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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mississippi College Football: An Unbiased (Ahem!) List of MLC Resources.

The other day Jesse said he wanted to write a blog post about Mississippi's three Division I-A college football teams and the various resources we have here in our collection pertaining to the subject. I told him to go ahead, as I was sure he would be able to separate himself from whatever personal bias he has toward his alma mater, University of Southern Mississippi.

Turns out I was wrong. Have a look:

Inspired by the beautiful weather we are enjoying here in the great city of Jackson, I’ve decided to write a short blog post about the fall tradition of Mississippi college football. Few states enjoy a richer heritage in the sport than our Mississippi and the collection here at MLC reflects that passion. I hope this entry gives you a better idea of what types of books we have for the college football fan. By the way, some of our more clever readers may notice a subtle bias on my part when discussing Mississippi football. I can assure you that I went through great pains to remove any inflammatory language and I never mean to offend anyone.

By sheer volume, no one enjoys a more detailed description of their team’s past than those polo wearing, collar popping sissies from Ole Miss. We have books dedicated to Rebel legends such as John Vaught, Archie Manning, and Chucky Mullins. And if that’s not enough to turn your stomach, Colonel Reb fans can read Paige Cothren’s An Academy Called Pain or Walk Carefully Around the Dead to get their fill of Ole Miss lore.

For those cowbell ringing hillbillies in Starkville we have Greatest Moments in Mississippi State Football History (a short book indeed) and The Maroon Bulldogs: Mississippi State Football. The former title’s longest chapter is called “The Jackie Sherrill Era” which I found kind of funny. But one section written by Thomas Harding titled “Jackie Sherrill: Bulldog Savior” wins my award for most ironic title ever.

Surely the most popular book in our collection is John Cox’s wonderfully written book Rock Solid: Southern Miss Football. Mr. Cox’s prose is without flaw and he meets the challenge of placing some of the most exciting events in football history into print. Here is an example:

“USM’s final regular-season game of the year also took place at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Against the Memphis Tigers, the Golden Eagles completed their perfect Conference USA season with a 42-18 win, finishing the regular season at 8-3 overall” (234).

Wow: clear, concise, and at the same time, poetic. I mean, what could capture the spirit of college football better than a classic battle between Southern Miss and Memphis? I don’t know how Mr. Cox does it, but he certainly shows us all the power of the English language in this masterpiece.

Oh, Jesse. Good thing we cowbell ringing hillbillies have a sense of humor, huh?

Cox, John and Gregg Bennett. Rock Solid: Southern Miss Football. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

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