10 Biggest What Ifs in Mississippi State Sports History

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6. What if Pearl Harbor had been on January 7 instead of December 7?

World War II ended with the Axis Powers losing, so I’m not going to question God’s will for Pearl Harbor to be attacked by the Japanese and subsequently get America involved in the war. But I just wonder what would’ve happened if it had occurred a month later?

In 1941, Mississippi State was 8-1-1. One of those eight wins was a 14-0 defeat of Alabama – AT Alabama. Apparently the 16-0 defeat to No. 10 Dequesne was enough to boot State out of the Top 20 (at the time), and the win against No. 14 Ole Miss wasn’t enough to get them back in the rankings, but whatever.

It appears as though rankings didn’t matter because Alabama somehow jumped from No. 18 to a split national championship with Minnesota (who the NCAA recognizes) after beating No. 2 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

1941 SEC Champions: 8-1-1 Mississippi State.

1941 National Champions: 9-2 Alabama.

Mississippi State did not go to a bowl game that year due to extenuating circumstances related to the United States entering World War II. Georgia (2nd) and Alabama (3rd) represented the SEC instead. If not for Pearl Harbor being bombed just prior to bowl season, the Crimson Tide would have been sitting at home and it would have been Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl.

If Alabama could jump from No. 18 to become national champs by beating Texas A&M, then surely Mississippi State College (at the time) could’ve done the same. At the very least, it would take away one of the Tide’s claimed national titles.