Mississippi State Vs. Kentucky Preview: The Most Important Unimportant Game of the Year

Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kentucky Wildcats, 7 p.m., FSN

This could be the most important game of the season for Mississippi State and Kentucky. That's perhaps a statement for how far the Bulldogs have fallen since last season's surprise season: Their most important remaining game is against the consensus worst team in the conference.

But that where they are: State will face off with Kentucky in a game that could decide whether one of these teams heads to a bowl. The Western Division Bulldogs have three wins and still have home games against Tennessee-Martin and Ole Miss; a win today would put them on a glide path to a second consecutive postseason berth. The odds of a sixth win coming in a home game against Alabama or a trip to Arkansas seem slim.

Kentucky also has two more clearly winnable games on the schedule: a home showdown with Ole Miss and a road trip against Vanderbilt, although the latter could be dicey for the 'Cats. A game at Georgia and against Tennessee in Lexington will likely not be games where Kentucky will be favored, to say the least. And while missing a bowl bid might not cost Joker Phillips his job, at least securing a postseason spot would go a long way toward helping the embattled head coach no longer in waiting hold on.

On the field, the game could be a slog. Mississippi State is a slightly better team statistically, though that means the Bulldogs are a mediocre SEC team while Kentucky is a terrible one. State is last in the conference in just one statistical category tracked by the NCAA -- kickoff returns -- while Kentucky brings up the rear in seven.

State's bowl bid stays alive, while Kentucky's long season continues.

Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 13

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