Good morning everyone, and welcome to week one of the Mississippi State season. As we get geared up for the season, let's take a look at whose stock we're buying, and whose stock we're selling going into this fall. Typically, this series will just talk about players performances from the past weekend, but in today's edition, I'll throw in some bonus buy/sell on some predictions for MSU's 2013 season.
Stock to Buy
Quarterback -- while MSU is replacing nearly its entire receiving corps from last season, there is still a reason to remain optimistic about MSU's passing game in 2013, and that reason is named Tyler Russell. Russell had a banner year in 2012, amassing 2,897 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns, both new MSU records. Russell and MSU both faltered at the end of last year though, and so far it sounds like Tyler is using that poor play and downturn as a motivator going into 2013. He knows what he needs to do this year, and the talent is definitely there. If Tyler can put it together and also get production out of a talented but inexperienced receiving corps, this could be a big year for State. So much rides on Tyler, because State can't rush it every down. If he can put it together in his final ride in Starkville, we could see MSU fans much more happy with the season turnout than last year.
Stock to Sell
Wide receiver corps -- It's not necessarily that this group has done anything this offseason to get worse -- other than lose the majority of their productivity to graduation -- it's just that they have a ton to prove going into this season. The trio of Joe Morrow, Robert Johnson, and Jameon Lewis will be called upon to up their production this year if MSU is going to be able to maintain a balanced offense and thusly be successful this season. I do think Jeremy Chappelle, Fred Ross, and Brandon Holloway could prove to be big assets this season and improve the stock of this position group, but for right now, there's more to prove than has already been proving, and therefore I'm selling.
Bonus Preseason Buy/Sell:
Buy: MSU will make a bowl game -- Even with a difficult schedule, I think State makes it four straight bowls this winter. I think there are four should-be wins on the schedule, with about eight games that range from winnable to very difficult. If State could pull out just two of those final eight games, they'll be headed back to a bowl game, although who knows where. I think six wins is a definite, and anything else over that is icing on the cake. This is going to be a tough season with the daunting schedule, but I think a bowl game is a sure thing for 2013.
Sell: MSU's record will improve from 2012 -- Where 2012's schedule was ultra light in the front and heavy in the back, 2013's schedule is heavy again in the back, with a much more difficult front. In 2013 MSU adds top-15 non-conference opponent Oklahoma State, Auburn is improved from last year, and the LSU game moves up to October. Add to those three matchups another five game back half that features three top-10 opponents and two more difficult games, and this season could be very difficult. Last year State won eight games against frankly lesser talented teams. Those teams just aren't on the schedule in that quantity this year, so if State does earn eight wins again, they will earn them, without a doubt. I just don't see it, but I've been wrong LOTS of times. Hoping State proves me wrong.