As is the case in Gainesville, I have no clue what will transpire in Starkville this season. Well, I do know that at no point will Mississippi State be ranked as the number one team in America again — this due to Ohio State going wire-to-wire, prob; but, besides that and only that, anything else could conceivably occur. The Bulldogs are as intriguing a team as there is in the country: it returns a Heisman-contending quarterback, a De'Runnya, and handful of both proven (Chris Jones, Will Redmond) and budding (Beniquez Brown, Leo Lewis) talent. So while there won't be any stays atop the polls this season, after yet another surprising 9-0 start, including an upset over conference-fave Auburn, who's to say the Bullies (does anyone else call them that?) won't reach number two status for a while?
The aforesaid, including Dak Prescott who I didn't mention by name, will each by All-SEC players at season's end, but it's the inclusion of Brown, Jones and Redmond on the first team that will show how good of a year D-Coordinator Manny Diaz's group will/will have had. Speaking of, sadly, Dan Mullen's squad will once again stumble ahead of the finish line; starting again with a loss to Alabama, before being upended by Arkansas and Ole Miss to close things out.
But, Prescott will have put up big enough numbers to at least garner an invite to New York this year — a nice consolation prize for the program. And, it will actually win its bowl game this time around — Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl? Over Michigan State?
Yet again, operating within the vacuum that is the series, I may have peaked a little early with my picks: I would totally swap out Arky for MSU as my bold conference champion pick if I could. But, what's done is done. And MSU will now have to settle for what is, here, a third-place finish. With three teams left to unveil, and the top-three divisional finishers already decided, things could get interesting here in the next few weeks.
Or, I could totally start making these bold picks independent of the others; which means that I could say now that it won't be Arkansas who claims the SEC Championship, but rather, one-loss Mississippi State, who would then in turn go to the College Football Playoff.
Or. I can just stick with what's already been said, and prepare to face the wrath of three sure-to-be-pissed-off fan bases over the next few weeks. Ah well. Hail State.