If State Pulls an "Arkansas", How High in the Polls Could They Go?


In 2011, Arkansas went 10-2. Their only loses were getting clobbered by 24 points to both LSU and Alabama – the two teams in the BCS Title Game. Prior to their game with LSU, the Hogs were ranked #3 in the nation.

Arkansas played LSU and Alabama on the road last year. In 2012, Mississippi State draws that schedule – traveling to Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa. Optimistic Bulldog fans, including Coach 34 on Friday, are predicting MSU to go 10-2 this year. So, if State is able to pull off the same feat as UPig did last year – how high could they climb in the polls?

Going into the season MSU is among others receiving votes (33rd), according to the Coaches Poll. After playing Jackson State the Dawgs play #25 Auburn. The Tigers play their mirror image at the Georgia Dome in Week 1. #14 Clemson won’t have all-everything athlete Sammy Watkins though….that could make a big difference and War Eagle might get it done – moving them into the top 20. A win for State over a top 20 team will surely vault them into the top 25.

So we’ll say MSU is ranked, say, 23rd going into Week 3 at Troy. A win but there probably isn’t much movement in the polls. The next week is against South Alabama. That game won’t do much either…but being 4-0 after the Week 5 bye is sure to allow for plenty of teams to fall out and move the Bulldogs into the top 20…we’ll just say #18.

The next game is at Kentucky. The Wildcats should be coming off two beatings at the hands of Florida and South Carolina….so another mediocre win here. When the Vols come to Starkville in Week 7 they could be highly ranked, dead in the water or somewhere in between. If somehow they were able to win one of two between Georgia and Florida this would be a quality win….going to 6-0 I think MSU would be around #12-14.

Week 8: Middle Tennessee State…let’s just say we are a solid #12 going to Alabama on October 27th. I think this is a conservative estimate – you just never know how many teams ahead of you will lose. Last year Kansas State started 7-0 with a similarly weak schedule and was ranked #10 going into their 8th game (they were unranked to start the year as well).

One of these two loses is right here to Alabama, and if we’re pulling an Arkansas then it’s not going to be close. The Hogs only dropped four spots when they got beat – and I doubt we’d drop much further since Bama is likely to be in the top 5, if not #1 when this game is played. I’ll say State drops to #15.

Next up is Texas A&M. It’s hard to tell where they could be at this point but coming off games vs. LSU and at Auburn I’m going to guess they won’t be ranked. Another win for the Dawgs – up to #13 when they play a top 5 LSU team who’d be coming off another bout with Alabama. Using the Razorbacks as an example again, we’ll drop 4 spots since they did as well after losing to LSU.

At #17 and 8-2 State hosts the team responsible for this imaginary tale. Arkansas should be very highly ranked at this point. They do have to travel to South Carolina the week before this but if they win that game they could be in the top 10 or even the top 5. Mississippi State winning here would give a big boost….probably close to the top 10. And I think a win over lowly Ole Miss would do the trick – I’ll say State would close out the season at #10.

South Carolina went 10-2 last year and ended right there – #10. Georgia was 10-2 and went into the SEC Championship game at #12. Arkansas was #7 at 10-2. So I definitely think #10 is a good guess, if I have to say so myself.

If all this happens, well, I think we’d all be doing one big happy dance. It would be only the 3rd time in MSU history they’d have won 10 games. Here’s to hoping it happens.