If someone wanted to find the highest ever year-end AP ranking for Mississippi State, they would have to go way back to 1940. That season, the school started their second longest winning streak (10 games), and they were in the midst of their longest unbeaten streak (21 games), which started on Nov. 4, 1939 against Birmingham Southern. While many say the Bulldogs should claim the 1941 season as a national title, 1940 was not a bad season at all.
The 1940 squad put together a 10-0-1 record and went 4-0-1 in SEC play. The season opened with a win at Florida, in the third game of the season the team tied Auburn in Birmingham 7-7. The biggest regular season victory may have been the 19-0 victory over Ole Miss, which was ranked No. 11 at the time. This Battle for the Golden Egg stands out because both teams, with Mississippi State College being ranked No. 16, found themselves in the top 20.
The season came to an end on New Years' Day when the Maroon and White took down No. 13 Georgetown 14-7 in the Orange Bowl.
Even with the undefeated record, the good guys fell behind Tennessee, who went 5-0, in the SEC standings. The Volunteers claim the national championship, but the AP awarded the title to Minnesota, coached by Bernie Bierman who spent time as the head coach in Starkville.
In those days, the final AP poll was conducted before the bowl games. In the post-season games, Minnesota did not play in a bowl. Stanford, who finished second in the poll, won the Rose Bowl. Boston College, who also claims the title, knocked off Tennessee. There is a good chance that if the poll had been conducted after the bowls, the Maroon and White may have finished in the top five.
The team picked up several individual honors that season. Hunter Corhern picked up second team All American honors from the AP, and Buddy Elrod walked away as an All American from the NCAA Guide. The team also had five All-SEC selections, and Allyn McKeen was named SEC coach of the year by the Nashville Banner.