Best in the SEC West

By Stephen Evans

Don’t look now but the Mississippi State Bulldogs are knocking on the Top 10 door. But does the resurgence of the Dogs, the surprise team in the SEC to date, reflect a meteoric rise or merely a beneficiary of a weak schedule?


We’re about to find out.


Mississippi State has run up an undefeated mark and a glitzy national ranking, but upon further review of the Bulldogs wins, it’s easy to see how things have gone so well in Starkville. Mississippi State’s wins have come against Jackson State, Auburn, Troy, South Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee State. Entering this weekend, those foes have a combined record of 19-32 and are a combined 10-21 within their respective conferences.


This week, the Bulldogs travel to Alabama. The good news is Mississippi State is 3-0 against teams from the state of Alabama this season. The bad news – this is the No. 1 ranked, defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide on deck. In Bryant-Denny Stadium.


In addition to its lofty ranking atop all major polls and the BCS, Alabama leads the nation in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, and total defense and is third nationally in turnover margin. What’s not fair is Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron also leads the nation in passing efficiency and the Tide ranks among the nation’s leaders in passing offense and scoring offense.


Yes, this will pose a test for Mississippi State, which opened as a 24-point underdog.


Despite the enormous obstacle before them, the Bulldogs can be credited for stepping up and meeting every challenge that has come before them this season. That is a victory in itself for Mississippi State, a regular bottom-feeder in the SEC. There is a reason why MSU head coach Dan Mullen’s name is mentioned for nearly every high profile head coaching position that comes open. With his work this season, don’t expect that to change any time soon.


And if somehow, some way, he can get his Dogs out of Tuscaloosa with an elusive win over the defending champs, paint him the front-runner in Austin. And let the college football chaos begin.


Game Info:


SAT. OCT. 27 – 7:30PM / ESPN