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Linked Up: Road Tripping, ULM, and Cupcakes as Tune Ups

Three stories from around SBN about an SEC road trip, ULM's breakout year, and exploring whether cupcakes are even effective as tune up games.

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

To celebrate the launch of the new hotness around here, here are a few stories that caught my eye while checking things out.

First, Missourian Bill Connelly has done a write up of his crazy SEC orientation road trip from Columbia to Columbia and back:

In parts of five days this past week, my buddy Walsh and I rolled through Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky (along with southern Indiana and southern Illinois, for good measure). The concept of an SEC Crash Course, of a four-day South immersion, was incredibly successful -- we ate ribs in Memphis, did a lap around the Grove, bought cowbells in Starkville, toured the Bryant Museum, ate at Dreamland and the Waysider, got initiated by dreadful Highway 280 in Birmingham, perused the tailgating setups in Athens, weathered the "Sandstorm" in Columbia (SC), sneaked into Neyland Stadium, got sneaked onto Dudley Field in Nashville, and had beer and pork chops in the Belcourt area between Vanderbilt and Belmont University.

It was quite the trip. Check it out.

Meanwhile Steve Godfrey did the all-access thing for Louisiana-Monroe, a team that is improbably making the 2012 season partially about itself:

Louisiana-Monroe has just spent the better part of a Friday night trading spread-option blows with Baylor in front of a home crowd and a national television audience. They acted like a BCS team, and short of one particular back-breaking turnover in the fourth quarter, had the complete capacity to beat yet another BCS team in this young season.

Regardless of the box score, the reviews are in, and they're fantastic. Tweets and comments claim that, no matter your own regular rooting interests, ULM is appointment viewing this season for simply being damn good television. Browning and his 1-2 Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks are America's second favorite team.

It's an interesting read about how a program that is a long way from being an SEC program works. It's not the sort of thing that we're used to around here.

Finally, For Whom the Cowbell Tolls is asking a counterintuitive question by the SEC's standards:

Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee. Those are the list of lightweights Scott Stricklin lined up for Mississippi State this year.... 3-0 so far for the Dawgs. MSU and A&M are the only SEC teams who didn't schedule a BCS non-conference foe this year.

Is this schedule hurting Mississippi State?

The issue of cupcakes has been coming up a lot this year with increasingly disdainful tones, but this angle is not one that typically gets explored.