It's not that much of a surprise that Mississippi comes into this game with nothing left to add to their resume except a state championship. There's no bowl game ahead for the Rebels, the head coach is on his way out of the program, and the mostly-low season expectations were not surpassed. It's hard to argue with those who said that the players seem to have quit the last couple of weeks.
For Mississippi State, the story is slightly different. No one put the Western Division Bulldogs into the national championship game, to be sure, but most expected them to be playing for more this weekend than a bottom-tier bowl game invite and a .500 regular-season record. A year that started with the promise that Dan Mullen might have turned things around in Starkville for good just served as a reminder of how difficult it will be to turn Mississippi State into perennial contenders.
And it's not like the five wins that the Dogs have wracked up this season aren't straight out of the Bill Snyder and Rich Brooks School of Scheduling. State claims a win at Memphis, an overtime win against Louisiana Tech (which Ole Miss would likely kill for), an uninspiring defeat of UAB and victories at Kentucky and against Tennessee-Martin. When people from other conferences complain about SEC schedules, this is what they're talking about.
The thing is that Ole Miss is just so bad this year, I'm running out of adjectives. There are only so many ways you can call a team awful, even one that's 2-9. It's almost for the best that there's nothing left to give the Rebels a chance at the postseason.
And while Mississippi State is mediocre, it's not Ole Miss-level bad. It's hard to put a loss past either of these teams, but State's offense is just enough to send Houston Nutt out a loser.
Mississippi State 35, Mississippi 24