The ending of the 2012 season for Mississippi State brought about a quite different range of emotions in Bulldog fans than the first seven games of the year. Unfortunately for 2013, the ending stretch of the season proves to be a major challenge yet again.
Going into 2013, your friends at For Whom the Cowbell Tolls try to guess how Mississippi State will finish the last five games of the season.
Right now I've got L, L, L, W, W. But I think State could beat South Carolina or A&M and lose to UPig or OM. The first 7 games will determine whether or not we go to a bowl, the last 5 will determine how we remember the year.
Being realistic, I'm absolutely thrilled with three wins there. I think two wins is doable, but you could very likely see state pull one out for that whole stretch. I mean think about it: in three weeks straight you have three top ten teams, one of which is number one, then you go play somewhere where we've never played well in the state of Arkansas, and then you finish at home with a much improved Ole Miss team that could either be riding high with eight or nine wins or pissed because they only have five or six. It's a brutal stretch, there's no doubt, and one that State and Dan Mullen will have to find a way to navigate if anything more than six wins is going to be possible.
Unfortunately, I think we're in for another stumbling finish. 2-3 is probably the best we can manage by beating Arkansas and Ole Miss. 1-4 is probably more likely.
The last 5 game stretch is an absoluter Murderer's Row. At South Carolina, At aTm, Alabama, At Arkansas, and Mississippi. That's fun, said no one ever. My best guess is State will either go 2-3 or 3-2 through that stretch. Alabama is a certain loss. I think we'll be competitive at home with them, but they'll pull away late. At South Carolina is an intriguing game to me. They will be the 2nd or 3rd best team in the East this season. I think State could potentially be the 2nd to 5th best team in the West. I'd say that makes this matchup fairly even. The big questions is how will we block Jadeveon Clowney? We also have an extra 3 days to prepare for that game, thanks to a Thursday night tilt with UK the week prior. I look for a close game, with USC having the edge at home. Texas A&M is a wild card to me. They could be really good or really bad. We all know about Johnny Manziel. The question is can he keep it together and not rip their locker room apart. They also return a lot of experience to an offensive line that pushed around our defensive line last season. Arkansas is an interesting matchup. We've never won inside the state of Arkansas. But we also haven't lost to a 1st year Arkansas head coach. One streak has to give. It also doesn't help that this game is sandwiched between our two biggest rivalry games in Bama and Mississippi. But I think this could be the year the winless in Arkansas streak ends. It's cliched, but true: Throw out the records when Mississippi State and Mississippi play. I give the Dawgs an edge at home in this one, but this game will be a war.
--War Machine Dawg
Barring an upset, which seems a unlikely against South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama, the Bulldogs should finish 2-3. The Bulldogs should be able to out match the Razorbacks in Little Rock, and they should remember the embarrassing loss to Ole Miss to close 2012. With the Battle for the Golden Egg being played in Starkville, look for the Bulldogs to handle business.