In some ways, I feel a little bit like Year2 did when he introduced our Mississippi State preview this week. Mississippi State appears to be in a little bit of a rut as a program now, never quite ranking as the worst team in its stacked division, but never quite ranking as the best. Dan Mullen's program at times seems almost like it's running on auto-pilot.
But those things sometimes change. Steve Spurrier looked like he was destined for a series of mediocre 7-5 or 8-4 years before the breakout 9-3 campaign in 2010 that brought the program's first SEC East title, followed by a pair of 10-win regular seasons. That tripled the number of 10-win seasons in program history.
Kentucky, aided by a coaching change, eventually went the other way. Despite spending a few weeks in the Top 10 in 2007 -- perhaps the weirdest year in college football that I can remember -- the Wildcats never really broke through during Rich Brooks' tenure, then fell from mediocrity to disaster during Joker Phillips' time leading the program.
The question for Mississippi State seems less likely one of whether things will change -- either Mullen will leave or get replaced by restless administrators at some point over the next several years if they don't -- but when they will and which way they will go. While there were some rumblings that South Carolina might get that division title in 2010, it was by no means a popular opinion at the beginning of that season. And most of us thought before the bottom fell out that Phillips would at least do no worse than Rich Brooks.
Maybe this season is the one that changes things for Mississippi State. Maybe this is the year that they finally begin to serve notice that Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M have another program they have to contend with. But there's just not enough reason to believe that to change the prediction of another status quo year.
Place: 5th in the SEC West
Record: 6-6, 3-5 SEC
Could be: 4-8 to 9-3
Best chance for an upset: LSU
8.31.13 | vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (Houston) | PROBABLE LOSS
9.7.13 | ALCORN STATE | WIN
9.14.13 | at AUBURN | POSSIBLE WIN
9.21.13 | TROY | LIKELY WIN
10.5.13 | LSU | LIKELY LOSS
10.12.13 | BOWLING GREEN | LIKELY WIN
10.24.13 | KENTUCKY | POSSIBLE WIN
11.2.13 | at SOUTH CAROLINA | LIKELY LOSS
11.9.13 | at TEXAS A&M | LIKELY LOSS
11.16.13 | ALABAMA | LIKELY LOSS
11.23.13 | at ARKANSAS (Little Rock) | POSSIBLE WIN
11.28.13 | OLE MISS | POSSIBLE LOSS
Key (from least likely to win to most): Loss, Likely Loss, Probable Loss, Possible Loss, Possible Win, Probable Win, Likely Win, Win