September 11, 2018 8:19:45 AM
FIRST DOWN: Not the sellout I want
Mississippi State announced yesterday that the Florida game is officially sold out. Of course this makes sense, and we all know why this game is sold out -- let's say it's not exactly for football reasons, whatever, I'm tired of all of that. All I ask is the game that needs to be sold out for football reasons ultimately sells out.
The Auburn game the week after Florida could easily be the biggest game in Starkville since this exact game in 2014. Auburn is already a top 10 team, No. 7 in the AP Poll, and is unlikely to drop out unless it loses to LSU; MSU is No. 16 and could easily move up a few more spots if it beats Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida. If all that takes place -- and it seems more likely than not -- that game is infinitely more important than the Florida game. I'm confident it will sell out, but if it doesn't, I'm going to be bummed.
SECOND DOWN: UL Lafayette take
In 1995, the state of Louisiana passed legislation allowing the universities of its University of Louisiana system to rebrand themselves. Southwestern Louisiana became University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Northeastern Louisiana became University of Louisiana at Monroe in the next four years. All of both schools' modern headlines came under those monikers: ULM was ULM when it beat Alabama, it was ULM when it made headlines in changing its mascot from Indians to Warhawks and it was ULM when it joined the Sun Belt in 2001. ULL was ULL when it joined the Sun Belt in 2001 and it was ULL when it was good in the early 2010s under Mark Hudspeth. Nationally, both of those schools are known as UL/UL Lafayette and ULM/UL Monroe.
Now the Ragin' Cajuns are trying to tell you the University of Louisiana is coming to Starkville. Even though the law tells you such a thing does not exist.
That law in 1995? It states the schools must reference their host cities in their name.
Yet, UL Lafayette athletics is ignoring it. It's important to mention that the in-state debate has skewed toward the law not applying to athletics -- plus, ULM inexplicably hasn't fought that hard and allowed this to happen. It's so clear that this is nothing more than a branding effort -- why would a university rebrand itself unless it has something to gain? -- and I'm sure there are things to gain by labelling yourself as the flagship university of a state as prideful as Louisiana.
In my opinion, this is a simple matter. UL Lafayette is who you are to the majority, just like the University of Texas at Austin is Texas and the University of Mississippi is Ole Miss to the grander college football world. People would look at me funny if I referenced either of those two schools as the former name, just because it's weird; just like it's weird to reference a standalone University of Louisiana when the majority has never known one to exist.
(Hello, friends from the bayou. I'm sure there's some Louisiana person out there who's going to read this, get #triggered and share it out in the UL Lafayette Internet so you all can get mad and scream at me, and that's fine. Just letting you know here that I don't care and I'm not gonna respond. I'm perfectly comfortable in angering niche Louisiana Internet; ask Louisiana Tech fans about my take on Johnny's Pizza.)
THIRD DOWN: Feature receivers?
I saw an interesting number in the box score from the Kansas State game that I didn't end up writing about because, frankly, I'm not 100 percent sure what it means yet. Of Nick Fitzgerald's 27 pass attempts, 25 of them were attributed as targeted for a specific person. Of those 25 attempts, 14 of them (56 percent) went to three guys: Stephen Guidry, Osirus Mitchell and Austin Williams. I wonder if this goes further and how far it goes, if it does.
FOURTH DOWN: #EveryoneSucksSZN
Folks, we are two weeks into the college football season, and that means one thing: Everyone is bad.
This is one of my favorite parts of then college football season. You see, as we go from projection-based predictions (preseason) to data-based predictions (actual games), this is the sweet spot where people seem to ditch their projections and go straight to data when the data isn't ready yet. That's why there's this uncanny ability to make it seem as if everyone sucks. It's pretty simple, really: if you lose, you're bad, but if you win, you're still bad because you're only beating teams that are bad.
Run through some examples. Texas is bad (b-a-d, not b-a-c-k) because they lost to Maryland, but Maryland is also bad because they barely beat Texas, who we just said is bad. Texas Tech is bad because they got blown out in Week 1, but since that's Ole Miss' only legit win, Ole Miss is officially bad, too. Stanford is bad because their best win is over USC, who is bad because they lost to Stanford. What wonderful logic this is, huh?
Congrats, ladies and gents. Your team sucks -- doesn't matter who your team is -- but don't worry, everyone else's team sucks, too. But never fear, friend, because a month from now, teams that are actually just OK will be incredible because they've loaded five of their eight wins for the season in the first six weeks. This is how college football logic works.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson