Big football weekend more than just the Big Two
Published 11:15 am Thursday, October 2, 2014
Something weird is going on around here.
Somehow, some way, through a confluence of events that’s about as rare as Halley’s Comet passing overhead while the Loch Ness Monster swims laps in the river, Mississippi has become the center of the college football universe.
On Saturday, ESPN’s “College GameDay” show will visit Oxford for the first time, and the SEC Network’s pregame show will emanate from Starkville. Those will lead in to the Ole Miss-Alabama and Mississippi State-Texas A&M games, respectively, but the big weekend actually starts a little earlier than that.
Tonight in Lorman, Vicksburg native Jay Hopson will coach his Alcorn State Braves against Alabama State in a huge Southwestern Athletic Conference game. It won’t have the glitz and glamour of the marquee Saturday games, but will be shown to a national audience on ESPNU.
It should be worth your time, if you lose interest in the NFL blowout of the week over on CBS. Alcorn ranks second in the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing offense, and Alabama State is seventh. The winner will probably go on to win the SWAC’s Eastern Division and play in the conference championship game.
Delta State and Mississippi College also play tonight, and Hinds Community College is home against East Central, if the Division II or junior college game is more to your liking.
High school football takes over on Friday night, and locally there’s three huge games on tap — sadly, though, only one of them is in town.
Vicksburg plays at undefeated Germantown in a game that will likely determine whether the Gators are playing for a region championship the rest of the way or merely a playoff spot.
Porters Chapel ventures across the Mississippi River to take on another undefeated team, Riverfield, as it fights for its playoff life. The Eagles are struggling at 1-5, but somehow still alive thanks to the MAIS wild card system. They’ll probably need to pull off an upset to get into the postseason, though.
Warren Central heads up Highway 61 to Greenville in what ought to be little more than a tune-up for next week’s showdown with Madison Central.
And, finally, here at home, St. Aloysius takes on John F. Kennedy in what’s literally the only game in town. It’s a key matchup in Region 2-1A, and a chance for the Flashes to clinch a winning season.
Further into the weekend, the Saints are home in the Superdome on Sunday and there’s enough NFL action on the TV to turn you into a drooling zombie.
All of that is sandwiched, of course, around the main event on Saturday. Ole Miss and Mississippi State have a chance to make a huge statement, and we’ll know by dinner time whether they can keep dreaming of a national championship, or just keep dreaming that they’ll ever belong in the conversation.
Win or lose, though, it’ll be a memorable day — and a memorable weekend — for the Magnolia State’s football fans. Savor it. These days don’t come around very often.
Ernest Bowker is a sports writer. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, Ext. 145 or by email at email@example.com