The conference is discussing a new rule that would pit rivals against each other on one of the final three weekends of the regular season. However in 2008, Ole Miss travels to Starkville on the first weekend.
"Mississippi and Alabama are the only states with in-state
rivals in our conference, and it is different when you play
them," Bianco said. "It's an emotional game, and to
say it has to be on the last weekend is not fair. It can be
on the last weekend, but it shouldn't have to be because
who does Georgia have to play on the last weekend. What
about LSU? South Carolina isn't playing Clemson. They
aren't in our league.
"My point is why does it have to be at the end? It should
fall where it falls. They are an SEC opponent. The games
count the same. To have to play it the last weekend isn't
right. Everyone talks about attendance. Well you know what,
they are going to draw more this weekend than if they were
playing Georgia. So, they will make up the attendance
because we are coming to town. I don't understand what the
big deal is."
The league schedule is interesting with the top two teams in
each division's preseason coach's poll competing this
Friday through Sunday. Predicted West winner Ole Miss faces
State, who was projected as the runner-up, while Eastern
favorites Vanderbilt and South Carolina begin conference
play on the same field.
Ole Miss is using the same weekend rotation of Lance Lynn,
Cody Satterwhite and Nathan Baker, but the Bulldogs are
shuffling their staff after some mound trouble the last few
Normal Friday night starter Justin Pigott has been moved to
Saturday because of a high pitch count last weekend against
Baylor. In the opener, freshman Forrest Moore (1-1, 6.57)
will get the nod, and Ricky Bowen will start the final game
on Sunday. Experienced right-hander Chad Crosswhite will
occupy a bullpen role.
Also, MSU closer Aaron Weatherford is questionable due to a
lingering injury, and infielder Brandon Turner is out for
the three-game set.
"It is the start of the second season," Bianco said.
"Conference play is of the utmost importance. We are in
the SEC, the number one baseball conference in the country.
It is tough to make up ground. There are 30 of them, and you
go out and fight to get as many of them as you can."
Bulldogs up first for Rebels
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