Thursday, October 18, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
C Spire Tech Movement, educators launch Software Development Pathway in select schools
Workers with a background in computer science are in high demand and short supply in Mississippi. That's why C Spire is partnering with Mississippi State University's new Center for Cyber Education. The effort is to boost technology workforce in the state by helping high school students start software development careers one year after graduation. The company is putting up more than a half-million dollars for the three-year pilot program unveiled Wednesday. "We're putting our money where our mouth is. We're actually putting in $550,000; over a half million dollars to this program," said Hu Meena, C Spire CEO. "That shows you how much we believe in it. It's over a three year period of which we will be making those disbursements." The program plans to train 30 teachers and provide 140 students a year with computer science job opportunities after two years of specialized and course work in high school and one year in community college.
To promote sustainability, Mississippi State opens community garden
The college in Starkville's full name is The Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science. In accordance with the second and less-publicized part of that name, MSU is hosting 'Green Week' this week. On Monday, the university opened a community garden on campus to forward its mission of helping feed the world while serving as an illustration of the three pillars of a land-grant institution learning, research and service. "(The garden) exemplifies Mississippi State University's commitment to solving one of the world's greatest challenges -- food insecurity," school president Mark E. Keenum said. "This garden will serve as a valuable resource for students, faculty and staff as they grow healthy food and conduct research and outreach, all of which will contribute to our overall efforts to eradicate hunger." Keenum is a former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As part of "Green Week," Mississippi State students and staff are cleaning a stream, sorting recycling and hosting a sustainability fair. Along with providing fresh and healthy food, the garden will double as a living classroom for MSU students.
Campus leaders celebrate MSU Community Garden
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, students and faculty celebrated the grand opening of the MSU Community Garden on campus as a start to Green Week. The garden was a student-led initiative. It features various technology throughout including a farm box, compost, trellis, pergola, a water wicking system, water and irrigation systems and benches. "We are excited that two years later it's open," said Student Body President Mayah Emerson. In his speech Keenum addressed the importance of making a difference collaboratively as a land-grant university. He stated many students who attend MSU weren't raised by families that had gardens or agriculture. It's a new phenomenon for their students. "I grew up in a family that had a garden and I worked in that garden," Keenum said. "I understand the value of literally the fruits of your labor, harvesting your produce from your garden."
Local utilities workers, firefighters encounter 'overwhelming' damage in Florida panhandle
For 4-County Electric Power Association, working in response to Hurricane Michael on the Florida panhandle has meant living out of a tent city. "It's basically just a big old white tent," said team leader Time Adkins "You can hold up to 300 men in each tent they've placed out there. The place where we sleep is lined with cots, and they've provided us with pillows and blankets. "There's an 18-wheeler out there with about 12 showers in it," he added. "We all sort of have to fight for who goes first." Adkins, who is from Columbus, said work to assist the West Florida Electric Cooperative runs from sunup to sundown, with only devastation to look at on the trip from their tent just east of Marianna, Florida, to where the crew is working in Blountstown, Florida. It's not the first storm recovery trip for the crew, Adkins said, but it is the worst. Starkville Utilities Department also sent a five-man crew to Tallahassee. Its members returned to Starkville on Wednesday afternoon.
'The Reckoning,' by John Grisham review: New novel wades into Mississippi's racist past
In his new novel "The Reckoning" John Grisham returns to the mythical town of Clanton, Mississippi, the setting of his career-launching novel "A Time to Kill," published 30 years ago. He's revisited this racially divided community several times -- in "The Last Juror," "Sycamore Row" and the short-story collection, "Ford County." Each takes place in a different time period. "The Reckoning" is set in 1946, when World War II hero Pete Banning returns home a changed man, packing his wife off to an insane asylum and the shooting the town's popular Methodist minister, refusing to explain either action. Against this backdrop, Grisham continues the rich literary tradition of Southern authors confronting a culture of white supremacy and its offspring: corruption, violence and a general cultural miasma.
East Mississippi Business Development Corporation forced to make cuts
The East Mississippi Business Development Corporation has had to make some recent cuts. President Bill Hannah says the budget was reduced for the 2018-2019 year. Multiple people have been let go from the agency, and Hannah says they're doing what they can to settle those people into other jobs. Despite the cuts, the organization is remaining optimistic about the future. "EMBDC is not going anywhere. We have a very bright future because we represent and sell for a very bright community and a very bright region, so we're very positive about all that's coming," Hannah says. The EMBDC is having its annual meeting at the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian on Nov. 7 at 8 a.m.
Of Race and Republicans: The JFP Interview With Chris McDaniel
As a student at the University of Mississippi in the late '90s, Chris McDaniel often spent his free time stowed away at Oxford's Square Books, reading the likes of Willie Morris, John Kennedy Toole, William Faulkner and Robert Penn Warren. It was a time when the UM marching band still played "Dixie" as Rebels fans unapologetically waved the Confederate flag. Just after he graduated from UM Law School, the newly minted alum found himself talking to a journalist from across the country about issues of politics, race and Confederate history---a preview of things to come. "The flag is not a symbol of racism," McDaniel told a Newsday journalist who, in October 1997, was reporting on the school's continued use of the sounds and symbols that so many associate with American slavery. "Twelve percent of our students are African American. We want them here, we welcome them here. We want them to play football." More than 20 years later, McDaniel still spends a lot of time talking to the press about flags and race.
Senate candidate David Baria hosts town hall meeting in Vicksburg
State Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, stopped in Vicksburg Tuesday night for a town hall meeting ahead of the Nov. 6 general election as part of his campaign for U.S. Senate against Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. The race is one of two senate races on the ballot. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, and Democrat Mike Espy are running for the unexpired term of former Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired for health reasons. "I know where he stands," State Rep. Oscar Denton, D-Vicksburg, said as he introduced Baria to the supporters and interested people attending the meeting. "He stands with us on the issues of education, he stands with us on health care, he's trying to do something better for the state of Mississippi." Baria took a variety of questions.
Sen. Walter Michel says Jackson not slighted by lawmakers during special session
Jackson is getting just $50,000 of the $110 million in BP settlement funds doled out in the recent special session, but District 25 Sen. Walter Michel says the city got a good deal. The Mississippi Legislature held a special session recently, where lawmakers passed bills creating a state lottery, divvying up internet use revenues and allocating BP oil settlement funds. The city is set to receive $50,000 of the BP funds to repair the Hawthorn Drive bridge. By comparison, Madison County received $8 million for the Reunion Parkway project; Rankin County received $8 million for the East Metro Parkway; and Hinds County received $2 million for the Byram-Clinton Parkway. Michel said Jackson was left out, in large part, because lawmakers approved major legislation for the city in 2017.
Potential 2020 candidate Joe Biden in Memphis: 'Battle for the soul' of U.S. at stake
A 'battle for the soul' of the United States is taking place, former vice president and potential 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday night in Memphis, where he called for energy, leadership and a renewed commitment to civil rights and justice. "Much of what you accomplished is under siege now like no time since I've been involved in public life ... We need to renew the struggle now," Biden said after accepting the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. "We need to renew the fight." Biden said hate and lost souls "who long stained our history" came to the deadly Unite the Right rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia where they chanted the "same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in the streets of Nuremberg, Munich and throughout Germany." Biden was tearful at the start of his speech after hearing a video tribute to his accomplishments narrated by his daughter and accepting the civil rights museum's Freedom Award, which he called the greatest honor he'd ever received.
The Race Is On to Feed China's Giant Appetite for Pork -- and the U.S. Is Losing
China has the world's biggest appetite for pork. It's such a beloved staple that the written Chinese character for "home" depicts a pig inside a house. U.S. producers banked on that business being around for years. That's changed. As a result of the Trump administration's clash with Beijing over trade, China's tariffs on U.S. pork have climbed as high as 70%, making U.S. imports more expensive. At the same time, an outbreak of African swine fever in China has increased demand for imported pork. To fill the void, Chinese customers are increasingly looking to companies in Europe and South America to fill their orders---and those companies aim to turn that opportunity into long-term business. The shift raises the prospect of not just a short-term hiccup for American hog farmers, but a fundamental realignment in the global supply chain in one of the world's hungriest markets.
Exposed by Michael: Climate Threat to Warplanes at Coastal Bases
When Hurricane Michael wrecked much of Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla., last week, the storm exposed a significant military vulnerability. The base's F-22 stealth fighter jets may be unmatched in the skies, but they were all but defenseless on the ground, as the powerful storm ripped apart hangars, flooded buildings and scattered debris. Most of Tyndall's 55 F-22s were flown away to safety before the storm hit, but 17 of the aircraft had been grounded for maintenance and could not be made airworthy in time. The Air Force played down the harm this week, saying that all the aircraft could be repaired. But the military has more than a dozen air bases right on the coast in storm-prone southern states, where scientists predict that hurricanes will grow more intense and more frequent because of global warming. Hurricanes have been pummeling air bases since the days when the damage was measured in blimps. Hurricane Hugo ripped through Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina in 1989; Hurricane Andrew all but destroyed Homestead Air Force Base near Miami in 1992; and flooding from Hurricane Katrina caused nearly $1 billion in damage at Keesler Air Force Base on the Mississippi coast.
Ole Miss donor Ed Meek's name being removed after racist comment
A donor's name is being removed from the University of Mississippi journalism school after his Facebook post drew backlash for being racist. Trustees of the state College Board voted unanimously Thursday to strip Ed Meek's name from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The academic unit is now known just as the School of Journalism and New Media. Meek requested his name be removed days after posting photos last month of two black women in short dresses. He suggested they exemplified problems that threatened the economy of the college town of Oxford.
Ole Miss professor condemned for claiming senators 'don't deserve your civility'
An assistant professor at the University of Mississippi has come under fire for calling on people to interrupt and harass senators in public. Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter condemned a post on social media by Assistant Professor of Sociology James Thomas that encouraged "acts of aggression." "Don't just interrupt a Senator's meal, y'all. Put your whole damn fingers in their salads. Take their apps and distribute them to the other diners. Bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out," Thomas tweeted days after Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was harassed at a restaurant. "They don't deserve your civility." Vitter posted in response: "I urge all members of the Ole Miss community to demonstrate civility and respect for others and to honor the ideal of diversity of thought that is a foundational element of the academy."
Preventing the Spread of Infectious Diseases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99,000 people die nationwide from illnesses associated with infections which translates into an estimated $20 billion in healthcare costs. Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele is with University of Mississippi Medical Center. She's helps healthcare workers understand how easily infectious diseases spread. Dr. Navalkele says 1 out of every 25 patients will get an infection. "Everyday a patient has at least 20 to 25 people who are coming in and out of the patients room, which includes healthcare professionals, their families, visitors and any staff who is there taking care of the patient," said Navalkele. Dr. Navalkele says if anyone of those people doesn't wash their hands the patient could contract an infection. She says hand washing is critical in reducing that risk. Jimmy Epps is the Emergency Medical Services Coordinator with the Jackson Fire Department. They take preventing infections seriously. Epps says their gear serves as protection, but the value of hand washing can't be overstated.
U. of Southern Mississippi homecoming unifying school and community
When McKenna Stone was a freshman at the University of Southern Mississippi, she rarely ventured off campus. But now, as a senior and president of the Student Government Association, she takes advantage of all Hattiesburg has to offer. "I can't envision Southern Miss without envisioning Hattiesburg," she said. "It's one and the same to me." As USM students get ready for their annual homecoming parade and football game Saturday, they are getting support from the Hattiesburg community for their activities. Businesses are sporting the school's colors of black and gold, and some are even entering floats into the parade. The city of Hattiesburg is participating in the parade with a float of its own. "This week, we collectively celebrate the University of Southern Mississippi," said Mayor Toby Barker in an email. "This Homecoming Week affords us several opportunities to take part in rich traditions, reconnect with fellow alumni and grow our commitment to helping Southern Miss reach its incredible potential, which, in turn, will continue raising the profile of Hattiesburg as a destination city."
New digital fabrication center at USM available to students, public
A former book store at The Hub at the University of Southern Mississippi has been turned into a digital maker space that is available for both student and public use. The Eagle Maker Hub is the first of its kind at any university in the state. Digital fabrication tools at the facility will allow users to make many kinds of products. Some items already produced there include a 3D print-enhanced fiber optic wedding dress, a wheelchair for dogs, prosthetic hands and different types of robots. "We have 3D printers, we have a laser cutter, we have a large format printer, we have vinyl cutters, we have wood cutters," said Anna Wan, assistant professor of secondary mathematics and founder and director of the Eagle Maker Hub. "We're open to the public because we have cool technology that the public can come in and use as well."
Clinton man pleads guilty to 2017 armed carjacking at Mississippi College
Omar Bankhead, of Clinton, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to armed carjacking. On April 2, 2017, officers with the Clinton Police Department responded to a carjacking at Mississippi College. The victim reported sitting in the parking deck at Mississippi College when Bankhead got into her 2015 Kia Optima and ordered her out of the vehicle. Officers later recovered the vehicle in Illinois and Bankhead in Iowa. Bankhead, a previously convicted felon, will be sentenced by Judge Wingate on January 14, 2019, and faces a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U. of Alabama's Faculty Senate wants plans scrapped for evening parking permits
The University of Alabama Faculty Senate is asking the campus administration to scrap plans to implement an evening parking permit. "The sentiment is clear. We are opposed to the evening parking permit based on the information presented so far," said Faculty Senate President Rona Donahoe. The faculty senate voted Tuesday to make its opposition known and request the university not implement the new policy. The university announced the new evening permit in June as part of its parking fee adjustments for the academic year, but later decided to delay implementation until 2019 after it said the new requirement caught some by surprise. The $100 evening parking permit is meant for students and employees who work or attend class in the afternoon and evening after 3 p.m. and do not have another annual permit. For the spring, the permits will be prorated at $50, according to the UA Parking Services website. The other employee and student parking permits are still valid on campus 24 hours a day, according to the website.
New Vanderbilt poll finds Phil Bredesen with narrow edge over Marsha Blackburn in Senate race
Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen has a slight edge over Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee's U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University. The poll, released Thursday, found 44 percent of respondents said they would vote for Bredesen, compared to 43 percent for Blackburn. The former governor's narrow advantage over the Brentwood congressman, however, falls within the poll's margin of error, which is plus or minus 4.9 percent. Eight percent of respondents remained undecided on the race. Bredesen is bolstered in the survey thanks to support from women. Forty-nine percent of female respondents said they preferred Bredesen, while 37 percent favored Blackburn. Josh Clinton, a political science professor and co-director of the poll, said the latest poll indicates the race, which has drawn national interest given Republicans' narrow edge in the U.S. Senate, remains a toss-up. Vanderbilt's poll is the first survey in more than a month to show Bredesen with an edge over Blackburn.
Group to visit U. of Tennessee to encourage students to vote 'anti-abortion' in midterms
The group Created Equal is scheduled to be at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Thursday to encourage students to vote anti-abortion in the midterm elections but stopping short of any endorsements. House Republicans are defending dozens of seats across the country, including in some districts where President Donald Trump won by double digits. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to wrest the House majority from Republicans. President Trump held a recent rally in Johnson City to show his support for Tennessee GOP Senate candidate Marsh Blackburn, who is running against former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat. Created Equal is currently touring through four states and will also visit the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, on Friday, and Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University, though the dates for those visits weren't immediately available.
UGA's Lake Herrick reopened to the public
The University of Georgia on Wednesday officially re-opened its Lake Herrick for recreation, 16 years after administrators closed the little body of water amid pollution concerns. Now, after an extensive renovation project, UGA students, workers and the public can now launch kayaks, canoes and paddle boards on Lake Herrick. Fishing is also allowed at the lake, but not swimming. "We're here today to celebrate some of the more visible aspects of this project," said UGA President Jere Morehead at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon -- the renovation of the pavilion beside the lake and the opening up of the lake itself. Following the ribbon-cutting, workers with UGA's recreational sports department zipped across the lake in kayaks and canoes, which the department rents for use on the lake.
Florida's university performance funding set for changes
Florida university leaders want to revise the system's performance-funding model, looking to eliminate a dreaded "bottom three" that annually denies state money to the lowest-performing schools. In this academic year, Florida A&M University, the University of North Florida and New College of Florida missed out on shares of $265 million in state performance funding because they were ranked in the bottom three on a 100-point scale. The three schools lost out despite the fact that two of them, Florida A&M and the University of North Florida, improved their performances on an evaluation in June, while New College maintained its performance level from the prior year. But that penalty would be eliminated under a plan discussed Tuesday by the Budget and Finance Committee of the university system's Board of Governors during a meeting in Tampa.
Annual Pandemic Policy Summit at Texas A&M looks at latest outbreak of Ebola
The three-day Bush School of Government and Public Service and Scowcroft Institute's fourth annual Pandemic Policy Summit wrapped up Tuesday with a closing discussion that focused on the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The panel of five men gathered on stage at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center for the event, which was moderated by Peter Morris of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and US Agency for International Development. "The issues and major concern with our people in the field right now are what [are] considered low-contact tracing rate, low vaccination rates, community resistance to safe and dignified burials," said Morris, opening the discussion. "The majority of the cases are eight neighborhoods in [a certain DRC region], and of course the ongoing security issues. The response staff who do not speak Swahili or [another local language] are not well accepted in communities."
Grant will create U. of Missouri center to highlight benefits of science
Bringing the benefits of scientific research to society through public engagement is the goal of a $5.2 million National Science Foundation grant to establish the Advancing Research and its Impact on Society Center at the University of Missouri. While the MU News Bureau issues numerous news releases about scientific research almost every day, Susan Renoe, assistant vice chancellor for research, extension and engagement, said the ARIS Center goes beyond that. "We're talking about engagement, including stakeholders, to take that research in terms of a published article and translate it," Renoe said. Chancellor Alexander Cartwright set a goal in February of attracting three to five externally funded national research centers on campus in the next five years. The ARIS Center is the first.
Planned rule would establish maximum period of stay for student visa holders
The Trump administration published notice on Wednesday that it intends to propose a new rule in fall 2019 establishing a maximum period of authorized stay for international students and other holders of certain nonimmigrant visas. The government says the planned rule is "intended to decrease the incidence of nonimmigrant student overstays and improve the integrity of the nonimmigrant student visa." Advocates for international exchange are worried, however, that the introduction of such a rule could limit flexibility for international students and scholars and undercut efforts by U.S. universities to recruit them. The number of international students in the U.S. declined in the 2017-18 academic year after years of steady growth. Currently, student visas are generally valid for what's known as "duration of status," which means that international students in the U.S. can stay indefinitely as long as they maintain their status as students. Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, issued a statement describing the proposed change as a break with decades of precedent.
Disenchanted Ph.D. Recipients, Take Solace: It Gets Better, New Research Suggests
Graduate students in the humanities face many challenges. The academic job market keeps getting tighter, student debt loads bigger. A doctorate these days isn't worth it, critics have argued. But the results of a new survey, released on Thursday by the Council of Graduate Schools, push back a bit against that gloomy narrative. Doctoral recipients in the humanities say their Ph.D. programs prepared them well for their current jobs, whether academic or not, the research shows. And their perceptions seem to get rosier over time. Fifteen years after earning a Ph.D., for example, seven in 10 respondents in nonacademic careers said their programs had prepared them "extremely well" or "very well" for their current job. More than eight in 10 holding academic jobs said the same.
More college students expected to vote in 2018 midterms
In order to gain insight into the role that college students might play in the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6, The Conversation reached out to Nancy Thomas, director of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Thomas predicts a higher voter turnout among the nation's 20 million college students, a "formidable voting bloc" that she says was jolted to attention by the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president. But she also warns that personal and practical factors might impede the college vote.
College campuses are fighting outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease
Hundreds of students are falling ill with hand, foot and mouth disease at colleges in the East. The contagious viral infection spreads quickly and causes fever, sore throat and a rash on the mouth, hands and feet -- hence the name. Campuswide illness outbreaks are not uncommon -- in years past norovirus and mumps have plagued colleges -- but hand, foot and mouth is especially surprising given that it's typically found in children who are under the age of 5. "When you have populations that are in really close contact -- like college campuses or military bases -- it can spread easily," said Mark Reed, director of the Dartmouth College Health Service. Dartmouth, in New Hampshire, confirmed 50 cases this quarter, and Reed expects at least a few more. "It has slowed down, so we probably won't know for awhile [if it's contained], and my guess is that we'll probably have some more cases through the quarter," he said.
Elitist or Egalitarian: Competing Views of Harvard Emerge in Bias Trial
Two starkly different pictures of Harvard --- an elitist country club or an egalitarian engine for social change --- emerged on Wednesday in a federal trial examining whether the university discriminates against Asian-Americans. The competing views were raised in the testimony of the first witness, William Fitzsimmons, Harvard's longtime dean of admissions. In the plaintiffs' eyes, Mr. Fitzsimmons catered to privilege, allowing the offspring of big donors to get a leg up in the application process. To the defense, he was living proof of Harvard's effort to reach students of all backgrounds. He shared his compelling life story on the stand: the son of a gas station owner who was the first in his family to go to college, at Harvard.
Letters from prison paint awful picture
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: Over the years as a newspaper publisher, I have received dozens of letters from prison inmates seeking help. Typically, they write about horrendous conditions, unfair treatment, brutality or proclaim their innocence. I have read every one of these letters before throwing them into the trash with a tinge of guilt. What am I to do? Perhaps in the peak heyday of traditional media, the most successful newspapers had the resources to do such investigative journalism. Those days are long since gone. My small newspapers have always struggled to pay the bills. Most people have no idea how hard it is to publish a profitable media enterprise, especially in the days of Google and Facebook.

Why Mississippi State's defense has eyes on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow
LSU's Joe Burrow is the best quarterback Mississippi State will have faced through seven games this season, something hard to fathom at the start of this past summer. In May, Burrow came to LSU from Ohio State as a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility. He joined three quarterbacks on the Tigers' roster competing for the starting job. Then, two of them unexpectedly transferred in August, leaving sophomore Myles Brennan of Long Beach (Miss.) St. Stanislaus as Burrow's only competition. Burrow was named starter late in the preseason, and he's made the LSU coaching staff look incredibly smart for choosing him. Burrow has guided the Tigers to a 6-1 record (3-1 SEC West) and a No. 5 national ranking heading into Saturday's 6 p.m. game in Tiger Stadium against the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-2 SEC West). "From what I've read about him, he's my kind of guy," Mississippi State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said of Burrow. "He studies the game hard. He understands what it's all about."
Christmann helps anchor special teams unit at Mississippi State
Jace Christmann -- the same man that burst onto the scene by making his first nine field goals as a freshman -- was never guaranteed the starting job in the ensuing preseason. It speaks to the potential of the man he was battling with, Jordan Lawless, but it also speaks to the slump that engulfed Christmann in August. Christmann ultimately won the job, but that slump still showed in September, missing as many kicks in the first two weeks of the 2018 season as he did in all of 2017 (two). His recent performances make it all a distant memory. Christmann's resurgence has come with impeccable timing, as MSU needed his two field goals against Florida to stay within striking distance of the Gators and his three field goals to beat Auburn. As No. 24 MSU goes to No. 5 LSU (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), the Bulldogs are confident they have the Christmann of old back -- and so is he.
Mississippi State's Deion Calhoun made the best of his opportunity
Restoration Academy disbanded its football program following the 2014 season. One of the last remaining remnants of the Class A Alabama private school is still suiting up every Saturday as the starting right guard at Mississippi State. Deion Calhoun, class of 2014, was the first and only Restoration Academy player to be offered an FBS scholarship. "People were telling me to leave the school I was at because I wasn't being recruited," Calhoun said. "But I thought if I could play then somebody would find me. Mississippi State found me and I've made the best out of this opportunity. I worked hard, got a starting job and have been doing well." Calhoun has done so well that he has been a three-year starter for the Bulldogs and is considered one of the top guard prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. But it wasn't always that way. The 6-foot-3, 320-pounder from Pleasant Grove put in the work to transform himself from a raw high school talent into a 29-game starter in the Southeastern Conference. "I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I got here," Calhoun said.
Why Mississippi State's wide receivers remain optimistic this season
The Mississippi State wide receivers have a simple philosophy. With the way the Bulldogs' passing offense has operated this season, it's probably a hard one to stick to. But they try to anyway. "Don't look in the rearview mirror," redshirt freshman receiver Austin Williams said. If Williams were to look in it, his rearview mirror would show a deflating image. He had three catches for a total of four yards in his last two games. The further down the road he looks, it gets a little better. But not by much. He had four catches in the first three games of the season. Those went for 68 yards. Head coach Joe Moorhead said Williams was the most impressive wide out through spring ball and into fall camp. He hasn't quite lived up to expectations, but he's not alone. If the Bulldogs' receivers collectively looked in one giant rearview mirror together, they'd probably see a lot of footballs scattered across the ground.
LSU versus Mississippi State: Five memorable games
Tiger fans may regard Alabama, Auburn or Texas A&M as a bigger rival, but LSU has played no football foe more often than Mississippi State. Saturday's game marks the 112th meeting between the Tigers and Bulldogs. They have played every year except four since 1918, when LSU did not field a team because of World War I while State did not play in 1943 because of World War II. LSU has dominated the series in this century, winning 16 of the last 18 for a 73-35-3 lead overall. But State has won two of the last four meetings, including a 37-7 rout of LSU in Starkville in 2017.
Bulldogs, picked fourth, split on value of hype
Mississippi State, picked No. 12 in last year's preseason media poll, improved that standing by eight spots on Wednesday. If that opinion plays out the Bulldogs will get a double-bye in the SEC tournament in Nashville in March. A lot of voices outside the program are buying into the Bulldogs, who are coming off a 25-12 season and an appearance in the NIT semifinals. It was the Bulldogs' first winning season in six years, and with five starters and their top six scorers back, their first NCAA tournament since 2009 seems within reach. Inside the program not everyone thinks the preseason attention is a good thing. "I really don't like it," senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon said. "People are going to come out and play even harder against us just to prove a point. Since they're saying we're one of the best teams in the SEC, if they beat us, that means they're one of the best teams in the SEC."
Chloe Bibby ready to make strides in second season with Bulldogs
Chloe Bibby didn't have a check list of things she wanted to improve on leading up to her sophomore season. As a freshman on the Mississippi State women's basketball team, Bibby offered glimpses of the shooting, versatility, and international experience she could bring to the court. This season, Bibby is expected to be a key component on the 2018-19 squad, which is why she worked on all aspects of her game during the offseason to make sure she is ready for her chance to shine. "I knew I needed to improve my shot and be more consistent in that area," Bibby said. "You can always work on your defense because that is what (coach Vic Schaefer) is all about. That consistency part is key because we lost four key players who were able to knock down shots." On Thursday, Schaefer and seniors Teaira McCowan and Jazzmun Holmes will be in Birmingham, Alabama, to meet the media as part of the annual SEC Media Days. On Tuesday, the national media picked MSU first in the preseason Southeastern Conference poll.
MSU women's golf team finishes second at rain-shortened Magnolia Invitational
The Mississippi State women's golf team finished second Tuesday after rain forced the cancellation of the final round of the Magnolia Invitational at Old Waverly Golf Club. MSU completed a few holes before the rain set in. The rain and travel plans for some teams caused the final round to be called just after 9:15 a.m. "We hate that it ended without the opportunity to play heads up for the title in the final round, but weather is beyond our control." MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "Most importantly we were ready for this final round. To compete for a collegiate title is a feat in itself, and being at our home course was very special indeed. This team is working very hard and we are thrilled to have competed against and beat some very strong teams. With two events left for this fall season, we look to build off this strong showing." MSU will return to action in the Jim West Challenge on Oct. 28-29 in San Marcos, Texas.
Mississippi State's Ben Howland says Tennessee 'the team to beat'
Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said the media picked the wrong team to win the Southeastern Conference men's basketball title. Nothing against Kentucky; he just sees the returning talent at defending regular-season co-champion Tennessee and believes the Volunteers are "the team to beat." "They're the best team in our league going into the season, in my opinion, because of all the experience returning," Howland said of the Vols on Wednesday at SEC media day. "There's no doubt they're the team to beat in our conference."
Thanks to the NBA, the SEC might be ready to 'really take off'
As the common parlance puts it, college players test the waters by placing their names into an NBA Draft. Ultimately they must choose whether to remain in the draft or return to their college teams. For one Southeastern Conference player -- and for obvious reasons -- this basketball crossroads begat many punch lines this spring. By placing his name in this year's NBA Draft, LSU point guard Tremont Waters said he gained a nickname: "the H2O kid." Waters ultimately decided to return to LSU for his sophomore season. He was one of as many as 18 players who tested the waters, then decided to return to their SEC teams. League coaches at SEC Media Day on Wednesday saw this as a reason to believe the league's upward mobility of recent seasons may shift into overdrive.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva releases statement in support of basketball coach Will Wade
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva released a statement on Wednesday evening regarding the allegation brought forth in federal court on Tuesday that LSU basketball coach Will Wade discussed improper benefits in a wiretapped phone call. Alleva said in the statement that he believes Wade is "building a program marked" by "integrity and excellence." He also wrote that LSU is willing to work with the NCAA on this matter and all matters to ensure the university is adhering to compliance regulations. Earlier on Wednesday at the SEC media days, Wade denied doing "business of any kind" with Christian Dawkins, one of the defendants in the federal trial regarding corruption in college basketball. Wade also said "it was a little bit surprising" when he heard the news of his name coming up.
Paul Finebaum on Urban Meyer: 'I sense (his time) is coming to an end at Ohio State'
If Paul Finebaum is reading the signs right, then this will be the last season Urban Meyer is coaching at Ohio State. The SEC Network analyst talked about Meyer's future on ESPN's "Get Up!." "I sense (his time) is coming to an end at Ohio State," Finebaum said. "This is observational. I'm watching him. Don't forget the month of August, one of his worst months ever. I still feel like it's a bad marriage. We're hearing him talk about his health. Most coaches don't talk about their health unless it's a very serious situation. I think this is a precursor to him walking away at the end of the season much like he did 6 or 7 years ago at the University of Florida. "The signs are there." August, of course, was when the Ohio State coach was suspended for three games for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

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