Football season is over, but I just can't let it go. Let's talk about next year for a minute.
Football season is only 3 months. At least the heart of it is. There are still some tremors during bowl season, but the meat of what we love the most - college football Saturdays - only last 3 months. So I like to savor it and do plenty of review after the year, and even a way too early look at the next season.
Here is Mississippi State's schedule for 2013:
- vs. Oklahoma State (Houston)
- vs. Alcorn State
- at Auburn
- vs. Troy
- vs. LSU
- vs. Bowling Green
- vs. Kentucky
- at South Carolina
- at Texas A&M
- vs. Alabama
- at Arkansas
- vs. Ole Miss
The game against OSU has as many people for it as against it, and it will definitely be a tough one to win. The good news is we'll have a veteran QB going in there with a veteran O-line, and maybe the defense can bring some intensity with Geoff Collins leading the way. I'd say MSU has a 40/60 shot at winning as of right now.
Then you get into a more relaxed non-conference game with Alcorn State - a win. Going to Auburn could be tricky. How good will they be in their first year under Malzahn? I think there are a lot of questions here on both sides of the ball, and like 2011, the Bulldogs should be favored on the Plains. The Troy game should be a win as well.
If there's any chance to beat LSU then at home this would be it. The last time we beat them was in Starkville, and the only other time we had a legit chance at the end of the game (2009) was at home. We have that scenario here and LSU is going to be recovering from being absolutely gutted. They have lost 11 underclassmen to the NFL Draft. ELEVEN - that's a record. Plus all the seniors. Sure, they restock pretty easily in Baton Rouge, but I don't know if they'll be able to overcome this and just pound MSU as per the usual. What's more, they face Auburn and Georgia in the two weeks prior, and Florida the next week. I really think this is our chance to finally beat the Bayou Bengals.
A home game with Kentucky is next, we should make it five in a row. I think this will put MSU at 6-1, or perhaps even 7-0 again. I'd put more money on 6-1, though. 5-2 is also a possibility, and certainly 4-3 as well. But I think the schedule sets up pretty well for a pretty good team to get off to another fast start - and maybe this time it won't be built on a stack of cards. Even so, I'm predicting another "collapse".
Going to South Carolina in Week 9 followed by Texas A&M in Week 10 will be really tough to win either game. What a road trip that would be. Travel to Columbia, SC, then spend all week getting across practically half the United States going to College Station, TX.
Alabama is up next in Starkville. I'm not going to hold my breath. And by the time we go to Little Rock I'm sure Bret Bielema will have UPig in pretty good shape, plus we never win there, literally.
So, I'm looking at a 4-game skid going into the Egg Bowl. This one we've got to win. And if so, it could make a 7-5 or 8-4 year. Even if we go 7-5, or even 6-6 but win the Egg Bowl I feel like this season, with this schedule would be a success. And add to that playing USC, A&M and Bama at least half way decent. But if we beat LSU like I am intimating, I'm sure we'll all feel pretty good about that no matter what happens.