College Football Preseason Top 25: #14 Mississippi State

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Dan Mullen has radically changed the fortunes of Mississippi State. Al Dannity expects the Bulldogs to continue on the upward swing with another strong showing this season.

The schedule It is anything but an easy start for the Bulldogs as they travel to Auburn to kick off SEC play with just a tune-up against Memphis as preparation. The defending BCS Champions may be without some of the stars of last year but remain a force to be feared so long as Gus Malzahn is running the offense. That’s followed up a week later with Mississippi State’s home opener against LSU, before a road game at Georgia the following week.

The schedule softens slightly around the middle. South Carolina won’t be pushovers in Columbia but UAB, Tennessee Martin, and Kentucky should all be overpowered by the Bulldogs. The home game against Alabama on November 12 could make or break Mississippi State’s season, before they close the year with the Egg Bowl against Mississippi.

The players Senior quarterback Chris Relf is the standout name on an offense that returns 8 starters from 2010. There are no all-conference names but what the Bulldogs possess is a ton of veteran talent. Of those returning, 7 are in either their junior or senior year bringing with them plenty of SEC-level experience.

The defense is a lot like the offense. No all-conference players but 7 returning starters from last season who have played plenty of big games for the Bulldogs. The one area of concern is at linebacker, where Mississippi State have no returning starters from 2010. College Football betting fans should also note that kicker Derek DePasquale is back for his senior year.

The forecast It remains to be seen if Dan Mullen can elevate the Bulldogs to BCS level but he has a team that can go quite close in 2011. Having their two toughest opponents at home will certainly help but winning even one of these games will prove a monumental challenge. I like Mississippi State against every other opponent on the schedule bar Auburn, although the road game at Georgia could prove a big banana skin. The Bulldogs are good enough to go 10-2 but this season that probably won’t send them to the Sugar Bowl. Third or fourth in the SEC West is nothing to feel sad about. That would, based on the rest of the talent in the conference, give them a good shot at playing in the Capital One Bowl.