Sunday, 19 September 2004

Croom loss buried?

The interesting thing about Mississippi State’s Saturday loss to division I-AA Maine isn’t that it happened—it’s that I had to learn about it from the Clarion-Ledger. Surely ESPN, only two weeks out from its hagiographic profile of “history-making” Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom, just was too busy during “College Gameday Final” to mention the upset and the Bulldogs’ fall below .500; after all, there were critical highlights to be shown from Florida Atlantic’s win over Middle Tennessee State.


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Still chafing over that one. There were at least two blown calls, one of which cost us a touchdown.

Why is the media not covering it? Probably because it ruins the narrative. Nevermind that it’s his first year as coach, he inherited a team that’s in complete disarray and might be headed into NCAA sanctions.

From everything I’ve been able to gather, Croom will make a fine coach—the players love him (I’ve talked to three or four of them)—and needs time to create a team from this wreckage. He also seems to be quite serious about making them focus on academics, which is a relief, though it might hurt player quality.

He’ll be given a break for the next couple of seasons while he builds his team. In the mean time you can’t walk across campus without seeing a shirt that says “The Only Color That Matters Is Maroon”.


I have no doubt that Croom is a great coach and will do (reasonably) well in Starkville in the long run.

Actually, what I think bothers me about it is that they’re possibly going out of their way to give him a break—as if the folks in Starkville need the validation (or lack thereof) of Mark May and Trev Alberts to go on a rampage about Croom’s 1–2 start, or like there’s some widespread underground movement to get Croom fired because he’s black comparable to Mike Wilbon’s increasingly annoying “the Irish really want to fire Ty Willingham” theory.

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