ABC Mailbag 4-23: SEC Network, Dak stats, O-line, Egg baseball and more

Each week on The B&B Show (a radio show I co-host on Bulldog Sports Radio; you can listen to today’s full show here) we have a segment we call ABC, which you’ve seen me mention if you follow on Twitter.

It stands for Ask Bob Carskadon and is, basically, a radio mailbag of some serious and many non-serious questions sometimes but not always relating to Mississippi State sports.

Every Tuesday, we ask for questions on Twitter (tweet them to @bobcarskadon) and now, every Wednesday, I’ll pick some good ones to answer here on the HailState Beat. (PSA on those tweets: if a twitter profile is locked, people who don’t follow it can’t see its tweets, even if they are mentioned in the tweet.)

Keep in mind, as always, opinions and views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of MSU, though sometimes they very well may.

To draw some semblance of a line, the topics are conveniently divided in sports and non-sports.

Bl3oxTrCYAA8V82.jpg-largeSports Questions

Matt Saracen @MattSaracen: How good is this softball team becoming? How much is coming back next year?

Bob: MSU’s softball team has really hit its stride here recently. It was interesting talking to Vann Stuedeman about it last week when she said part of the reason is an adjustment she’s had to make. In previous seasons, she was the third base coach, but this season she moved to the dugout. Stuedeman said she had to figure out how to use her own emotions to affect the psyche of the collective dugout and once she got things on a more upbeat note, her team started taking down top-five opponents.

Looking at what they’ve done recently, and with the pitching they have, MSU could easily make some noise in the postseason.

As for next year, MSU has a lot of seniors it will lose, including Alison Owen (who will likely leave as the all-time strikeouts leader), power bats in Logan Foulks and Sam Lenahan, veteran starters in Jessica Offutt and Heidi Shape, as well as experienced reserves like Shana Sherrod and Rachel Zdeb.

That said, the current SEC Pitcher of the Week and the starter on the Friday night shutout of Tennessee is Alexis Silkwood, who will be back as a sophomore. Third baseman Caroline Seitz is a finalist for national freshman of the year and about half the lineup is back, as well as some young talent waiting in the wings, plus whoever comes in as freshmen. The future is certainly bright, as is the present.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: Which of the other 13 SEC Network spots were you most and least impressed with?

Bob: It’s hard to beat the Bear Bryant voiceover for Alabama, though I also enjoyed Auburn’s on the morning after at Toomer’s Corner and LSU’s on Mike the Tiger and the band was fun. Vanderbilt’s was fun, too, particularly the music selection. That said, can anything top South Carolina’s, an entire commercial dedicated to SANDSTORM?

Matt Saracen @MattSaracen: How important was Tuesday night’s game to each team?

Bob: MSU beating Ole Miss for the Governor’s Cup was big. On the surface, it evens the season series at 2-2 between Bulldogs and Rebels, but it also provides MSU with a win over a top-10 RPI team at a neutral site, an important event for MSU’s own RPI.

It also seemed like that kind of game that can help propel a late-season run. The Bulldogs have now won five straight games after losing to Ole Miss on Sunday of Super Bulldog Weekend and have worked themselves to just two games out of first in the SEC.

Ryan Nelson @ryannel76: Why have top-tier and mid-tier basketball coaches been turning down SEC jobs the last few years?

Bob: I don’t think it’s fair to say as a universal statement that SEC schools are getting turned down constantly, but there certainly seem to be more instances of it in recent years. The big thing, in my mind, is the sort of evening out of college basketball that’s been happening. To borrow from the socio-political glossary, there’s been a lot of upward mobility the last decade or so, to the point where “mid-majors” are barely a thing anymore.

At many of those schools, basketball is the only big sport and thus falls on the receiving end of a hefty chunk of the athletic resources. It’s easier than ever to build a program in a lesser-known conference, and the lack of parity in those conferences helps, too.

Of course, on the other side of it, the SEC has much to be proud of with its coaches. Frank Martin, Mike Anderson and John Calipari were plucked from strong programs, while Calipari and Billy Donovan have both been regularly rumored to have turned NBA jobs. For every Frank Haith or Cuonzo Martin leaving, there’s a Bruce Pearl or a Tony Barbee before him coming in.

Few schools across the country can match the SEC in resources and visibility, especially with the SEC Network coming, which is why I have to think the ups and downs of basketball in the conference must be cyclical, meaning they will reach the level expected of SEC sports sooner or later.

Jim Rapier @JimRapier: Why no stand-alone access to the SEC Network (subscribe without a cable provider)?

Bob: I don’t know the real answer to this one, so I won’t go on too long, but it follows the model that the rest of ESPN uses. Sports channels are so unlike other forms of televised entertainment in that they’re dependent on live events. I can watch Game of Thrones on HBO Go or watch Breaking Bad on Netflix, but what good is that to a sports company? No one is going to wait days, weeks or months before watching a game. We want to watch sports in the “now,” and the money in that runs through stations and the bill we pay our cable or satellite providers to get them.

That said, there will be a very strong mobile and online component to the SEC Network, especially for watching sports in the spring when so much is happening.

That Guy @thatguy1878: What are your stat projections for Dak this season? Yards, completion percentage, touchdowns.

KTZFSKZARUSTFKC.20140412220926Bob: Dak didn’t have too many full games as the starter in 2013 to go with, and extrapolating his numbers from the Liberty Bowl would likely be a bit much. But I’ll hazard a guess at his per game averages: 275 yards passing, 65 yards rushing, 3 total touchdowns.

Over the course of a 13-game season (I’m including a bowl game here), that’d be 3,575 yards passing, 845 yards rushing and 39 total touchdowns. That seems high, and certainly some games the numbers will be higher and lower, but I’m expecting a very Dak-centric offense and one in which he is responsible for the majority of the touchdowns, be it passing or running.

Chances are the numbers will be lower due to his coming out of the game early in blowouts, and of course there is always the possibility he could miss time due to injury, but if he were to play four quarters for 13 games, I’d imagine numbers not too far off from those.

Tony Morreale @Tony_Morreale: Your starting offensive line if season was today?

Bob: The right side is subject to change between now and September, but if MSU played Southern Miss tonight, I’d guess this group from left to right: Blaine Clausell, Jamaal Clayborn, Dillon Day, Ben Beckwith, Damien Robinson.

Non-Sports Questions

Bulldogg31 @BULLDOGG31: Which white: Stripes, Snake or Barry?

Bob: Good question. I can get down with all three, but Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again was No. 1 on the charts the day I was born, so they’re my sentimental favorite of the bunch.

Owen McGuire @pom5: If you could add one feature to Twitter, what would it be?

Bob: Someone else responded with this answer and I have to agree: the ability to do a manual retweet from the regular twitter.com. Very frustrating to not be able to do that on the website.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: What was your go-to fast food restaurant as a child?

Bob: Taco Bell is far and away my favorite now, but I didn’t start eating there until around age 15. As a kid, I was a huge Wendy’s fan. I used to load up on chicken nuggets and jr. bacon cheeseburgers.

Rob Hataway @vhdawg: What have we done wrong as a society to deserve a Mrs. Doubtfire 2?

Bob: I really don’t get this. It’s not a re-boot, but an actual sequel starring Robin Williams. I love Mrs. Doubtfire, but how do you do a follow-up to that? Everything was resolved and the plot was revealed. The dad was dressing up like a nanny. The cat’s out of the bag. Where do we go from here?

Patrick Wiggins @iPat09: What is your favorite Tom Hanks movie? Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks?

Bob: I’d give the slight edge to Forrest Gump over Big in the long list of Tom Hanks classics, with Sleepless in Seattle not far down the rankings, either. Big Tom Hanks fan here.

That said, no, I haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks. I’m a big Disney buff, especially having interned at Disney World in college, so I was initially excited when I thought it was going to be a movie about Walt Disney, a very interesting character and visionary. When I found out it was all about Mary Poppins, I lost interest.

edam_spread_oldSteven Norris @stevenfnorris: Will you power rank the MAFES cheeses?

Bob: #HOTCHEESETAKE comin’. My top three: 1. Edam 2. Vallagret 3. Jalapeno-Cheddar.

Edam is the obvious one and iconic in its red wrapping, but don’t sleep on Vallagret. That stuff is good.

That Guy @thatguy1878: Favorite Disney song?

Bob: I initially had great difficulty with this. There are so, so many good choices here. Albums and albums full of great Disney songs could make the cut as some of the best. Bear Necessities, Part of Your World, Circle of Life, Can’t Wait to Be King, Colors of the Wind, A Whole New World, Beauty and the Beast, Let it Go. The list goes on.

But one choice is the most obvious, most iconic and most inspirational of Disney songs: When You Wish Upon a Star.

That has to be No. 1, makes no difference who you are.

Ryan Nelson @ryannel76: Bama fans propose in front of Bear Bryant statue. Where is the best place on MSU campus to propose?

Bob: I wasn’t sure which category to put this question in, but whatever. One of my best friends proposed in the outdoor portion of the Chapel of Memories on the morning of the Egg Bowl, which I thought was a cool spot. I actually wrote a story about a guy who proposed in front of the Bully statue in The Junction on game day, which I also like.

Elsewhere, the Drill Field is solid, Eckie’s Pond is romantic, South Farm is nice and the winery up by North Farm is quite pretty. Also, it’s a little close to the highway and you can’t really walk there, but there’s a rose garden on the edge of North Farm and Highway 82 that smells lovely.

Also, is there a statute of limitations on confessing to have climbed to the roof Lee Hall? If you can find a LEGAL way up there, that’d be unique and has a great view.

Hump4Hoops @Hump4Hoops: Worse itch: back of throat, or bottom of foot while wearing shoes?

Bob: Back of throat, without question. Distracting, affects nearly everything and can’t always be solved with water.

Hayes Brooks @daddyhayes67: Have you ever eaten at the steak house in the Canada world showcase at EPCOT? If not it is a must, ate there last night.

Bob: I have not, but man do I want to. I’m huge on Canadian fare, but Le Cellier (as I believe it’s called) is usually booked up six months or more in advance. Many have told me it’s the best steak they ever had and I am quite jealous.

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