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September 19, 2001

All Eyes on Starkville, MS

After postponing all major college football games last week due to the terrorist attack on New York and Washington, most colleges will resume their season this weekend. The first teams to do so will be Mississippi State and South Carolina, who play on Thursday evening at MSUís Scott Field/Davis-Wade Stadium.

The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will kick off on national TV at 6:30pm (CT). ESPN has already decided to air the scheduled pre-game show on thier network, preceding the game. Many people will turn on their TVs to get their minds off of the troubles our world is facing now. Many of these people will be those who might not normally turn on the TV when MSU and USC were playing. But with last weekís games canceled and nothing to take the sports fanís mind off of NYC and Washington, this is a day they can look forward to.

The officials at MSU have already decided to take extra security procedures for the Thursday game. They have asked Bulldog fans to leave their cowbells at home for one game. The cowbell is one of the most popular traditions in the SEC. Although theyíve been banned by the conference and signs outside Scott Field state not to take them in, there are tens of thousands at each game MSU hosts. State fans also attempt to sneak them in to an unhappy visitorís field every now and then. Mississippi State has also announced that no backpacks, bags, coolers, etc. will be allowed to enter the gates. All womenís purses will likely be searched before they are allowed to enter as well.

Although some teamsí fans are frustrated that their teamís schedule has been thrown off by the postponed week, most are looking forward to any football at all. This will be the first major football game (NFL or college) since last Tuesday. The fact that both teams are ranked in the top 20 doesnít hurt either.

The Bulldogs and Gamecocks each had games postponed last week. South Carolina was scheduled to take on Bowling Green, who has now decided to cancel their game with USC and play Northwestern. Mississippi State was supposed to play BYU, who entered the polls one week ago. Both schools are hoping to get that game rescheduled, most likely on December 1.

South Carolina comes into Starkville with a 2-0 record. They have a home win against Boise State and an impressive road SEC win against Georgia. Mississippi Stateís only game was a win on Labor Day over Memphis. Both teams came into the season with high expectations. This is the SEC opener for Mississippi State, who must go on the road to Florida next weekend. South Carolina will be at home for an SEC game against Alabama next weekend.

Many people will be watching Thursdayís contest, and I feel it is a chance for the state of Mississippi to shine. The fans of MSU are always loud, but the way they display themselves on Thursday will be witnessed and judged by people not only in America, but around the world. As America recovers and puts itslef back together, the first major college football game since the trajedy on September 11 will take center stage. Both teams have a chance to shine and better themselves in the polls and possibly the BCS. All eyes will be on Starkville, MS on Thursday night.

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