All posts by Richard Cross


Bowl projections…good luck guessing

So you want to know where to book rooms for a bowl game? Better pull out your credit card and make sure you understand each hotel’s cancellation policies.

The options for Mississippi State are a little easier to figure than those for Ole Miss, but Bulldog and Rebel fans alike are currently in the speculation business. The outcome of this weekend’s conference championship games will have an impact on the ultimate destinations for both teams.

The top 16 of this week’s College Football Playoff Poll looked like this:

1          Alabama         11-1

2          Oregon           11-1

3          TCU                 10-1

4          Florida State  12-0

5          Ohio State      11-1

6          Baylor             10-1

7          Arizona           10-2

8          Mich State      10-2

9          Kansas State  9-2

10       Miss State       10-2

11       Georgia Tech  10-2

12       Ole Miss          9-3

13       Wisconsin       10-2

14       Georgia           9-3

15       UCLA               9-3

16       Missouri         10-2

The championship game matchups that matter are:

SEC – Missouri v Alabama

Pac 12 – Arizona v Oregon

Big 10 – Wisconsin v Ohio State

ACC – Georgia Tech v Florida State

The best thing that can happen for Ole Miss (and Mississippi State to a lesser degree) is for the favorites to win, so Ole Miss fans should cheer for Bama, Oregon, Ohio State and FSU. It also would be good for Baylor to beat Kansas State to knock the Wildcats back in the final ranking.

This year’s big bowl games are the two semifinals, played at the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl, followed by the four access bowl, which include the Orange, Peach, Cotton and Fiesta. The Orange Bowl contractually has to take the highest ranked ACC team not in a semifinal. This means Georgia Tech is likely headed to South Beach, regardless of the outcome of the ACC title game. The highest ranked non-power 5 league team will receive a berth to an access bowl. This is likely to be Boise State.

If the favorites win in the conference championship games, the most likely scenario is that Mississippi State and Ole Miss will move up in the final ranking, which will be revealed on Sunday, December 7th. If this happens, the state of Mississippi could have 2 of the 12 spots available for the “big” bowl games.

With all of that information as a backdrop, Mississippi State is very likely to be in either the Cotton or Peach Bowl, though the Fiesta is an outside possibility. The CFP committee has stated a desire to keep teams as close, geographically, as possible to the bowl locations.

Ole Miss is in a slightly more precarious position with regard to the access bowls. If any major upsets occur this weekend, the Rebels could very well find themselves outside the Big 6. This could mean a trip to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, if the SEC doesn’t send Missouri to Disney World. Other options are the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the (Gator) Bowl in Jacksonville.

My best guess, assuming no upsets this weekend, is that Mississippi State is headed to the Peach Bowl and Ole Miss is headed to the Cotton Bowl. But I wouldn’t head to Vegas to bet on that outcome.

So if you’re dying to make sure you have a room at your favorite hotel, again, make sure you know the cancellation policy. Or you could just wait until Sunday afternoon at 1:45 CT.


SEC’s Biggest Disappointment

h2hThis week’s question: Let’s shift gears for a week. Which team is the biggest disappointment in the SEC this season?


The “entire SEC East” doesn’t count as a team, so I’ll narrow it down.

Many would drop Florida into the category of most disappointing, but I won’t, because I didn’t think they would be very good to begin with. Kentucky has been a pleasant surprise, Missouri is in the driver’s seat in the East, despite an awful loss to Indiana. Vanderbilt is back to being off-the-radar and Tennessee has shown signs of progress.

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SEC West scenarios for Rebels and Dogs

SECCGWondering how Mississippi State or Ole Miss get to Atlanta? Of course you are…so here’s the answer:

Mississippi State

Win against Alabama and Vanderbilt, and nothing else matters. A loss to Alabama complicates things for the Bulldogs but doesn’t eliminate them from a chance to play for the SEC title. If State loses to Bama, the Bulldogs must beat Vanderbilt and Ole Miss and have the Crimson Tide lose the Iron Bowl to instate rival Auburn.

Ole Miss

Ole Miss has to have a lot of help. The Rebels must win their final two games against Arkansas and Mississippi State…that much they control. Additionally, Ole Miss needs Alabama to beat Mississippi State, Georgia to beat Auburn and then have the Tigers turn around and beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

That scenario for Ole Miss creates a 3-way tie at the top of the SEC West between Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama. With wins against the other two, the Rebels would head to Atlanta.

So, for both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the explanation of how to get to Atlanta is simple enough. The execution? That’s a little more difficult.


July 17th Line-Up for Head to Head


Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross are broadcasting LIVE from SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Alabama.  Check out today’s line-up below:

  • 3:05 p.m. : Matt Stinchcomb from the SEC Network
  • 3:30 p.m. : Player Previews
  • 3:45 p.m. : Ole Miss DB Cody Prewitt will join us and will do a team preview of Kentucky
  • 4:05 p.m. : Russ Mitchell of College Football News
  • 4:45 p.m. : Ole Miss DE CJ Johnson will join us and we will follow with a team preview of Texas A&M
  • 5:05 p.m. : Hugh Freeze and Bo Wallace
  • 5:30 p.m. : Gary Stoken, CEO of Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
  • 5:45 p.m. : A.P. All-SEC Team
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Mighty Kacy : Warrior Unleased

NBC has fingers in several sports pies, but there is one you might have missed. Sure, NBC covers the NFL, College Football, the Stanley Cup, Horse racing, the Tour de France, and even the English Premier League, but one event you might have missed is an import from Japan. American Ninja Warrior pits competitors against a grueling obstacle course so difficult that even NFL and Olympic athletes have a hard time making it through. That didn’t stop Kacy Catanzaro from becoming the first woman to ever complete the city-finals course in ANW’s 6th season. At 5 feet tall and weighing only 100 pounds, #MightyKacy did what 90+ others couldn’t accomplish, and made Ninja Warrior history in the process. Do you think you could handle the obstacles on the Ninja Warrior course? Comment below and let us know what athlete would you like to see try their hand on the course?

You can see Kacy’s amazing Dallas city-finals run below:


Road sweep huge for Ole Miss

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, Ole Miss has put itself in place where a lot of good can happen over the next few weeks. The Rebels are 33-12 (13-8) with 2 of their final 3 SEC series at home (Arkansas, Georgia). Ole Miss is currently 4th in the RPI, though that number will oscillate some based on opponents (and opponent’s opponents) records the rest of the way.

Last weekend Ole Miss did everything right on the diamond. The Rebels traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, for a matchup between the SEC’s 2 best offenses. Going into Friday’s game, UK had a team batting average of .312, while Ole Miss was hitting .300. Nobody else in the league was hitting even .290. So what did the Rebels do? Ole Miss scored 39 runs on 49 hits over the 3 day series, raising its team batting average by an unheard of at this time of the year 7 points. Austin Bousfield led the way at the plate, going 10-14 with 8 runs scored, 7 RBI, 4 doubles and a homerun. Not too shabby.

Starting pitching was the difference this weekend. The Friday-Saturday punch of Chris Ellis and Christian Trent has been invaluable, as the two first year weekend starters have combined to go 12-0. Sam Smith has been steady on Sundays, though his start against UK may have been his worst of the year.

One weekend certainly doesn’t make – or break – a season. But with just 3 weeks remaining before the SEC and NCAA tournaments, the number of opportunities to make big moves is shrinking quickly. Ole Miss has put itself in position host a regional and is in the conversation to be a national seed. The goal for everyone who is either in the Ole Miss program or a fan of it is to make an early summer trek to the Heartland. Statisically, the easiest way to end up in Omaha is to host a regional and super regional. That formula hasn’t yet worked for Ole Miss, but it has worked for over 70 percent of the College World Series participants since the advent of the current Super Regional format.

There’s a big baseball stadium in Oxford that has sat empty for the last few Junes. It’s time for Ole Miss to play meaningful baseball games at home after Memorial Day again, and another couple of weekends like the last would mean just that.



The next 2 weekends will be great

This weekend has been fantastic…fairly quiet by Oxford standards with Ole Miss baseball on the road and not a ton going on. The sports calendar has been fairly kind with plenty of good hoops on TV, and a good dose of family time was exactly what I needed.

But the next two weekends – one in Oxford and one in Starkville – are what college town living is all about.

Next weekend in Oxford is Grove Bowl weekend. Home baseball with Auburn, the Red – Blue football game, a home track meet, warmer weather and for all practical purposes, the Spring’s version of Homecoming.

The following weekend in Starkville, it’s the same thing for Super Bulldog Weekend. Add Ole Miss as the baseball opponent to what is always a huge weekend in Vegas, and the recipe for crowds at Dudy Noble is downright tasty.

I’m glad every weekend isn’t the same. Because for all the excitement of Grove Bowl and Super Bulldog weekends, this one at a slower pace with the kids has sure been nice.


In fact a few more weekends like this would be just right.


Can I really DIY?

We’ve embarked on a bit of a project at the Cross house. Back in October, we  bought an older house that needed a ton of updating, a lot of TLC, and a little more space. The house is a modern-ish ranch from the sixties, and we loved it’s character.

If you’ve ever done a remodel,  you know staying in budget is as big a part of the job as any painting, trim work or plumbing. And in a bid to save money, I’m debating the merits of being my own general contractor. Mind you I’ve never built a house.

You’ll hear frequent updates on Head to Head as the progress of this project, and I’m likely to solicit your advice along the way. I’ve done okay so far with the demolition, but all that means is semi-orderly destruction.


But the big question for now is, can I really DIY (or DIM, if you will)? Knocking out walls and pulling out insulation and drywall is easy, but can I put it back together? Can I manage other people putting it back together. I’m open to suggestions.