Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State Preview: Beware of Too Many Completely Pointless Numbers

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Cowboys have done well against current members of the SEC and are expected to win the Big XII. But you can read too much into both of those numbers

Mississippi St. Bulldogs vs. Oklahoma St. Cowboys, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC / ESPN2

Beware of some so-called statistics. For example, you can count on broadcasters during today's coverage of the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State game to mention that Oklahoma State is 9-1 in its last 10 games against the SEC. The Oklahoma State program has mentioned that prominently in its materials, as it should. But it's not that relevant of a data point about this game, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, none of those games is against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs haven't faced Oklahoma State since 1999, when they won 29-11. And each team has won two games against the other in the past. Second, only two of those games came against members of the SEC when they were members of the SEC. Eight of the nine wins came against Texas A&M and Missouri when they were in the Big 12, which is fine, but it doesn't mean that Oklahoma State is 9-1 in its last 10 games against the SEC.

What Oklahoma State is this season is a very good football team. Only three of the 20 selectors tracked by Stassen placed the Cowboys outside of the top three in the Big XII, and they are narrowly the consensus No. 1 in the conference. Fifteen starters return to Oklahoma State, which went 8-5 last year but also did things like beat Savannah State by 84 and thrash Texas Tech to make everyone periodically take them seriously.

Mississippi State, meanwhile, isn't given sole possession of fourth place by any of the Stassen selectors -- in their division. And only three gave the Bulldogs a tie for fourth. If this is a battle of conference places, Mississippi State would lose handily.

Which, of course, it's not. I like Mississippi State's offense to be able to keep things close for a long time and maybe, maybe pull off the upset. Outside of the receiving corps, the Mississippi State offense has enough experience to give them a fighting chance. The double-digit line strikes me as just a bit too high, but I think the Cowboys have enough offense to win the game in the end.

Oklahoma State 38, Mississippi State 30

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