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Cowbell Collective -- Mississippi State vs Georgia

Will Uga still love Mark Richt after this Saturday?
Will Uga still love Mark Richt after this Saturday?


 Bulldog fans, it's time for another edition of the Cowbell Collective. 

This week The Bruce Dickinson, Tyler Nelson, and thecristolmethod discuss last week's scare against Louisiana Tech..the Bulldogs receive letter grades for their performance a third of the way through the season...a brief discussion is had regarding which Bulldogs are under the most pressure to win this weekend...and of course scoring predictions. 

Of course don't hesitate to give your own opinions to this week's questions in the comments section!

It took overtime for the Bulldogs to finally put La Tech away last week. Considering the fact that this was a home game and La Tech is in the WAC, are you worried about this football team and how it will fare the rest of the season?

The Bruce Dickinson:  I think many people are starting to realize how much it hurt our team to lose Carmon against Auburn. It caused us to start shifting our O-line around and we lost some experience. That may be why you haven't seen us run the speed options much - because we can't get the push up front that we need.

As for the rest of the season, a lot of games that many thought would be wins for sure (like UGA this weekend) are being reconsidered. It would be great to walk in to Athens and come out with a W. It would be a big boost for the program. UGA has some problems of their own, but they are also showing signs of improvement with each game.

Tyler Nelson:  I’m going to say the LaTech "moral loss" is similar to last season’s game against UAB. Against the Blazers, we won 29-24 but it didn’t feel like we won. We were the superior team and just didn’t come to play. Seems like Dan Mullen is good for one of those kind of games a year. But even with the Bulldogs getting a wake up call, I’m lowering my expectations.

thecristolmethod:  I'm not as worried about the team for the rest of the season as much as I am the playcalling. I was really really puzzled by some of the playcalling on the offensive side of the ball Saturday night. That being said, tomorrow is HUGE for this team. If you look at how the next several weeks unfold schedule wise for State, a win tomorrow would go a long way towards possibly being 7-2 going into the Alabama game in November. Sure, that assumes a home win against South Carolina, but I really think if we can get the W tomorrow it will help us begin to gain momentum and confidence we need to beat a talented top 10 team like Sakerlina. Gotta win tomorrow first, though.

Now that we're a third of the way through the season, what letter grade would you give the Bulldogs so far and why?

The Bruce Dickinson:  Overall, I would say a C+ or B-. The offense has not been as potent as it was at the end of last season, but then again we have already had injuries to 3 of our starting linemen. The defense also needs to step it up. Cox and company are not handling business up front and it is putting to much pressure on our inexperienced linebackers. The defense also seems to be playing soft and only playing to not give up the big play.

Tyler Nelson:  I’ll give them a B-. The Auburn game was derailed when James Carmon and Quentin Saulsberry went down. Without those injuries, I believe MSU wins and we are looking at 3-1. Regardless, injuries are a part of the game and teams must rebound. The offense hasn’t been consistent and defensive coordinator Chris Wilson has been disappointing.

thecristolmethod:  I would give this current team a B-. You can’t fault the team for injuries, and that has been a huge problem so far this season. You also can’t fault the players for scheduling, and having to play Auburn and LSU back to back on 5 days rest would get the best of any team out there. The Auburn loss sucked, sure, but we see more and more as weeks go by how good LSU is, so a close loss to them at home doesn’t feel so bad anymore (ask West Virginia). If we make two more plays (or get some CORRECT CALLS FROM REFEREES), then we’re 3-1 and everyone’s still high on this team. But I know we still have the ability to have a great season.

This week MSU faces the Georgia Bulldogs. Both of these teams have had some early season struggles and both teams are coming fresh off a much needed victory. Which one of these teams do you think is under the most pressure to win this Saturday and why?

The Bruce Dickinson:  The pressure is there for both teams, but I think UGA probably has more. Richt has been on the hot seat for at least 2 seasons, and already did the assistant coach shuffle in a few spots to try and re-energize the team.

Mullen had a great year last year, but you won't see State fans rushing the Bryan Building with pitchforks and torches if we lose.

Tyler Nelson:  Even though State has laid a few eggs the past three weeks, I have to go with Georgia given the "hot seat" talk surrounding Mark Richt. If MSU loses, it was "supposed" to happen - Georgia is more talented, favored and the home team. If Georgia loses, it's another bullet in the chamber for the anti-Richt crowd.

thecristolmethod:  I think the pressure is squarely on Georgia’s shoulders. Sure State wants and may "need" a victory in some people’s eyes, but Georgia can ill afford a home loss to an unranked team in a season in which their head coach is squarely under the microscope. As an aside, I think Coach Richt has handled the critism and rumors as professional as anyone can, but coming into Saturday’s game, I feel like the pressure is more squared up on him and his team. Hoping State will then come out and play loose and smart football like I think they’re capable of. Want to see the team that scored 21 unanswered against Auburn.

Score Predictions?

The Bruce Dickinson:  This one is hard to get a read on. I am going to go with a field goal margin, and Mississippi State turns up the heat on Richt's chair.

Tyler Nelson:  It’ll be close. The fact that Georgia runs a more traditional I-formation will help our defensive front seven and given the moves on our offensive line, I expect us to recommit to the run. This is a homer pick but I have little confidence in it - I’ll go MSU beating Georgia 27-24.

thecristoldmethod:  I think both offenses have good days, I think the biggest difference will be the strength of State’s secondary. Sure, they didn’t play their best game last Saturday vs. Tech, but they made big plays when it mattered most. I think this game goes back and forth throughout, with State making a key late defensive stop to pull out the W 30-24. Cardiac Dawgs finally get a break.