Friday, August 30, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Town prepares to 'Get Swept Up'
Starkville aims to roll out the red carpet to football fans planning to attend Mississippi State University's home opener Sept. 7 versus Alcorn State. This "red" carpet may more resemble a shade of maroon, but Greater Starkville Development Partnership Special Events and Projects Coordinator Jennifer Prather said making the best first impression of fall for visitors required a little sweat equity from the locals.
 
Game day fashion making 2013 debut
Although football season has just begun and Mississippi State fans are waiting to unveil their game day attire for Saturday, Starkville clothing stores have spent months gearing up for game day fashion. Erin Ray, owner of Denim and Lace, said she began looking for football season clothes in May, with shipments arriving in late July. "I try to have stuff early so locals can buy stuff up before college kids get here," Ray said. "But because of Maroon Friday (when locals are encouraged to wear maroon each Friday) I kind of look year round. If I find maroon stuff I get it in, but I get big shipments in a week before school starts."
 
Dove Season Around The Corner
It almost that time of the year again. Dove hunting season takes off this Sunday. These dove feathers are just traces of what's to come when the season begins. John Long has been hunting doves all his life. It's a tradition across the South. "It's a great place to introduce a young person to the outdoors to get them involved and get them into the sport of shooting and hunting," said John Long, Mississippi State University coordinator of 4-H shooting sports program. Long says most of the time doves will be hunted over the fields where they're feeding on grains that have fallen onto the ground. "They're fun to hunt because they're hard to hit but they're also good to eat too," added Long.
 
ITS warns campus of suspicious email scamming attempts
Mississippi State University issued a campus-wide email to students and faculty last week warning of potential phishing attacks. The university website informed students no legitimate source would request a student's bank account information by phone, and students are advised to treat such calls as phishing attempts. Sid Salter, director of University Relations at MSU, said once an official notification is sent out regarding such an incident, the university tries to let as many people know across all platforms. Thomas Ritter, security and compliance officer at Information Technology Services, said phishing emails come to the university every day in a variety of forms. He said most people know not to email their password to someone else. "Sometimes within hours, sometimes within minutes of giving away their credentials, we'll have logins as that person. The typical process is they log in and they start sending spam as fast they can," he said.
 
Men of Color Summit Next Week at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University's 2013 Men of Color Summit will feature African-American leaders whose management and guidance have improved quality of life in Mississippi and beyond. "Finding Success: Breaking the Code for Achievement in Academia and Beyond" will be held Sept. 5-6 in Colvard Student Union. Keynote speeches and panel discussions at the free assembly will feature business managers, university administrators, motivational speakers and other African-American leaders. "As the most diverse university in the Southeastern Conference, Mississippi State is again taking the lead in addressing issues important to students of color," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.
 
Extensive highway construction inconvenient, promising
Roadwork has dominated a main roadway in Starkville. Highway 182, a road that runs parallel to Highway 12, is currently under construction to improve the road and the area. Construction began in mid-July and will end in mid-October, weather permitting. The project is funded and managed by Mississippi Department of Transportation. Mike Miller, project engineer, said the construction is currently on time and on budget. Local business owner Rick Welch, owner of Rick's Café on Highway 182, said the road construction could do nothing but help the area. "Highway 182 is an important path to MSU, and the more we can do to make that look nicer the better it will benefit us all," Welch said.
 
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College art students interpret music during exhibit opening in Jackson County
Art and music merged as students interpreted jazz on paper Thursday during the opening of artist Chad Anderson's "12 Bar Bridge: Rhythm in Portrait." Blank easels were set up where Anderson's work is on display in the Fine Arts Gallery on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County campus. A Mississippi native, Anderson received his bachelor of fine arts in painting from Mississippi State University in 1997 and his master of fine arts in electronic visualization from Mississippi State in 2002. For more than 12 years, he has been a graphic designer, art director, videographer and web designer for various companies. Anderson is an assistant professor in the graphic design program at MSU, where he teaches courses in web design and multimedia.
 
More state farmers favoring peanut crops
Peanuts, long associated with the states of Georgia and Virginia, are gaining favor among Mississippi farmers who are adding the nuts in rotation with their more traditional crops. Back in the 1940s it was common for Mississippi farmers to plant peanuts but they disappeared for the most part until a comeback began in 2005. Malcolm Broome is executive director of the state Peanut Growers Association. He is a retired Mississippi State University agronomist who worked with Mississippi farmers during his career through the MSU Extension Service. Broome said that after a drought in Georgia, the largest peanut producer by far, supply and demand kicked in.
 
Hallowed ground: State veterans cemetery a way to honor soldiers
Honoring service men and women from Mississippi and giving them a final resting place was the goal of veterans and volunteers who joined forces to make the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery a reality. On Thursday, the volunteer organization that helps support the cemetery, Friends of Mississippi Veterans, gathered for their annual meeting. Jack Winstead, president of the Friends of Mississippi Veterans, said it all began with a donation of land from Mississippi State University.
 
Meridian native opens for Ronnie Dunn at MSU Riley Center
There's a girl from Meridian whose singing and songwriting skills are turning heads in Nashville -- and she's coming home next month to open for country music legend Ronnie Dunn. On Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Meridian native Cheryl LuQuire will take the stage at the MSU Riley Center, firing up the crowd for headliner Dunn. Tickets are $69 and $63 at the MSU Riley Center box office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.msurileycenter.com.
 
'Bully News' Twitter account used in previous investigations
Another link between a now-defunct social media handle and a prior Twitter investigation by the Starkville Police Department emerged Wednesday, showing @BullyNews sought direct communication with a Twitter user who, in 2012, created an official account in the likeness of the police department. Last month, the person operating the @BullyNews account identified himself as a journalist while attempting to get the person who operates the @BenCarverPrays parody account to call a detective's cell phone number for an interview. The @BenCarverPrays account satirizes Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver. Now it appears that the @BullyNews account -- which has been deactivated -- previously dug for information on two previous police investigations.
 
Labor Day weekend travel and safety
The Mississippi Highway Patrol and officers across the state are working double duty this Labor Day weekend to ensure safety on the roads. Traffic safety checks will be up all across the state through Monday night. Law enforcement officers hope their visibility will lower the number of reckless drivers. During Labor Day weekend 2012, MHP troopers investigated five traffic-related deaths. There were also more than 100 DUI arrests. Troopers warn that you will pay the consequences if you're caught without a seatbelt or drinking under the influence. According to the travel company AAA, this Labor Day weekend is expected to have the largest number of travelers since the 2008 recession.
 
Supreme Court upholds open carry
Mississippians have the right to openly carry a gun, and other weapons, under a ruling released Thursday by the state Supreme Court. The nine-member state Supreme Court, without a dissenting opinion, overturned a lower court ruling that blocked the enactment of legislation passed earlier this year allowing Mississippians to carry guns in plain sight with no permit. The law was blocked earlier this summer by Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd, who ruled it "unconstitutionally vague" and that it would create havoc for law enforcement and the community. But Justice Randy Grant Pierce, who wrote the opinion for the state's highest court, said the circuit judge "erred" in blocking the enactment of the law.
 
Mississippi Supreme Court upholds open-carry gun law
House Bill 2 is now the law of the land, and state leaders are hailing the ruling as a victory for the right to bear arms. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling overturned a decision by Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd blocking the open-carry/concealed-weapon law from going into effect. The bill's author, state Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, said he knew his bill was constitutional and was pleased the state Supreme Court agreed with him. "When the lawsuit was first filed, I said I'd never seen a lawsuit that claims the Constitution is unconstitutional." Gipson said.
 
Tea partiers protest Obamacare
National and local tea party officials and supporters turned their wrath on Republicans in Congress who they say have caved in to Obamacare during a rally Thursday in Jackson. ForAmerica and tea party officials brought their fight to defund the Affordable Care Act to the state Capitol. On a humid day, about 80 people gathered on the steps and lawn to warn national Republican lawmakers that if they fund Obamacare, they will own it. Some in the crowd held signs reading, "Defund Obamacare," and posters with photos of each of Mississippi's congressional delegates were placed in chairs in front of the podium.
 
Congressman Harper Shares Military Concerns
As tensions are boiling over in the Middle East, the world is waiting to see whether the United States will strike Syria. Newscenter 11 spoke with Congressman Gregg Harper on his opinion on the conflict. Harper says the use of chemical warfare on innocent civilians is an unacceptable crime against humanity. However, he is concerned about the president going to war without congressional approval. The congressman, along with about 100 other House members, signed off on a letter asking the president to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Syria. The congressman also believes aiding the rebels could present its own set of challenges.
 
Remodeled restaurant reopens in Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg restaurateur and author Robert St. John, along with local and state officials, gathered Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of the newly-remodeled Purple Parrot Cafe and the addition of a new dining establishment, Branch. "Mississippi has been rated No. 5 in the nation for entrepreneurial success," Gov. Phil Bryant said at the grand opening ceremony. "Our entrepreneurs and small business owners like Robert St. John have lifted this state -- not just from the middle, but from the bottom where we once were -- to No. 5 in America." Bryant also lauded Extra Table, St. John's non-profit organization dedicated to helping end hunger in Mississippi. The charity supplies food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Mississippi with needed food and supplies.
 
'Black budget' summary details U.S. spy network's successes, failures and objectives
U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government's top-secret budget. The $52.6 billion "black budget" for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former ­intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.
 
Parking changes concern faculty and students alike
The University of Mississippi Department of Parking and Transportation's new policies have not only received criticism from students, but faculty as well.Some designated faculty parking lots force faculty members to walk further to class, while their parking lot spaces are now limited to a certain amount of spots. "Just last week I spent fifteen minutes looking for a spot," said Anne Twittey, assistant professor of history. "Classes, obviously, hadn't even started, forcing faculty to park further and further from their offices. By decreasing the number of spaces available to us, this keeps the number (of spaces) flat while the size of the faculty grows." Faculty members having to pay for parking and parking tickets is another concern for some faculty.
 
BOOK BIZ: Robert Khayat's life has had many twists and turns
Former Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat has written his memoirs and dedicated the book to his family and Ole Miss. He distinguished himself on various fronts that included being an All-American football and baseball player at Ole Miss during his undergraduate years. He went on to become an All-Pro kicker for the Washington Redskins, earn a degree from Yale and serve as a law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation. He also received the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award. Publisher Neil White is excited to introduce Khayat's book. "In 1962, while a riot was in full swing on the University of Mississippi campus over the admission of James Meredith, Robert Khayat was an All-Pro kicker for the newly integrated Washington Redskins," White writes. "He had no way of knowing that 35 years later he would be leading the University through one of its greatest challenges --- its association with the Confederate flag."
 
Rory Doyle returns to Delta State University
Delta State University recently named Rory Doyle, a 2011 alumnus, as the campus news writer/photographer with the Department of Communications and Marketing. The West Newfield, Maine, native graduated cum laude from St. Michael's College in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. In 2009, Doyle began his master's program in the Delta State department of health, physical education and recreation. While in graduate school, he also taught physical education in the Cleveland School District for two years through the PEAK Project Grant. Doyle's thirst for writing and photography led him back to his original field of study in 2012 when he began working in the newsroom at The Bolivar Commercial.
 
Booze for Ballots? Free drinks would trigger violation only if they hinged on voting particular way
Alabama law makes it a crime to buy someone's vote with a "gift of intoxicating liquors" but a violation of that statute is triggered only if there's an agreement to vote for a particular candidate in exchange for the booze, Alabama's elections chief said. "If it were a quid pro quo -- I'll give you a drink if you vote for Joe Jones -- that would be a violation," Secretary of State Jim Bennett said in an interview. AL.com asked Bennett about campaign law after reports that fraternity and sorority members were given rides to the polls in charter limousines and were told they could get a free drink at two rented downtown bars for showing an "I Voted" sticker. An email from a sorority official to members urged them to support particular candidates in Tuscaloosa.
 
'The Machine' at Alabama is real, its reach is long | John Archibald (Opinion)
Birmingham News columnist John Archibald writes: "Everything I am -- for good or ill -- I owe to 'The Machine' at the University of Alabama. Really. The Machine gave me my wife, in a way, so it gave me my kids too. It put ink in my veins and got me a career. It even honed this pathological distrust of power and politics and presumptuous privilege that has served me so, um, well. I'm grateful. I am. If not for Theta Nu Epsilon, that secretive bunch of fraternities and sororities that controls campus politics and trains future politicos in the finer points of dark political arts, I'd be somebody else entirely. It all came flooding back this week in all the news out of Tuscaloosa. Machine -backed fraternities and sororities have apparently ventured off campus, providing limos and booze, among other things, to members who went out to vote for Machine-backed candidates in Tuscaloosa school board elections. Dang."
 
LSU head proposes agricultural consolidation
LSU System President and Chancellor King Alexander wants to merge the LSU Agricultural Center's administrative functions with the university's College of Agriculture. The two entities operated jointly until a split in 1972. Alexander is expected to make the case for consolidation on Sept. 6 at the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting where he will lay a nine-month phase-in for the idea, if approved by the board. The AgCenter supports Louisiana businesses and the overall state economy through agricultural research. The College of Agriculture prepares students for careers in the field. Last year, more than 150 AgCenter employees also held jobs with the agricultural school.
 
Fair pushes pedaling as U. of Florida campus transportation option
The biggest draw at Thursday's Alternative Transportation Fair on the Plaza of the Americas looked to be the organization giving away bicycle helmets, reflective lanyards and spoke sliders. University of Florida students, faculty and staff mobbed the tables set up by the Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Resource Center to get sized and fitted for the helmets, which came courtesy of a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. The annual transportation fair, organized by the UF Office of Sustainability, highlights different ways to get around without jumping into a car and burning fossil fuels.
 
NASCAR star Jeff Gordon works with UGA to help feed seniors
Instead of a steering wheel, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon had a grip on a butcher knife Thursday during a visit to Athens. "My wife would be so proud right now," Gordon said as he carefully sliced strawberries like a seasoned chef. "This is pretty much what we do every week," a University of Georgia student said as she sliced a pineapple next to the famed racer. Gordon, one of the superstars of stock car racing with 87 career victories, was helping students with UGA's Campus Kitchen Project as they prepared fresh food at the Athens Community Council on Aging. Most of the food products are donated by local businesses.
 
Texas A&M University assistant professor Sorg seeking remedy for dangerous bacteria
Texas A&M University biologist Joseph Sorg will be studying fecal samples from hundreds of people as part of a federally backed effort to deal with the gut bacteria Clostridium difficile, the cause of about 14,000 deaths a year in the United States. The effort is aimed at helping lay the foundation to develop drugs to combat the deadly bacteria. Sorg and two other researchers are being funded by a two-year, $275,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Sorg, an assistant professor in A&M's Department of Biology since 2010, is among a wave of younger researchers studying C. difficile as it has gained more attention in the U.S. in recent years.
 
U. of Kentucky spending $5 million on security system with 2,000 cameras
The University of Kentucky is spending nearly $5 million to assemble a campus security system that relies heavily on 2,000 surveillance cameras, raising questions among some privacy advocates. Other elements of the system include student ID cards that can track when students enter buildings after hours and the ability to lock down buildings from another location. The system also includes 26 new "Blue Phone" locations with video cameras. "This will allow us unprecedented capability for monitoring the campus for crime and protecting our students, employees and visitors in the event of emergencies, including natural disasters or large-scale acts of criminal behavior," said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe.
 
After Obama's announcement, higher ed lobby offers cautious response
In unveiling his ambitious second-term higher education agenda last week, President Obama teed up a wide-ranging debate -- and possibly a contentious fight -- over how, or whether, to overhaul the nation's financial aid system in a way that links federal support to colleges' and universities' performance. Though it was released with the fanfare of a two-day, three-campus bus tour and a promise to "shake up" the status quo, Obama's proposal is largely a continuation of a nearly decadelong effort to make institutions of higher education more accountable for student outcomes. With the most recent proposal, though, the lobbyists representing many sectors of traditional higher education say they're not drawing up lobbying strategies just yet. In part, that's because Obama's plan is still largely unformulated, at least publicly.
 
Student Housing Is Back-to-School Bargain; Oversupply Is Prompting Some Landlords to Cut Rent
Some of the millions of students heading back to college---and their parents---are finding a pleasant surprise: Landlords nationwide are cutting rents because of an oversupply of student housing in college towns. Since 2010, private-equity firms, real-estate investment trusts and private developers have been cranking up delivery of off-campus accommodations, often rich with amenities such as pools and movie theaters. That has raised fears of a glut in some markets, which has sparked a rout in the stocks of developers specializing in student housing. Some developers have fared better than others. Landmark Properties, a private developer in Athens, Ga., recently opened three new communities -- in Tucson, State College, Pa., and Oxford, Miss. -- that were 100 percent leased before the doors opened.
 
New Buildings Greet Students (Mostly Without Construction Fences)
This summer's new campus buildings run the gamut from underwhelming to over the top---way, way over the top, in the case of the University of Oregon's Football Performance Center. Planned and paid for by Phil Knight, a founder of Nike, it looks more like an ultra-exclusive resort than a campus athletic facility. But most buildings opening in time for the fall semester are, if not exactly modest, at least more clearly suited to college students. Here's a selection of what's new, including academic buildings, residence halls, and, in Maine, a sleek museum addition. Not every institution has seen things go exactly according to plan, by the way.
 
Our view: A twittering waste of time
The Dispatch editorializes: "There are some laws that aren't worth enforcing. ...Then there are other "crimes" that rely largely on context. Circumstances dictate whether the offense rises to the level of enforcement. That is why you typically don't get a speeding ticket for driving 67 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. Another excellent example is unfolding in Starkville, where a fake Twitter account poking fun at Ward 3 Alderman David Little is being investigated by the Starkville Police Department. ...Little should never have made the complaint to start with. He should withdraw the complaint immediately. All that's really been hurt is his pride. It's time for David Little to put on his big-boy pants and spare us the silliness of a continuing investigation."
 
Governor's office discusses French nuclear waste facility tour | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall blogs: "Mick Bullock, communications director for Gov. Phil Bryant, called to clarify some things about the governor's tour of a French nuclear waste reprocessing plant in June. Bullock seems convinced that the media is making much ado about nothing with our coverage of the Mississippi Energy Institute's proposal to store nuclear waste in Mississippi, a move MEI hopes would lead to being able to reprocess spent rods and harness the leftover energy."


SPORTS
 
Collins to be tested by Oklahoma State
Geoff Collins will have a daunting task in his debut as Mississippi State's full-time defensive coordinator. Collins served as the Bulldogs co-defensive coordinator alongside Chris Wilson the past two seasons, but Saturday's season opener will mark just the second time he has been in charge of calling plays -- he also called the shots during the Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern. Waiting in Houston for Collins and his defense will be the high-powered and up-tempo offense of No. 13 Oklahoma State.
 
Mississippi State DBs will be tested in opener against Oklahoma State
With each day of practice, Mississippi State's secondary gained experience. Through 29 days of camp, they transitioned from unseasoned youngsters into starters. But the wide receivers they lined up across from had just as little experience. Robert Johnson enters his junior season with 21 career catches -- the most of any Bulldog wideout. The MSU defensive backs are about find out how good they really are.
 
Similarities with defensive coordinators at Mississippi State, OSU
The similarities can't be avoided when talking about the two defensive coordinators in Saturday's Texas Kickoff Classic. Oklahoma State University coordinator Glenn Spencer and Mississippi State University assistant coach Geoff Collins were promoted to their jobs after coaching linebackers and serving as the co-defensive coordinator the previous fall. Spencer and Collins were on the 2001 staff at Georgia Tech University under George O'Leary. Spencer described Collins to The Oklahoman as "young, energetic, innovative, and a good motivator." The lingo Collins has created for the Bulldogs' defense, which includes words like "juice" and "mayhem," fits the bill.
 
Russell continues to mature as Mississippi State's QB
The Mississippi State University coaching staff is teaching Tyler Russell in his fifth season like he's the contestant on a game show. Play number one is a touchdown pass that could bring 70,000 fans to their feet and be the highlight on every national network. The same play is laced with the consequences of a drive-killing major mistake. Play number two isn't as flashy, but it is guaranteed to get the offense another play and could produce positive results later in the game. Russell could ignore both plays and go with an audible he feels comfortable, but that decision could backfire if one player doesn't hear or understand what is going on. Those are the decisions that will fly through Russell's head at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
 
Concussion might keep Mississippi State LB Bohanna out of opener
Geoff Collins vowed to play eight to 10 linebackers during the season. He might already be down. Junior Ferlando Bohanna is questionable with a concussion for Saturday's season opener against Oklahoma State at Reliant Stadium in Houston. If Bohanna can't go, redshirt freshmen Richie Brown and Beniquez Brown will try to fill the void.
 
Bulldogs to use weekend to learn
Jenny Hazelwood starts her fifth season at Mississippi State today with a very young team. There are several questions that will have to be answered, and the former Bulldog volleyball player will be using this weekend as a test for her young team. "Even if we are having some successes, there's always going to be some things we need to improve on," Hazelwood said. "I think that this will be a good learning weekend on top of just getting to play and match up against somebody else. We are so excited. It's always like this through preseason. You're just ready to play somebody else." MSU starts the 2013 campaign by hosting the Maroon Classic today and Saturday at Newell-Grissom Building.
 
Local programming adds to CBS Sports Radio
More than seven months ago, Chris Stryker said Cumulus Broadcasting of the Golden Triangle switched from ESPN to CBS Sports Radio in an attempt to make the programming more content driven. In that time, Stryker has seen a new lineup of radio personalities settle into their roles and begin to build a following. And while he has heard from listeners in the region who have said they don't like the change, Stryker is pleased with the transition and is looking forward to even more positive strides. "I think it has been wonderful," said Stryker, who is programming director for WNMQ-FM 103.1 "The Team." CBS Sports Radio Programming also can be heard on WSSO-AM 1230 in Starkville. "We are still providing excellent sports news and scores, and I think people are really catching on and enjoying it with the addition of iTalkSEC."
 
Blood bank reaches out to football fans
Whether you bleed maroon and white or red and blue, football fans will be able to raise a pint today and score some tickets. As part of its annual tailgating event, United Blood Services is offering donors at its Eason Boulevard center in Tupelo or its drive at First Baptist Church in Amory, their pick of a pair of tickets to University of Mississippi or Mississippi State University Sept. 7 football games. Both the drive locations and the center will be open from noon to 6 p.m.
 
Auburn AD Jay Jacobs on NCAA: 'There's got to be some change'
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs championed NCAA reform Thursday. Jacobs was asked about the hot-button topic in a meeting with Auburn reporters after many major-conference commissioners, including Mike Slive of the SEC, have stated their desire for changes in the current structure of the NCAA. "There's got to be some change. We've got to get to some level of deregulation," Jacobs said. "Everybody's different, and we can't treat all Division I schools as if they're all the same -- it's not fair to anybody." "What we have right now doesn't seem to work," Jacobs added.
 
Texas A&M football, tailgating seasons set for grand kickoff on Saturday
When the horn blows at noon Friday, Texas A&M tailgaters can start claiming spaces in Spence Park and around Reed Arena in preparation for Saturday's season opener. Just leave the mechanical bull at home. "Tailgating always seems to be an arms race," A&M tailgating coordinator Neil Peltier said. "Everybody wants to outdo what they did last year, make it better. We've had people request to bring mechanical bulls on campus, which we had to turn down." But a lack of bull riding isn't expected to put a damper on the tailgating experience. Eric Darvin, the general manager at Tailgate Guys, the exclusive provider of reserved tailgating at A&M since last year, reports the company will be setting up 40 tents for the season opener.
 
ESPN's Rovell among reporters inquiring about Johnny Manziel's half-game suspension
The joint statement by Texas A&M and the NCAA announcing Johnny Manziel would face only a half-game suspension did not close the door to future investigations and said the NCAA based its findings on information provided by Manziel. It makes no mention of how many others -- including potential brokers for autograph deals -- were interviewed during the investigation. Those parts of the joint press release caught the attention of Darren Rovell, the ESPN business reporter that A&M System Chancellor John Sharp specifically mentioned in an email sent to donors last week, writing that "Rovell of ESPN, who broke the story, has been duped before." "It's a safe bet that the NCAA got no brokers to talk and likely didn't even get to talk to Nate Fitch either. No subpoena power," Rovell tweeted out following the news of Manziel's half-game suspension for A&M's Saturday opener against Rice. In a separate tweet, Rovell wrote, "NCAA couldn't close case on Manziel because they can't be sure of future. Will more time lead brokers/insiders to talk?"
 
Largest-ever Gator band is fine-tuning for Saturday
The Pride of the Sunshine, the University of Florida's marching band, has been spending hour after hour this week at Pony Field on Gale Lemerand Drive preparing for Saturday -- the first performance of its centennial year. The band --- with students representing more than 100 majors across the UF campus --- goes into its 100th year with 365 members, the largest it's ever been. The band practices six hours a week at Pony Field, then rehearses on the turf of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium the Friday before every home game. "I'm convinced they're some of the hardest-working students on campus," Gator band director Jay Watkins said.
 
College Football's Convoluted BCS Bowl System Is Bowing Out, But Is the New One Any Better?
This college football season, which began Thursday, marks the last step before the sport embarks on a new adventure: a four-team playoff to determine the national champion. But it also represents the end of another bold initiative: the 15-year, largely loathed reign of the Bowl Championship Series. To understand what the BCS represents, it helps to imagine that the comparatively well-oiled machine of the NFL playoffs never existed. Imagine, instead, that the Super Bowl was taken completely out of the NFL's jurisdiction and handed over to a bunch of bureaucrats who decided to choose who plays in the title game by consulting a system of polls and rankings they'd cobbled together. That's essentially what happened in 1998 when Roy Kramer of the Southeastern Conference, together with five other conference commissioners in top-division college football, organized what became the BCS. "The amazing part as I look back on it is how many times it did work out," Kramer said.



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