" Willie Heidelberg, who died Tuesday in Jackson. The then-20-year-old junior was the only black player on either team. He touched the ball three times, and scored twice.

As Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Director Rick Cleveland wrote:

Wee Willie was like a black dot on an ivory domino, the only black player on the field for either team that day. His performance foreshadowed sweeping changes in Deep South football. On this, the last day of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to ask the question: Was Heidelburg aware of the ramifications back then as a 20-year-old junior?

“Oh no,” Heidelburg says. “I knew that was a special victory. I knew we had done something big. But, as for me, I was just playing ball. I certainly wasn’t thinking about making history.”

Read more here.

Heidelberg eventually moved to Jackson and took a job coaching at Belhaven College. Many Jacksonians will remember him as the official scorekeeper for the high school basketball championships at "the big house."

September 6, 2013

Mississippi College Set to Rejoin Divison II

By Tyler Cleveland

The Mississippi College Athletic Department was proud to announce earlier today the National Collegiate Athletic Association has granted the school permission to rejoin Division II. The JFP received this press release just before noon:

Mississippi College can now move forward to become an NCAA Division II member and rejoin the Gulf South Conference, NCAA officials said Friday.

After being initially turned down earlier this summer, Mississippi College leaders appealed. The NCAA Membership Committee overturned the earlier decision to pave the way for acceptance into the Division II membership process.

“We’re on our way to Division II,” MC Vice President for Advancement Bill Townsend said today. “It’s a great day for Mississippi College athletics and athletes.”

Returning to the Gulf South Conference – MC was a member from 1972 through 1996 – the Choctaws will renew rivalries with teams like Delta State, West Alabama, Valdosta State, North Alabama, and face new Baptist-affiliated opponents like Union University of Jackson, Tennessee and Shorter University of Rome, Georgia.

“This is a great day for the Gulf South Conference,” said GSC Commissioner Michael Salant, who was reached in New York at the time of the announcement on the Clinton campus.

With the additions of all-sports members Shorter, Union, Lee University and Mississippi College plus Florida Tech in football and West Florida to start football, the GSC, “is more cohesive and stronger than it probably ever has been,” he said.

“It’s great to renew old rivalries and establish some new ones,” said Townsend, who worked on the appeal in recent weeks with MC trustee Andy Taggart and others at the Christian university. “As we transition into Division II, we will miss our American Southwest Conference friends.”

MC President Lee Royce and Athletic Director Mike Jones scheduled a press conference at noon at the A.E. Wood Coliseum to discuss details of the move from NCAA Division III to Division II.

There is a lengthy process involved as Mississippi College becomes part of the Division II candidacy starting with the 2013-14 academic year.

MC leaders will need to continue to meet with NCAA leaders every year for three years to remain in good standing.

Why go Division II?

In terms of academics and stronger retention efforts, MC leaders say they are pleased to be one of the 300 NCAA Division II colleges and universities nationwide that count 100,000 student-athletes on their rosters. NCAA reports show 73 percent of the freshmen Division II athletes who entered school in 2004 received college degrees six years later.

The move to play athletic opponents in the region in the Birmingham-based Gulf South Conference will greatly reduce travel time for MC student-athletes and enable the Choctaws to receive greater media exposure around the South and nation. Every fall, CSS broadcasts GSC games of the week.

Mississippi College student-athletes were pleased to hear that the Baptist-affiliated school will be returning to the GSC and Division II. It means athletic scholarships will become available once again for MC students who participate in the 15 NCAA ...

August 23, 2013

Spoiled on Football

By Tyler Cleveland

Last night was a treat.

The football season officially kicked off with No. 1 Brandon defeating No. 6 Madison Central 21-14 in front of an estimated crowd of 9,000 interested onlookers at Madison's Jaguar Field.

The Bulldogs (1-0) broke a 14-14 tie late in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard Devin Wilson touchdown run. Brandon's highly-touted quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 15 of 28 passes for 216 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and completed a 47-yard pass to Chris Ward to set up the final touchdown.

July 15, 2013

Puckett Honored by MSHOF

By Tyler Cleveland

From a Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame release:

Ben Puckett, a businessman and philanthropist who was passionate about Mississippi sports, will receive the second annual Rube Award at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s 51induction banquet August 2.

The Rube Award, named for long-time Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum executive director Michael Rubenstein, goes annually to a person whose love and passion for — and contributions to — Mississippi sports have made a meaningful difference. Mississippi baseball legend Boo Ferriss won the first Rube Award.

The award’s winner is selected by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors.

Puckett, who died on June 2, spearheaded Mississippi’s Olympic efforts for 26 years. He served as the United States Olympic Committee Mississippi State Chairman for 16 years and as co-chairman for another 10 years. The Ben Puckett family has sponsored the Olympic Room in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum since the shrine opened on July 4, 1996. In 1996, Puckett led a successful effort to have international Olympic teams come to Mississippi to train for the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Cal Wells, a Jackson attorney and long-time friend of Puckett’s remembers Ben’s passion for life and the Olympics.

“Ben had an energy level that was unbelievable; nobody could keep up with him,” Wells said. “I think his love for the Olympics went back to the first games he attended in 1968 at Mexico City. He loved the competition. He was a competitor himself and he loved watching great athletes compete.”

Puckett was a Mississippi State graduate and a huge supporter of Mississippi State athletics. Said long-time Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton, “Mississippi State was his school, and he was proud of it, and he was 100 percent behind us all the time. He was a great fan, one that never complained and always wanted to help. He made his contributions behind the scene. He didn't want publicity; he just wanted to make us better.”

Ben Puckett also gave his time and his money to support high school sports and the YMCA.

Tickets to the August 2 induction banquet are available by calling (601) 982-8264. Joining the late Rubenstein as inductees in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 will be Bill Buckner, Jimmie Giles, Gerald Glass, Larry “Doc” Harrington and Langston Rogers.

June 25, 2013

Bulldogs Down, But Not Out, at CWS

By Tyler Cleveland

After dropping the opening game of the best-of-three College World Series Championship at Omaha, Neb. Monday night, Mississippi State will need to win two games in a row to capture the school's first national championship.

The Bulldogs (51-19) will face the UCLA Bruins (48-17) in Game 2 tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

UCLA starting pitcher Adam Plutko lifted the Bruins, scattering four hits over six innings of work before he left the game with the 3-1 lead. Including Monday night's win, the Bruins have only allowed seven runs in their past seven games combined.

Mississippi State will have to break that streak by getting some key hits, a feat they struggled with Monday night. The Bulldogs were sluggish out of the gate, and Plutko retired the first 10 hitters before Alex Detz singled with one out in the fourth inning.

June 24, 2013

MSU Opens Championship Series Today

By Tyler Cleveland

The Mississippi State baseball team opens play in the best-of-three national championship series at 7 p.m. tonight against the UCLA Bruins in Omaha. It is the first time a team from Mississippi has garnered a berth in the series.

The Bulldogs (51-18) will send Trevor Fitts (0-0) to the mound, while the Bruins coach John Savage has penciled in Adam Plutko (9-3) as his starter. Mississippi State is undefeated in three games so far at T.D. Ameritrade Park after sandwiching a pair of wins against Oregon State around a win over Indiana last week.

ESPN will air the game starting at 7 p.m. and a broadcast is available for online streaming at www.watchESPN.com.

June 21, 2013 | 3 comments

We Should All Be Bulldogs

By bryanflynn

I've seen a lot of comments of Facebook, Twitter and other social media or in just every day conversation of should Ole Miss fans root for Mississippi State in the College World Series?

One thing is for sure, the rest of the SEC is rooting for MSU to win a national championship. You will hear a loud and proud "SEC" chant breakout today if the Bulldogs beat Oregon State when the two teams meet today at 2 pm on ESPN.

SEC fans have pulled for the SEC team in the national championship game for football while the conference has won seven straight titles. SEC fans have rooted for Florida and Kentucky when they were playing for a national title in basketball.

South Carolina, LSU and Georgia have gotten love when playing for the title in previous College World Series. It stands to reason that the other 12 members not named Ole Miss will be rooting for the Bulldogs.

Which brings me back to my original question. Should Ole Miss fans root for Mississippi State?

I believe the Rebels fans out there should swallow their hatred of their arch-rival for just a bit. Ole Miss fans should root for Mississippi State to win the College World Series or at least until the Bulldogs get eliminated (knock on wood that they don't).

I will take it a step farther. As a state we should get behind this baseball team.

For the next few days, there shouldn't be Golden Eagles. There shouldn't be Tigers.

There shouldn't be Braves, or Delta Devils. No Statesmen/Fighting Okra, Choctaws, Majors Blazers, or anything mascot.

We should all be Bulldogs. If just for awhile.

When Millsaps was in the Division III College World Series, this year, we all should have been Majors. When Delta State was playing for a Division II national championship in football, in 2010, we all should have been Statesmen or at least Fighting Okra.

We all should have been Tigers last fall when Jackson State was playing in the SWAC Championship Game.

Anytime we have a school that can accomplish something special, we should put our allegiances aside for awhile and support one of our state schools.

I always support our schools when they are playing for something special. I rooted for all the schools mentioned above and Ole Miss this year in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

It is a personal decision but I feel it is o.k. to let go of rooting for my school (if I had a school) when the school I root (theoretically) can't accomplish the same goal. I rooted for both MSU and Ole Miss in their bowl games last season.

I root for our schools to do well because it also spotlights our state for something positive. Even if you don't agree with college athletics, these young men are putting the best face forward for our state.

We should all be Bulldogs. We should all be Maroon and White. ...

February 4, 2013

U.S. Begins World Cup Qualifiers: What to Watch

By Jacob Fuller

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2013/feb/04/10128/

The U.S. Men’s Natoinal Team begins the final round of World Cup Qualifying Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Honduras in the city of San Pedro Sula. Here’s what to watch for in 2013 as The Yanks try to earn a spot in Brazil in 2014.

If/When Landon Donovan will join the team. The 30-year-old forward has been the face of U.S. soccer since being named “Best Young Player” at the 2002 World Cup. Donovan told the media he needed a break in October 2012, due to physical and mental exhaustion.

I've never been a fan of Donovan's on-the-field attitude. In recent years, he's clearly not been enjoying the game the way he should. USMNT needs him to get his head straight, though, because there's no American who can match his combination of speed, vision, passing efficiency, timing and shot and set-piece accuracy.

He won’t play in Honduras Wednesday. Just when the U.S.’s all-time assists and goals leader will join the team is even more pressing considering the team faces rival Mexico in Mexico City on March 26, where the U.S. won for the first time Aug. 15, 2012.

Subquestion: Can he be the leader the U.S. needs him to be if/when he returns to the pitch?

Will outside backs emerge? Injuries to Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson have left the U.S. team with little international experience at outside back, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is searching for answers. Outside backs Tony Beltran and Justin Morrow, and center back Matt Besler made their U.S. soccer debuts against Canada Jan. 29, all in starting roles. They played well, allowing Canada just one shot on target in the 0-0 match.

Whoever Klinsmann puts on the back line against Honduras will face a better team with a lot more on the line, though. Goalkeeper Tim Howard may have a heavy shot load to take on Wednesday.

Will Jozy Altidore take the next step? The 23-year-old striker has scored 13 goals in 51 appearances for the U.S. since 2007. His 2010 World Cup performances were riddled with missed chances and squandered opportunities, though.

Altidore has 15 goals in 19 Dutch Eredivisie league appearances for AZ Alkmaar this season, despite facing racist taunts from opposing fans. If he can carry that composure over into international competition, the U.S. could have the star striker it so desperately needs.

How good is Dempsey? After finishing tied for fourth in the English Premier League last season with 17 goals while playing for Fulham, Dempsey has just five goals in 19 league matches for Tottenham Hotspur this season.

With two double-digit goal scorers on the team, Tottenham doesn’t rely on Dempsey to score as much as Fulham did. There is one thing for certain, though. For the U.S. to go very far in next year’s World Cup, or to even qualify this year, Dempsey will have to create chances on goal, and capitalize when he does.

Can The Yanks find ...

December 7, 2012

Jackson State meets Arkansas-Pine Bluff for 2012 SWAC Football Championship Saturday

By bryanflynn

When [Jackson State][1] (7-4)meets Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-2) in the SWAC Football Championship Game this Saturday the Tigers will be looking for their first conference title since 2007 and to add to their 16th conference titles. Only [Southern][2] with 17 titles and [Grambling State][3] with 23 titles have more SWAC titles than JSU.

November 5, 2012

Eagles Hope to Put Another Nail in the Saints Playoff Coffin

By bryanflynn

Monday night football, tonight, will end the debate of who has been more underachieving in the NFC this season. New Orleans (2-5) faces Philadelphia (3-4) in a game many would have thought before the season was a playoff preview. That was before the Saints stumbled out of the gate losing their first four games and the Eagles lost four of their last five games. Now both of these teams come into this game knowing that loss could damage their their playoff hopes beyond repair.

November 3, 2012

Bowl Hopes & Undefeated Tests with Week 10 Picks

By bryanflynn

The quest for six wins for 70 teams continues this week. Currently there are 42 teams that are bowl eligible and five of those teams are undefeated and still in play for the national championship. Ohio State is also undefeated but unable to play for the title due to NCAA sanctions. Speaking of teams not able to play in a bowl game, there are 25 teams unable to play in a bowl game currently due to seven losses, NCAA sanctions or moving from FCS to FBS transition.

November 2, 2012

Weekly Look Back & Look Forward: Heading to Week 10

By bryanflynn

Last week was a tough week for the college football teams in Mississippi. Nearly every team lost but Ole Miss and Belhaven. It was the type of week you just want to forget about but if you missed any of last week's action you can pick up the current issue of the JFP and read the round up or [follow this link][1]. Things don't get any easier this week for college football teams in Mississippi. Southern Miss is still searching for win one, Mississippi State faces a tough test in Texas A&M and Ole Miss will look to avoid a blowout against Georgia.

November 1, 2012

NFL: Quick Thoughts & Week Nine Picks

By bryanflynn

Sure it is November but that doesn't mean I won't dole out some late treats to you guys a day after Halloween. Before you settle in to see the Loser Gets Fired Bowl tonight night between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs, I have two great stats I found this week for you.

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