Mississippi State enters 2012 coming off back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2000. There is plenty of reason for optimism with the coaching staff returning in full along with a lot of key players from 2011. Here is a brief look into what we can expect from next year’s team.
MSU will return 5 starters on offense and 7 on defense. Out of those five on offense, Tyler Russell and Tobias Smith are not included. As long as the talent surplus can overcome the experience deficiencies on the defensive line, State should be fine.
The biggest question mark for 2012 will be the offensive line. Quarterbacks could become a concern if there are injuries, but all the other units look to be as good as last year with room to be better.
If State is going to take the next step, they’ve got to find a way to win at home. Under Mullen, the Dawgs are only 10-10 and 4-8 in the SEC at Davis Wade Stadium. 2012’s home schedule includes Jackson State, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Arkansas.
MSU will likely be picked to finish 5th or 6th in the West this summer. From the outside, this team looks about the same as the 2011 version. But considering the close games against Auburn and South Carolina that could have gone either way, momentum from three straight Egg Bowl wins, two straight bowl wins, and a great recruiting class, Mullen and Company are poised do well in 2012.