AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Vick Ballard #28 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs dives for the endzone, but is ruled out of bounds at the one yard line in the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers on September 10, 2011 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Auburn is an Ag school, an engineering and a Vet school. They don't have any use for the Liberal Arts "flagship" school up north. They are like us. They have always been like a brother, or friend, in the SEC if you will.
After Shug Jordan and Pay Dye pretty much dominated MSU, Jackie Sherrill evened things up a bit winning 6 of 10 including four in a row from 1991-2000. After that, however, things got bad as Auburn reeled off six straight wins and five consecutive spankings of 28 points or more from 2001-06. But since 2007 the annual September match-up between Auburn and Mississippi State has been close.
2007: 19-14 MSU
2008: 3-2 Auburn
2009: 49-24 Auburn
2010: 17-14 Auburn
2011: 41-34 Auburn
When you look at those games, there are at least three of them that make you want to turn your head and puke. It has been so close the last couple of years but MSU could not get muster enough to win. Now Auburn has won 10 of the last 11 games in this series after Matt Wyatt and Co. never lost a game to the Plainsmen. Throw in the Cam Newton scandal and Mississippi State fans are ready to throw their "brother" from the SEC to the wolves. Half of my family graduated from Auburn and even I am about sick of the orange and blue.
That got me thinking, what does Auburn think about us? Do they view us as a threat, or just lucky to have been in those games? I have to assume MSU cares more about this game this year because we haven't been winning it - and we've seen how the season can rise and falls with this game. So to help us see Auburn's view of this game, I asked for help from some of the great writers at College and Magnolia, SB Nation's Auburn site...
My question: How do you, as an Auburn fan, view Mississippi State football right now, and how do you view this year's game between Auburn and MSU?
Everett Duke: If I had to describe MSU in a few words, I would probably choose annoying and pesky. No, I'm not talking about the cowbells. Your mascot certainly fits because you are the bulldogs biting at the ankles of the rest of the SEC. You can definitely scare and beat many teams. The last few years, I have come to see MSU as a threat and not as laughable. I expect a close game this year, but certainly not 3-2 close. Unleash the offense (and/or questionable defense)!
Chris Fuhrmeister: This is a big year for State. Dan Mullen is in Year 4, which is generally accepted to be around the time a head coach has built the program to his specifications. If the Bullies can't win more than seven games this year, I don't know if they ever will. Mullen has already been hit somewhat with the "overrated" label, and if State can't get over the hump in 2012, that idea -- fair or not -- will be pretty much universally accepted.
As for this year's game, I'm nervous. Auburn is still breaking in new schemes on both sides of the ball and will likely have a quarterback making his first true road start, which can always end in disaster. I fully expect State to give Auburn everything it can handle, and I wouldn't be surprised by a Bulldog win.
Kim Hays: I always think the AU MSU game is important because it's so early in the season. It gives both sides a chance to set expectations for the season.
I think MSU is at a critical point in their quest to be a contender in the race for the West. This year is not do-or-die, but that time is quickly approaching.
Dusty Miller: We all have fun reminding MSU fans that their only SEC West wins under Mullen have come against Ole Miss. But it's the SEC West, the most difficult division in the most difficult league in all of college football. I see MSU as a team who is still building talent. They're improving, not quite ready to contend for the division crown, but moving in the right direction. They will be a competitive team and give opponents
fits this year.
Last year, I would say the game gave me a near heart attack, but the truth is I don't remember the game. Too much tailgating. I'm very nervous about this matchup. It will be a huge early test for both teams.
Brett Mixon: Going to Mississippi State scares me, because it will be Kiehl Frazier's first true road game and first SEC game. Te past couple years have produced close games, but it's hard to give Dan Mullen the edge when he hasn't been able to put together an SEC West win over anyone besides TSUN.
Thomas Murphy: Well, I think Miss. State has come a long way under Dan Mullen. Instead of being a given SEC West win for opponents, they are a competitive team within the SEC. They aren't anywhere near being one of the elite teams of the SEC, though. I think Mullen needs to continue to recruit guys that fit his system. As for playing Auburn, it's always a scary game for us. It doesn't matter who is the home team, it is often a nail-biter until the end.
I can't stand the cowbells.
Peggy Rossmanith: I view Mississippi State as a work in progress--they're trying to break through to the upper ranks but having to do so in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the country. This year's game will probably give me an ulcer, much like the last two.
Andy Salser: I think MSU is in a long building process. Dan Mullen's schemes require certain types of athletes to be successful. MSU is about 75-85% complete in realizing his team vision.
This year's game will, once again, be a huge piece in either team's season success or failure. A win will give the victorious team the confidence needed going into the remainder of SEC play; a loss could derail the loser into a disastrous season.
Thanks to the team at College and Magnolia for the great response. Be sure to check their blog out throughout the year for all things Auburn. Follow them on twitter HERE.