Who to Root For in MSU’s Quest for the West


You won’t hear any national or regional or even local writers or analysts discussing MSU’s chances to win the West, but we’re still going to hold out hope. Most likely the Bulldogs will finish with a solid record which leads them to a good bowl game, but if they can manage to navigate the final month unscathed they only need two other games to fall their way and the West can be theirs for the first time since 1998.

Well, there are a few more things to it than that, although not much. So I’ll break it all down for you right here to eliminate any confusion and hopefully steer your rooting interest in the right direction for State’s best chance to end up in Atlanta. All the tiebreakers and scenarios will be explained below..

Nov. 5th: Mississippi State at Missouri – obviously MSU.

Nov. 7th: LSU at Alabama – The Tide.

Nov. 7th: Arkansas at Ole Miss – this game is the biggest catch-22 you’ll ever have. On one hand you really don’t want Ole Miss winning because they still control their own destiny in the West and they’re our hated rival. On the other hand, Ole Miss winning out until the Egg Bowl will only help MSU (I’m explain more later). If you’ve got a third hand, it would be that while it is important for OM to win it’s not critical.

Nov. 7th – Auburn at Texas A&M – this game has little impact but any losing Texas A&M can do is very good for State.

Nov. 14th – Alabama at Mississippi State – this is the big one, and is essential for the Bulldogs to win (as they all are from here on out).

Nov. 14th – Arkansas at LSU – chances are LSU is not going to lose at home in a revenge game but it’s not necessary. Still, LSU losing is a very good thing.

Nov. 21st – Mississippi State at Arkansas – Dawgs, of course.

Nov. 21st – LSU at Ole Miss – this game is tied with LSU at Bama and just behind MSU winning all their games in terms of importance, and you’re gonna have to pull for Ole Miss to win the game.

Nov. 28th – Ole Miss at Mississippi State – need the Golden Egg back.

Nov. 28th – Texas A&M at LSU – this one we actually don’t know who to root for at the moment. It will depend on what happens in the above games, and may not matter at all. More explanation below.

Nov. 28th – Alabama at Auburn – we’ll have to wait and see on this one as well. Most likely it will surprisingly be Bama, but it could be Auburn. Or it might not matter.

Best case scenario: MSU wins out, LSU loses three of their last four and A&M loses one more conference game. This scenario is as clean as could be because each team State has lost to has three losses, and the teams they are probably tied with (Alabama and Ole Miss) at 6-2 they beat head-to-head.

2nd best scenario: MSU wins out, Bama and Ole Miss beat LSU. State would win the West in the event of a four-way tie between Alabama, Ole Miss, State and winner of LSU/A&M because the SEC would tally each team’s record vs. one another; Bama and LSU/A&M would be 1-2 while MSU and OM would be 2-1, and since MSU would have won the Egg Bowl we win the tiebreak.

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If Ole Miss were to lose to Arkansas in this scenario there would be a three-way tie between MSU, Bama and the winner of LSU/A&M. But even then State would win the tie-breaker: since all the team’s records vs. one another would be 1-1 the SEC would take each team’s record vs. the 4th place team. Ole Miss would be such by virtue of head to head vs. either loser of LSU/A&M, and since OM beat Bama and winner of LSU/A&M but lost to MSU the Bulldogs would win the tiebreak.

3rd best scenario: MSU wins out, Bama and Arkansas beat LSU, Ole Miss beats Arkansas or Auburn beats A&M. This scenario presents a three-way tie between MSU, Bama and LSU, so the kicker again is Ole Miss being ahead of A&M for 4th place. This shouldn’t be a problem since they are essentially two games ahead right now, but either they’ll need to secure one more win or A&M lose one more for it to be a done deal.

4th best scenario: MSU wins out, Arkansas and Ole Miss beat LSU, Alabama finishes 5-3. This would create a three way tie between MSU, LSU and Ole Miss. Since those teams would have 1-1 records against each other we’d go to the fourth place team which would be Bama by virtue of their win over A&M, leaving MSU and OM tied and State winning that tie-break. So it would be important here for Bama to win the Iron Bowl as a 4-4 (incredibly unlikely Saban would lose three in a row) Tide team would probably finish behind A&M which would allow Ole Miss to go to Atlanta.

MSU could win out and still not win the West (obviously, or we’d control our own destiny). The easiest way for this to happen would be LSU losing only one remaining game. There are a couple others as well…

  • LSU loses to Bama and A&M forcing a four way tie between MSU, LSU, Bama and A&M – which Bama would win.
  • LSU loses to Ole Miss and A&M forcing a four way tie between MSU, LSU, OM and A&M – which Ole Miss would win.
  • MSU ends in a tie with LSU and/or A&M which could happen if Bama and OM end the season with three SEC losses. This is the most unlikely scenario of the bunch as the Tigers would be losing their home games vs. Arkansas and A&M but winning their road games vs. Bama and OM.

Hopefully your head isn’t spinning at this point. If it is, I’ll bottom line it for you:

  1. State needs to win out
  2. Bama and Ole Miss winning the rest of their games except when playing State is a good thing
  3. Always root against LSU and A&M until Thanksgiving, then check back with me

The Battle for the Golden Egg will be for the SEC West if:

  1. Bama beats LSU
  2. State beats Mizzou, Bama and Arkansas
  3. Ole Miss beats Arkansas and LSU