MWN Mailbag: Waiting on a Bowl


Nov 1, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs fans fly the American flag during the game at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season for college football has come to a close. Now we sit around until Sunday night to figure out our Bowl destination. It’s looking like a strong possibility for Peach or Cotton, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday. So until then, let’s open up the mailbag and see what was on your mind.

The hit CD is referring to is the one where Trae Elston hit Dak after the whistle blew to blow a play dead inside the Ole Miss 10. Mississippi State fans and Ole Miss fans see this hit in completely different lights. Mississippi State fans call it a cheap shot because it was after the whistle. Ole Miss fans say Elston just saw Dak running toward the end zone and tried to make a play. The argument State fans give is that you could tell Dak had started to slow up by the time Elston got there, which is when Dak heard the whistle. Ole Miss fans are arguing that Dak never should have been going toward the end zone. It’s a pointless debate. To answer the question about possibly not being able to see clearly? I think he might have been a little shook up, but not bad. The problem wasn’t being able to see straight to throw well, it was a bad play call in my opinion. Coaches love to call corner fade routes when they get close to the end zone despite the fact that they rarely work. Both passes were that exact call, and I believe that had more to do with the errant throws than anything else.

It’s hard to say because this isn’t something you can quantify. It’s also much more difficult to answer simply because the circumstances surround the teams going into the games were almost the exact same, you just had to flip the script for the schools. Ole Miss entered Starkville last season as a slight favorite over a Bulldogs team that spent the entire year battling injuries and had to resort to their 3rd string quarterback to start the game. Mississippi State entered Oxford as a slight favorite with Ole Miss battling injuries to Bo Wallace and their best play maker at wide receiver being out of the game. Fans of both road teams thought everything lined up in their favor, and those fans walked away trying to figure out what happened.

If I had to pick a side that is more salty, I’d guess Mississippi State fans are. They had so much on the line in that game, and to walk away with a loss really stung. For Ole Miss in 2013, they would have liked to have won, but it really would not have changed their season that much. So I will just take a guess and go with State fans.

This is probably the most important question on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line is losing four starters, so they are going to have to plug some holes. As of right now, I’d lean towards these five guys having the edge to start in 2015.

  • Justin Senior
  • Jamal Clayborn
  • Devon Desper
  • Justin Malone
  • Deion Calhoun

You could also easily make a case for Jocquell Johnson and Rufus Warren. Some have asked if Damien Robinson is going to petition for another year of eligibility. He might, and if he does, great for him but I think we are past the point of Robinson ever helping us out on the offensive line. He came to State with high hopes, but it just hasn’t worked out for him.

Jumping straight to baseball? Sure, why not. I haven’t looked a whole lot at what all we have coming back yet. We should be solid on the pitching front. Probably the most important thing for the team to do is develop some offensive identity. The amount of scoring opportunities we left on the field last year was beyond frustrating. If we don’t score a few more runs and take advantage of those opportunities then I don’t see the year playing out any differently than last year. After that, we have to find our weekend rotation and find it quickly. I know Cohen would love to move Ross Mitchell back to the bullpen, and if he does, that would help out tremendously. While our pitching was really good last year, it wasn’t a complete shutdown type of staff that State has relied on for so many years. I think the team has the potential to at least host a regional, so that is where I have my sights for 2015.

I know there are already coaches waiting to pounce on UAB, but I’m not ready to go there. What is happening at UAB is just a travesty. If the coaches feel like there is a player from that program that could help Mississippi State out, they should absolutely try to get them. But as a fan, I’m not ready to think about pillaging that school for their players. There will be a number of guys that get picked up by other schools, but some of them, maybe even the majority of them, will have no other options and will now have to find a way to pay for school if they want to continue their education.

I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t. As long as there are still tickets, the school is going to do everything they can to make the Bulldog Club happy. The Bulldog Club is the lifeblood of the entire athletics program, so the school will always try to keep them happy. The only way I see this not happening is if there just aren’t any more tickets to be had.

Well lookie here. Acey Roberts, one of the writers at and co-host of Make It Rain Sports on Bulldogs Sports Radio and Rebels Sports Radio with our very own Jake Wimberly, decided to ask us a question. Sure, it’s more of a troll question than anything else, but trolling has never really bothered me. So lets get out the chisel and chip away at the troll outer shell and shine it up a little bit and see if we can get Acey some much needed info.

What Acey is referring to is the belief, real or not, that Mississippi State quarterbacks seem to regress tremendously in their senior seasons. Is this real or just a figment of our imagination because it has happened once or twice? I will point out that this isn’t just an Ole Miss belief. There are others that have talked about this trend as well. It’s not that easy to answer because so many of the quarterbacks the Bulldogs have had have never been very good.

I’m going to throw out the likes of Omar Conner, Mike Henig, and Tyson Lee. They weren’t very good to begin with, so even if they did have a “senior curse” you’d be comparing awfulness to awfulness. The quarterbacks that have gotten this curse going are Tyler Russell, Chris Relf, Kevin Fant, Wayne Madkin, Matt Wyatt, and Derrick Taite.

The curse could easily be applied to Relf, Madkin, and Taite. All three had far worse senior seasons than they did any other season, and it opened the door for freshmen to step in and take over. Relf’s regression is overblown. He was never a good passer, but because he ended 2010 with three stellar passing games, everyone assumed he had made great strides in that department. What was actually going on was Relf thrived on some terrible defenses those final three games in 2010. Madkin saw the superior defense and running game of 2000 completely disappear. That had as much to do with Madkin’s decline as anything else.  With Taite, I honestly don’t remember. I just know he struggled enough that it opened the door for Matt Wyatt to take over. Kevin Fant also had a terrible senior season, but he was on four bad teams, and who knows what he might have been like had he been on a team that was actually decent.

Matt Wyatt is a different case completely. His struggles actually started his junior year. He didn’t throw a single touchdown that season, and Madkin took over in 1998 and helped lead the team to the SEC West title. But his senior season was completely different. He gained a reputation as a comeback king, and led the Bulldogs to some stunning drives late in ball games to improbable victories.

With Russell, he was cursed more with injuries. He actually played well when he played, but he was constantly in and out due to various injuries. Russell holds the school record for completion percentage in a season at 65% his senior year. He threw 5 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. His problem wasn’t production, it was just staying healthy. Now, it was obvious the offense wasn’t as productive under Russell, but that had more to do with a clash of styles. Russell was a pocket quarterback and the offense needs a dual threat player for Mullen’s system to work.

So will Dak get bitten by this “senior curse”? If he does, I would lean towards it being the kind of curse that Russell suffered. All the other quarterbacks who have seen this happen to them were never really great quarterbacks to begin with. So the fact that they regressed isn’t that surprising. Dak has proven to be a talented player that has improved since his freshman year. The concern with Dak, especially next year, will be injury. The second string offensive line received some playing time this season, but they are losing a lot of experience on the offensive line. If they don’t gel quick enough, then Prescott could be left in some tough spots. Factor in that Dak likes to run the ball, and it is an integral part of the Mullen offense, and you could end up with a volatile mix. Finding five guys who can protect Dak will be a priority during the off season.