College conference decides championship this weekend
By Dale McKee
Special to The Messenger
The College football regular season will close this weekend and bowl season begins also on Saturday night. Ten conference championship games will be decided, with three on Friday night and seven more on Saturday.
The Frisco Bowl will be the first bowl game, which will be played on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the final four College Football Playoff teams will be announced. Shortly after that announcement, all the bowl games will extend invitations. There will be 10 fewer bowl games played this year as many have opted out because of COVID-19. For this year, the NCAA waived the six-win rule for the post season, which should help both MSU and Ole Miss.
Southern Miss football had a very good week indeed. Will Hall officially became the 22ndhead coach, and on Thursday the Eagles (3-7) finished with their best performance of the season, a 45-31 win over Florida Atlantic (5-4). USM used a big play offense that produced six plays of over 20 yards, but what was more impressive was the five scoring drives of over 75 yards. The final TD drive saw the Golden Eagles march 90 yards and use up almost six minutes of the fourth period. The offense exploded for 542 yards on the night. The most exciting play was the 100-yard kickoff return by Clinton Harrell. Bringing an end to the successful week was Taylorsville quarterback Ty Keyes becoming Will Hall’s first commitment.
MSU (2-7) had another very good defensive effort, but Auburn’s running game came alive in the fourth period that led to the visiting Tigers’ 24-10 conquest. The Bulldogs offense was held in check by the Tigers defense. MSU will host Missouri (5-4) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Ole Miss (4-4) has been off since the Egg Bowl but is scheduled to be at LSU this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. LSU (4-5) is coming off an upset win at No. 6 Florida (8-2).
The SEC coaching casualties list claimed a third victim on Sunday as Auburn (6-4) fired Gus Malzahn. He joins Vandy’s Derek Mason and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp in the unemployment line.
Former USM football player Kane Wommack was named the head coach at South Alabama. Wommack’s father Dave was an assistant coach for 38 years in the college ranks and made stops at both Ole Miss and USM.
High school football players and mid-year JUCO transfers from around the country will sign their scholarship papers this Wednesday-Friday.
Kiss An Angel Good Morning!
Mississippi’s Charley Pride died Saturday. He played in the Negro League and also was on a farm team for the N.Y. Yankees before becoming a country music star.
Petal native Ray Perkins, 79, passed away last week in Northport, Alabama. Perkins was an All-American wide receiver for the Crimson Tide and the SEC Player of the Year in 1966. Perkins also was HC/AD at Alabama and had head coaching stops with the N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay. He was head coach at Jones County Junior College for two seasons and retired there in 2013.
The Mississippi All-Stars turned the ball over five times and fell, 19-7, to Alabama in Montgomery.
Clinton native Cam Akers rushed for a game high 171 yards in the L.A. Rams’ 24-3 win over New England last Thursday night.
Braves & Shuckers
The Minor League baseball season was cancelled in 2020, but lucky for Mississippi the Atlanta Braves have decided to return to Pearl’s Trustmark Park for the 2021 season. Most MLB teams are reducing the number of minor league teams that they will be affiliated with going forward. The Biloxi Shuckers will also be back for the 2021 season as an affiliate with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Army Black Knights of the Hudson used a stingy defense to blank Navy, 15-0, in the 121stcontest between the rivals.
Dale McKee is a Waynesboro resident who has been writing sports since 1973.