Sideline View 05/28/20

By DALE MCKEE,

We might have college football after all.  The Southeastern Conference announced this week that they would offer voluntary in-person player conditioning under strict supervision beginning on June 8. If my math, is correct it is 89 days from that date to the Mississippi State home opener versus New Mexico and Southern Mississippi’s home opener against South Alabama. Ole Miss will have to wait 90 days as they open against Baylor in Houston on September 6. The goal is to have all college football teams start the 2020 season around Labor Day. With 130 major college football teams in 41 states and in ten different conferences, will it be possible for all those teams to be able to play the same number of games? I could see the ACC and SEC starting on time and conferences in the West not being able to start.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced last week that they will also have voluntary team sports conditioning that will begin next Monday, June 1.  The first 14 days is a conditioning process to get athletes back in shape with conditioning drills and weight lifting. The MHSAA will have other limited restrictions as the high school coaches will have to make adjustments and changes. The MHSAA also ruled no football 7-on-7, no summer camps, no baseball and softball games along with no basketball tournaments and no team sports tryouts until school opens back up.  All schools will have to obey local and state laws during this time.

The New Orleans Saints have ruled the National Football League’s South Division the previous three years. The Saints have added some veteran talent on both sides of the ball and should be even stronger this football season. It should interesting in the NFC South this season as Tampa Bay has added six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady.  This should be a very entertaining season for the Saints as many believe this could be Saints quarterback Drew Brees’s final season.  We will not have to wait long for the first of two Brees vs. Brady matchups as the Saints will see Brady and the Bucs on September 13 in New Orleans.

The return of the PGA Tour will be on June 11-14 at the Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth, Texas, at the Charles Schwab Challenge. That is almost three months to the day the PGA Tour stopped playing after the opening round of the Players Championship in March.

This past Sunday we had The Match: Champions for Charity that raised $20 million for various COVID 19 charities. The team of Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning downed the team of Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson. 

I was saddened by the news of the death of former Ole Miss Rebel football player “Gentle Ben” Williams of Yazoo City. Williams and Meridian’s James Reed were the first two African Americans to sign football scholarships with Ole Miss in 1971. Williams was a three-time All-SEC performer at defensive tackle and still holds the single season record for sacks with 18 in 1973. He recorded 37 sacks in his Rebel career. He went on to play ten seasons in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills and was named All-Pro in 1982.  Williams was a quality person. Williams earned a B.A. degree in 1976 and was voted “Colonel Rebel,” equivalent of Mr. Ole Miss.

Desoto Central baseball standout Blaze Jordan was named the Mississippi High School Baseball Gatorade Player of the Year. Jordan is a Mississippi State baseball signee and also is considered a possible high draft choice in the Major League Baseball draft in two weeks.

Dale is a Waynesboro resident who has been writing sports since 1973.