There was always the sneaking suspicion that Mississippi State was a little overrated as the Western Division Bulldogs went to 7-0 near the end of October. After all, MSU had not faced any of the heavyweights in the SEC West, and they hadn't even played a Texas A&M team that was beginning to look far better than anyone had thought in the preseason.
State has now done both of those, playing Alabama last week and A&M on Saturday. And, just like that, the Bulldogs are 7-2 with one leg left in the hardest three weeks on the schedule.
Against Texas A&M, it wasn't even close. The Aggies piled up 693 yards, outgaining Mississippi State by 383 yards -- which means, of course, that TAMU more doubled up State on yardage. In fact, either A&M's passing or running yardage would have been more than the Bulldogs' 310 yards of total offense. Mississippi State did not score until almost 37 minutes of gametime had ticked off the clock.
Meanwhile, Johnny Manziel had the kind of game that has sparked talk that he could be a darkhorse candidate to be the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Manziel was 30-of-36 for 311 yards passing, though he somehow went without a touchdown through the air. No matter -- he ran for 129 yards and two scores on 21 carries.
Texas A&M still needs a ton of help to even think about the SEC Championship Game this season, but the fact that they're even mathematically alive into November is a bit astonishing. The Aggies are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in future years, and probably for at least as long as Manziel is taking the snaps at quarterback. This year, Alabama and LSU are clearly the front-runners for the SEC West, but from all appearances they will be joined next year by another contender.