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Hint of autumn; SFBC appoaches

Finally, there’s a small hint of autumn in the air. Yes, themorning temperatures actually made the 60-degree level if you arisebefore the morning sun starts heating up the earth.

Robert Morgan, longtime executive director for the Southern FarmBureau Classic, believes the weather will be lovely later thismonth. The 39th annual Classic begins the week of Sept. 25-Oct. 1,at the Annandale Golf Club in Madison.

PGA Tour players from around the world will converge on the plushlayout for a week of golf and southern hospitality. Defendingchampion Heath Slocum will head a field of 131 players chasing $3million in prize money. The champion wins a whopping $540,000check.

Randy Watkins, a popular golfer in the Magnolia State, is the newtournament director. This is the final year for Southern FarmBureau Insurance as the title sponsor, so there’s some intrigueabout who the 2007 sponsor will be. For sure, it won’t be MCIWorldCom.

The Classic is the largest professional sports event inMississippi. The weekend’s final two rounds will draw huge crowdsand visitors from surrounding states.

It’s a golden opportunity for the state to put her best footforward. Over the year, contributions reach approximately $388,000to Mississippi charities in the Metro Jackson area. Since 1968,when the Classic bergan at the Hattiesburg Country Club, over $3.5million have been contributed to charitable organizations in thestate.

Talk about positive economic impact. The estimate is $14 million inthe Jackson area during tournament week. That’s a chunk ofchange.

Daily tickets to the event are $15. A $50 season badge isavailable, too. For more info, contact the tournament office at601.898.GOLF (4653).

When last seen, Professor Hoopla B.S. was wildly swinging a60-degree wedge at a horsefly. Hoopla was sweating bullets afterwrestling with this week’s fearless football forecast. He predictedthe winners of 21 games last week and got 17 right.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s winners, starting with twoThursday night community college specials.

Itawamba at Co-Lin: The friendly confines of StoneStadium bring out the best in the Wolfpack. Co-Lin 21-14.

Southwest at East Mississippi: Bears are ambushedin Scooba. East Miss. 19-10.

Clinton at Brookhaven: In an offensive showcase,Panthers win by a whisker. Brookhaven 35-34.

Brookhaven Academy at Columbia Academy: In theirfirst District 6-AA confrontation, the BA Cougars escape with avictory. Brookhaven Academy 26-20.

West Lincoln at Enterprise: It’s the Burns Family Feud asfather entertains son in a battle of winless teams. In a squeaker,West Lincoln 19-18.

North Pike at Loyd Star: Another close contest sees the Jaguarsescaping William E. “Sambo” Smith Field. North Pike28-24.

Bogue Chitto at Stringer: Bobcats take care ofbusiness and claw the Red Devils. Bogue Chitto 27-18.

Magee at Lawrence County: After two tough losses,the Cougars find happiness on their home turf. Lawrence County28-14.

Richland at Wesson: Homecoming brings out the bestin the Cobras. Wesson 21-8.

Franklin County at Prentiss: Bulldog fans fromboth teams can dine at the Country Fisherman before watching theMeadville Dawgs do some damage on the gridiron. Franklin County39-12.

Vicksburg at Hazlehurst: Indians are huntingGators tomorrow night in an offensive extravaganza. Hazlehurst42-21.

In other area games, Copiah Academy should smashOak Forest 31-14, Parklane should clip LamarSchool 32-22, Madison Central should dump McComb 27-14, WarrenCentral should sack South Pike 30-12 and Crystal Springs shouldsink Port Gibson 20-13.

Saturday’s Magnolia State games should go like this.

Ole Miss at Missouri: Can the Rebels score enoughpoints to tame the Tigers? Mizzou 32-24.

Auburn at Mississippi State: Bulldogs don’t haveenough offense or defense to stay with the Tigers. Auburn 34-7.

Southeastern Louisiana at Southern Miss: GoldenEagles hatch their first win at The Rock. Southern Miss 38-10.

In other Magnolia State games, Alcorn State shouldshade Arkansas-Pine Bluff 13-6, Delta State should outscore StephenF. Austin 31-21, Southern University should swamp Valley State38-20, Belhaven should stop Southern Nazarene 21-7, and LouisianaCollege should dump Millsaps 20-10. Jackson State and MississippiCollege have open dates to enjoy last weekend’s victories.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com