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Delta State's rise shouldn't surprise

By Staff
Nov. 22, 2000
Scattershooting on a Wednesday while wondering what could have been for the State's Big Three….
I can almost remember the date when I heard that Mississippi College was dropping to Division III in all athletics.
I remember attending the last Delta State-Mississippi College football game at Robinson-Hale Stadium.
I can also remember telling the readers of The Meridian Star that Delta State would contend for a national championship before the decade was out.
I was wrong about that, but only by a year.
Now the Statesmen are the pride of Mississippi, especially after Saturday's collapse by the Big 3.
My reasoning behind my Delta State prediction was simple. For years, Mississippi College made a living off of overlooked Mississippi football players. Even though they cheated to do it, they even won a national championship with Mississippi players.
Now Delta State has a chance to do the same when they host Catawba, N.C. Saturday.
And amazingly they are doing it with Mississippi players.
How about quarterback Josh Bright from South Panola? Bright has tortured defenses this season in the Statesmen spread offense. I had the pleasure of seeing them against West Alabama. At the time, I thought the UWA defense was just bad. Now I believe the DSU offense is just that good.
How about former Meridian High standout Jason Franklin. Franklin is the Statesmen leading receiver and an integral part of the offense.
How about former Ripley star Rico McDonald who leads the DSU rushing attack. I could go on and one as 59 Mississippi players litter the roster.
Add that with second-year coach Steve Campbell's stern leadership and you have a winning formula.
While I don't know much about Campbell, he must be one heck of a coach. After all, this is the man who brought lowly Southwest Community College back to life.
Like I've said before, any coach who can get the talent in Mississippi can win and Campbell has proven that to be true.
Don't be surprised to see Campbell move up the coaching ladder.
Also, don't be surprised to see the Statesmen win this weekend and host a playoff game next week with a chance to play for the national title.
The rest…
Aside from the DSU fans, there were plenty of disappointed fans in the state last year.
While Southern Miss' loss to Cincinnati was bad, it didn't really surprise me. The Eagles are reeling and in need of some healthy players. I feel sorry for the Eagles. You can't lose that many players and expect to keep winning.
As for Ole Miss, the Rebels disappointing season continued with a loss to LSU. I believe the Rebels are the victim of an enormous pre-season hype and the too-fragile body of Deuce McAllister. All I know is that if the Deuce is healthy, the Rebels are hard to beat. But the Rebels will make a bowl game, no matter what happens in the Egg Bowl.
As for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs don't deserve to go to the toilet bowl after losing the Arkansas. I can't remember seeing a worse performance by a Mississippi State team. It's amazing how one loss can change an entire season's outlook. Bulldog fans were dreaming of the Sugar Bowl but will have to settle for the Independence if they are lucky.
Could it get any worse? I don't know, but I'll tell you after Thursday's Egg Bowl.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rrobertson@meridianstar.com.

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