"This promises us a bowl game every year," says most Mississippi State fans that do not want to see a change in the way the Bulldogs structure their out of conference schedule. This attitude makes no sense for two reasons: 1) Recent history proves otherwise, and 2) The Bulldogs stack up well against several schools. In fact, hearing this argument should make the casual observer wonder if the Bulldogs have been overrated the last few years if their fans think they cannot defeat BCS schools.
The last two seasons have ended with the Bulldogs defeating a BCS opponent in a bowl game. On New Years' 2011 (2010 season), Mississippi State thumped Michigan in the Gator Bowl, and the Bulldogs finished the season by knocking off Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl. That's two BCS teams and a 2-0 record.
As to argument number two, I wonder how many of those that say the Bulldogs cannot afford to ramp up their out of conference schedules have really looked at all the BCS schools available to play. Check out the list after the jump with projected results for games played in Starkville.
ACC: Boston College (should beat), Clemson (loss), Duke (win), Florida State(loss), Georgia Tech (push), Maryland (win), Miami (push), North Carolina State (win), North Carolina (push), Virginia (win), Virginia Tech (loss), Wake Forest (win)
Projected Record vs. ACC: 6-3-3
Big 12: Baylor (loss), Iowa State (win), Kansas (win), Kansas State (push), Oklahoma (loss), Oklahoma State (loss), Texas Tech (push), Texas (push), TCU (loss), West Virginia (loss)
Projected Record vs. Big 12: 2-5-3
Big East: Cincinnati (win), Connecticut (win), Louisville (win), South Florida (win), Rutgers (win), Pittsburgh (win), Syracuse (win), Temple (win)
Projected Record vs. Big East: 8-0
Big Ten: Illinois (win), Indiana (win), Iowa (push), Michigan (push), Michigan State (loss), Minnesota (win), Nebraska (loss), Northwestern (win), Ohio State (loss), Penn State (push), Purdue (win), Wisconsin (loss)
Projected Record vs. Big 10: 5-4-3
Pac-12: Arizona (win), Arizona State (win), California (win), Colorado (win), Oregon (loss), Oregon State (push), Stanford (loss), UCLA (win), Utah (push), USC (loss), Washington (win), Washington State (win)
Projected Record vs. Pac-12: 7-3-2
Outside of the Big 12, Mississippi State should fare very well against other conferences in games played in Starkville. I tried to give these as conservative result as possible, so if you completely disagree with some of these, let me know. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
There are two valid arguments that could be made against this. The first is that Mississippi State would owe a return matchup and could stumble on the road. That is true. To that, I say be able to win more than two conference games or stay home for the bowl season.
The second argument is that the strength of teams change and these games have to be scheduled before hand. That is true as well, but hopefully, Mississippi State's team is changing for the better at the same time as well.
In all, there are 28 BCS teams Mississippi State should be able to defeat in the out of conference schedule, and there are probably eleven teams that would be a pick'em situation, and 15 that would be Mississippi State handedly.
Take into account that the Bulldogs have usually showed up around 20 to the "others receiving votes area," and I think that adds validity to this list.
The only thing this changes is the name of the opponent in the gimme wins, but it is a step in the right direction of building the schedule of an up and coming contender, not one that has been there a while.
Tomorrow, we look at long-term benefits and nationwide respect as it comes to scheduling.