Most notable is the presence of ESPN2 to televise the Maroon-White football game Saturday. The sports cable network will be at Scott Field showing the nation this last day of 2005 spring practices for Coach Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs. This is the first State spring game ever broadcast on TV, and for the occasion Croom has contrived a real intrasquad game between a divided roster. Coaching the respective squads will be coordinators Woody McCorvey and Ellis Johnson on the Maroon side, and Shane Beamer and Freddie Kitchens on the other.
And Croom? The head coach turns commentator for a day, joining the ESPN2 broadcast crew to provide analysis and anecdotes…another MSU-first. Eric Collins is the network play-by-play man with Mike Gottfried and Croom in the broadcast booth and Jimmy Dykes as sideline reporter. Croom will address the crowd at 1:00, prior to kickoff, then observe and comment from the broadcast booth.
Fans are encouraged to sit in the East grandstand (skybox side) for this spring game to provide a TV-view backdrop, and tickets will go on sale at noon.
Saturday morning's schedule includes two events special to this SBW. At 10:30, Mississippi State will formally dedicate the addition to the Shira Complex; the new football locker room, redesigned team and squad meeting rooms, new weightroom and training rooms. The ceremony will be held inside, in the team meeting room. There the names of donors who helped make the facility expansion possible will be attached to many of these additions, while the entire facility will still be the Shira Complex.
At noon, the University will hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony at historic ‘Five Points' for the planned Cullis Wade Museum and Bookstore Center. The building will go up in the remaining unpaved area between Davis Wade Stadium and the Bost Extension Center. A crowd should already be on hand as this is adjacent to where both the Pig Cooking contest and the Saturday morning Fan Fair will be ongoing. Set-up for the annual culinary highlight of SBW starts Friday morning and the actual contest at 9:00 Saturday morning, sponsored by Bryan Foods, Mississippi Farm Bureau, and the Mississippi Pork Producers.
SBW is always scheduled on a home baseball weekend, and this edition has the Diamond Dogs hosting Auburn. The Western Division rivals are a half-game apart in the SEC standings after three league series, so this is an early showdown of sorts. As of Thursday it looked as if Coach Ron Polk would stick with a weekend rotation of RH Alan Johnson, RH Todd Doolittle, and RH Jon Crosby against the Tigers.
While the Southeast has been soaked this week, the weekend forecast is for three days of sunshine and moderate temperatures. In fact SBW's have generally been blessed with fair weather, bringing five-figure crowds to campus for the centerpiece-Saturdays. And as veteran fans like to recall, the 1989 SBW (back when baseball played twinbills on Saturday) produced the all-time NCAA record for on-campus baseball attendence when 14,991 jammed into the Dudy Noble Field environs to watch State defeat Florida.
This year's schedule of official MSU/athletic events includes:
FRIDAY – Pig Cooking set-up beginning at 8:00am; Men's Tennis vs. Florida 2:00; Baseball vs. Auburn 6:30.
SATURDAY – Fan Fair opens at 9:00am; Pig Cooking contest, judging, and fan sampling 9:00am-through-noon; Soccer Alumni game 10:00am; Shira Fieldhouse additions dedications 10:30am; Wade Museum/Bookstore groundbreaking 12:00; Maroon-White Football game 1:00; Baseball vs. Auburn 3:00.
SUNDAY – Men's Tennis vs. South Carolina 1:00; Baseball vs. Auburn 1:30.