Where MSU Stands After 1/3 of the Season

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Four games down, eight to go. Mississippi State is fortunate to be among the undefeated. The players and coaches have to take it one game at a time, but we can always take a peek at what’s in store down the road now that we know a little more through one month of football.

Week 6 – Kentucky. Anything less than a double digit win should be unacceptable. The game is on the road but UK is terrible. They have no depth and their QB, Maxwell Smith, has gone down with injury. It’s a SEC game, but it will be like playing a CUSA or Sun Belt team.

Week 7 – Tennessee. The Vols have shown us they can score points, but they haven’t shown they can stop you from doing the same. They have struggled in the 3-4 so far, but they do have talent and two weeks to prepare for this game. There’s no doubt State will have to play well to win, and it could come down to the final minute, but MSU is the better team.

Week 8 – Middle Tennessee. After going 2-10 last year, MTSU is 3-1 already with a big victory over Georgia Tech last week. This is not going to be an easy game, and perhaps the most concerning part about it is its placement between UT and Bama. If State is indeed 6-0 at this point, the coaches will have a job on their hands to get the players to focus with the Tide looming in Week 9.

Week 9 – Alabama. It doesn’t get any bigger than this, especially if MSU can make it to 7-0. CBS has, of course, already selected the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party, so this game is primed for ESPN at 6 or 7 o’clock. This has the potential to be the biggest game of the week, although I’m sure Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma will get plenty of pub.

Week 10 – Texas A&M. This game is probably the biggest riser so far. Coming into the year most MSU fans had it penciled in as a ‘W’, but there maybe a question mark. In the SEC West pecking order, A&M and MSU look pretty even for 3rd right now. The Aggies play so far has made Week 9, 10 & 11 look like an absolutely brutal stretch.

Week 11 – LSU. All of the sudden the Bayou Bengals look vulnerable. Their O-line isn’t playing as well as many thought and Zach Mettenberger has just been “ok”. But State hasn’t won in Death Valley since 1991.

Week 12 – Arkansas. What has been a loss in 12 of the last 13 years now looks like a certain win. There is a lot that can happen over the next seven weeks but the Hogs look like they already checked out in Week 3.

Week 13 – Mississippi. This game is probably the second biggest riser. The Rebs won’t be a pushover this year, especially in Oxford. With games left against Arkansas, Auburn, Vanderbilt and a puncher’s chance against A&M, Ole Miss could be fighting for bowl eligibility in the Egg Bowl.

Bowl Projections: CBS says MSU plays Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. It would be so great to play in a game like that. ESPN says the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. This would depend on how the season finishes out, it’s a great game but if MSU is 9-3 it would be disappointing to wind up in Atlanta. Phil Steele says Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. Again, I would love to play in Dallas – not quite as much prestige playing OSU, but it would be quite a game to play in.

In the preseason, I think most Mississippi State fans were looking for a 8-4 or 9-3 season from this team. I think most people figured the Arkansas game for a loss, but now that seems like a win, so I imagine the expectation is 9-3 or 10-2. It would be incredible to go 10-2. And what’s even greater is the opportunity State has to be even better if they could somehow upset LSU or Bama. Who knows. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Lord knows football season goes too fast, and it just goes faster if you have your head in November. Right now I’m just happy the Dawgs are 4-0 with a great chance to go 5-0 this week at Kentucky. Hail State.