C&F's predictions for Mississippi State.
Finish: 6th, SEC West
General: The Bulldogs will be more competitive in some of the games against the major powers in the SEC than they were under Sylvester Croom's noffense. The question remains whether the defense continues it post-Ellis Johnson slide for a second year or manages to turn things around. Losing games by 20 points kills morale regardless of whether the margin is 30-10 or 51-31. The latter is more competitive in a sense, but it still makes for a long season. On the other hand, a bowl berth does not require some wild-eyed stretch of fancy. Sweep the mid-majors and FCS teams, pick off some of the weaker SEC teams and tack on an upset and you get to six wins. Easy? No. Beyond reason? No.
More specific: Mississippi State's record will improve at least one game from the 4-8 mark last year. A jump from 4-8, far from bowl competition, to 5-7, on the cusp of postseason eligibility, is a major step for a program mired in the type of mediocrity Mississippi State has endured for much of the decade. State will also probably pull at least one upset among the games against LSU, Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss. The likeliest suspect is LSU. There will be an offsetting loss among Vanderbilt
, Kentucky or Arkansas. C&F's money is on Vanderbilt.
9.5 :: vs. Jackson State :: WIN
9.12 :: at Auburn :: POSSIBLE LOSS
9.19 :: at Vanderbilt :: PUSH
9.26 :: vs. LSU :: LIKELY LOSS
10.3 :: vs. Georgia Tech :: LIKELY LOSS
10.10 :: vs. Houston (Homecoming) :: LIKELY WIN
10.17 :: at Middle Tennessee :: WIN
10.24 :: vs. Florida :: LOSS
10.31 :: at Kentucky :: POSSIBLE
WIN LOSS (Revised later to reflect reconsideration while doing Kentucky preview)
11.14 :: vs. Alabama :: LIKELY LOSS
11.21 :: at Arkansas (Little Rock) :: POSSIBLE WIN
11.28 :: vs. Ole Miss :: LIKELY LOSS
Final record: 5-7, 2-6 SEC