AP Top 25 Poll: Conference Breakdown and Meaning for the Mississippi State Bulldogs

USA TODAY Sports

The AP has released its preseason Top 25 Poll, and as expected, the SEC is well represented. With six ranked teams, all at 12 or higher, the conference led the way in the rankings. What does this mean for the Bulldogs headed into the 2013 season?

The two-time defending national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide sit atop the AP Preseason poll after taking 58 of a possible 60 first place votes. In all, the SEC saw six squads ranked in the poll, all resting in the top 12: Alabama (1), Georgia (5), South Carolina (6), Texas A&M (7), Florida (10), and LSU (12). Vanderbilt and Ole Miss also received votes. The Bulldogs did not make the ballot of any of the voters.

While Alabama gained the lion's share of first place votes, Georgia and Ohio State (2) also picked up a single first place vote. Four Big Ten teams joined the Buckeyes in the preseason poll: Michigan (17), Nebraska (18), Northwestern (22), and Wisconsin (23).

Several Bulldog opponents found themselves ranked in the preseason poll as well. This includes their season opening opponent, Oklahoma State, which starts the season ranked No. 13. In all, the Big 12 had three ranked teams in addition to the Cowboys, who led the way for the conference: Texas (15), Oklahoma (16), and TCU (20).

One conference that the Bulldogs will most likely avoid playing in 2013 is the PAC-12. Paced by the Oregon Ducks, the PAC-12, like the SEC, placed two teams in the top five of the poll and had five teams ranked overall: Oregon (3), Stanford (4), UCLA (21), USC (24), and Oregon State (25).

Of the other automatic-qualifier conferences, the ACC saw two ranked teams in the poll, Clemson (8) and Florida State (11), and the American Athletic Conference saw Louisville (9) ranked as their lone representative.

Of all the teams in the non-AQ conferences, only Boise State will start the season ranked. The Broncos will begin the season with the No. 19 ranking. Independent Notre Dame will start the season ranked No. 14.

As the Bulldogs' schedule stands, Mississippi State will face five ranked teams in the regular season: Alabama, South Carolina, Texas A&M, LSU, and Oklahoma State. With Ole Miss picking up votes in the preseason poll, should the Rebels have a strong season, they could very well make a sixth ranked foe for the Bulldogs in the regular season. The other FBS opponents seem less likely to be in the polls when the Bulldogs face them: Auburn, Troy, Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Alcorn State plays at the FCS level.

While it makes for great water cooler talk, preseason rankings are just that, preseason rankings. They are not based on any action on the field from the current season, and quite often, there are a few teams that pollsters completely misread.

The last time the Bulldogs started the season ranked was 2011, when Mississippi State held the No. 20 ranking in the AP poll. Last year, the Bulldogs received one 25th placed vote.

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