Since Justin continues to hammer on the stronger non-conference debate, I will interject a quick thought. (Side note - if you just can't get enough of this you can check out more on this debate on the FWTCT radio show on demand via the Bulldog Sports Radio app...or whenever thecristilmethod post it on the site).
Mississippi State wants and needs to play at least 7 home games each year. To do this, we have to schedule a FCS school, and then mix and match the rest with 2 for 1s and series with gap years. We are not Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Florida or Georgia. We do not have the kind of cash to simply pay Troy $1,000,000 to play one game at Davis Wade. In lieu of that, we commit to playing one game at their place in exchange for two at ours. We can afford to pay Jackson State $400K or whatever it is to come to Starkville for a single beatdown, but not a FBS team.
Here's a look at MSU's non-conference schedule for the next few years:
2012: vs. Jackson State (FCS), at Troy, vs. South Alabama (transitional - counts as FBS), vs. Middle Tennessee
2013: Mississippi Valley State (FCS), at UAB, vs. Troy, vs. Bowling Green
2014: vs. Southern Miss, vs. UAB, at South Alabama, TBD FCS opponent
2015: at Southern Miss, vs. Louisiana Tech, TBD home game (assume Bowling Green, Troy, South Alabama - pick one), TBD FCS opponent
2016: at Louisiana Tech, 3 TBD home games (assume one FCS, two from Troy, Bowling Green or South Alabama)
2017: vs. Louisiana Tech, 2 TBD home games (assume one FCS, one Troy or South Alabama), 1 TBD road game (assume Bowling Green)
Common theme: we will play 7 home games.
Why play six road games when you can play five? Why not have one more week at Davis Wade when you can get it? If State schedules a BCS team from another conference it will be home and home for back-to-back years and we will certainly be stuck with a six home game - six road game season. If we do it every year we'd have 6 & 6 all the time.
I understand where Justin's coming from today. I'm not sure playing Jackson State in Week 1 helps us much when we play Auburn in Week 2. But I don't think there's any need to face a BCS team....I believe one of those C-USA or Sun Belt games would do the trick. But take 2014, we will be playing Southern most likely the first game of the season - so there you go. If I could make the schedule out I'd have Jackson State Week 1, Troy Week 2 and Auburn Week 3. I think that would be our best bet - warm up against JSU, a stiffer test at Troy and we should be ready to go for SEC play. Then South Alabama and MTSU are breaks during the grueling SEC season.
Since Justin puts a poll out every day, I'll do the same. It's all a matter of opinion so really no one is wrong...but who is more right?