Welcome to July, folks!

It’s the last month of the year without college football, but it’s also the only month on the calendar with no college sports whatsoever. You gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

At least this weekend is the Fourth of July. Whatever you’re doing and whoever you’re celebrating with, stay safe and enjoy!

Now, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:

@Dobbe8:

What product would you have wanted to endorse if you were a college athlete able to make money from your name, image and likeness?

Well, I went to college at Mizzou (have I mentioned that before?), so there are a couple of local places I’d have loved to endorse. First, you have Tropical Liqueurs, which is basically a place that makes alcohol-filled slushies.

If I were to drink one of those now, I’d have a massive hangover the next day. Back in college, though? I could crush 2 larges on a Friday night and be fine for the tailgate on Saturday morning. I would have loved to let them use my NIL rights.

El Rancho was also a great place to eat late-night Mexican food after the bars closed. I’d be proud to support that fine establishment, as well.

As far as something that more people would recognize, Admiral Nelson rum was always cheap and dependable. My roommates and I definitely consumed enough of their product to warrant a sponsorship deal. Ah, good times.

Michael:

Which second-year SEC football coach will win the most games this fall?

That list includes Ole Miss’s Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach, Arkansas’s Sam Pittman and Mizzou’s Eli Drinkwitz. Drinkwitz and Kiffin led the way last year with 5 wins apiece. Leach had 4 and Pittman only had 3.

I expect all of them to at least match their 2020 totals this year. In fact, I’d predict they all have increased win totals. That comes from the fact that they’ll play 12 regular-season games instead of 10 this fall and they’ll have some weak nonconference foes to beat up on.

As for 2021, I think Kiffin and Drinkwitz will again lead the way. I have both Ole Miss and Mizzou finishing the regular season 8-4 as things stand right now. That would be an impressive jump for both coaches, but they have the roster talent in place to accomplish 8-4 records.

Then, we’ll see what their bowl assignments are and if they can get to 9 wins or not.

@SChinni12:

What was the biggest reason this Mississippi State squad was able to break through and win the College World Series title? Will Bednar’s heroics? Clutch hitting? Chris Lemonis?

Everything you mentioned was absolutely critical for the Bulldogs’ success. Bednar was unbelievable on Wednesday night on 3 days’ rest. He’d already pitched the OmaDawgs to 2 wins over Texas, too. Then, there was Landon Sims, who was spectacular out of the bullpen.

Rowdey Jordan, Tanner Allen, Kamren James, Kellum Clark — they all had timely hits. There’s a reason Allen was the SEC’s Player of the Year. Also, Lemonis seemed to push all the right buttons as the Mississippi State manager.

But, a huge difference, particularly in the final 2 games, was Mississippi State’s defense. While Vanderbilt was kicking the ball all over the field, committing 3 errors in Game 2 and 3 more in Game 3, the Bulldogs didn’t commit an error in either game.

In fact, Mississippi State’s defense came to Omaha and didn’t have a single error throughout the entire College World Series. That’s incredible.

For guys like Bednar and Sims and every other Mississippi State pitcher who took the mound, that’s a huge confidence boost. They were pitching to contact in ways Vanderbilt’s pitchers couldn’t. That was a big difference on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Credit to the Bulldogs for making the plays in high-pressure situations. That’s not easy to do, and they answered the (cow)bell time and time again. A well-deserved title for a really fun team to watch.

Joe:

Do you think Dabo Swinney will follow through on his threat and leave college football now that NIL laws are in place?

Not a chance. He was all bluster a few years ago, saying he’d go do something else if they professionalized college sports. Of course, the internet never forgets things like that, so Twitter spent all day on Thursday calling him out.

However, Swinney has since walked back those comments, particularly in the past couple of years. In fact, Clemson RB Darien Rencher said this week that Swinney is happy for his players.

Swinney’s not an idiot. He can adapt to the changing landscape. He’ll have to if he wants to win.

Honestly, though, I think Swinney’s act might be starting to wear thin a bit with recruits. As things stand on Thursday night, Clemson’s 2022 recruiting class ranks No. 23 in the country, per 247Sports. Yes, it is still early, but that’s not great for the Tigers.

Of course, of the 8 commits they have, 7 of them are 4-stars, so I’m not saying Clemson is going to collapse overnight. I just think perhaps Swinney’s reluctance to use the transfer portal and his attitude about a lot of things regarding players getting paid (particularly his past comments) might hurt the Tigers in their pursuit of titles. They’ll still make the Playoff every year because the ACC is weak, but it’s possible other programs are closing the gap on Clemson.

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at [email protected]