For Mississippi State fans, the good news is that the Bulldogs have a chance to take the next step in moving up the ladder in the SEC this weekend. The bad news is that will come in one of the toughest environments in college football as the Bulldogs travel to Death Valley to take on the LSU Tigers Saturday night.
We played five questions with Billy Gomila from And the Valley Shook to get a different perspective on the game this weekend.
1) LSU has developed a bit of a new offensive identity this year. It has seemed to go in spurts with slow first halves against Wisconsin and ULM, but explode at other times. How is the team taking to the offense?
Better than I think it seems right now, given the youth on that side of the ball. The offensive line has under-performed a little bit, but the young skill players have actually been a little bit ahead of where we thought. Anthony Jennings has also come along better than we expected as a playmaker.
2) The LSU defense has been nothing shirt of phenomenal, especially the last 10 quarters. What is making the defense play so well?
It all starts with the secondary, which we knew would be good but has been playing at an incredibly high level. Dak Prescott should be a heck of a test for them. Up front, the young defensive tackles have done a great job of gumming up the middle and everything's fed off that. The defensive ends have been able to get into the backfield, and the linebackers are running pretty clean.
3) How does the LSU fanbase feel about this team? Is this the type of squad that you think can make the playoffs and play for a national championship?
I feel like LSU's going to have a chance to win almost every game they play, but with a team this young that's probably something we can realistically expect. I expect LSU to have a season similar to what we've been used to as of late, around 10 wins give or take one. The question is, with the SEC West looking so crowded, whether or not that's enough to get to Atlanta. I think it might be.
4) Everyone talks about it, and there is truth to the fact that Death Valley at night is unlike anything else in college football. For those who have never been, what does the trick there?
Playing at night is just the tradition that LSU fans have come to expect. The obvious answer is that after a whole day of tailgating that the crowd's a little extra lubed up, but honestly, stereotypes exist for a reason. When the stadium's full for a big game that crowd is loud and it is sustained. And with the new South Endzone addition, that noise hangs in a little more.
5) LSU is a favorite in this game, and they have dominated the series for a while. How do LSU fans view this game, and who needs to play well for the Tigers to pick up the victory against Mississippi State? On the flip side, what about Mississippi State worries LSU fans coming into this game?
I'm not going to lie, a lot of fans view State as just a game that LSU is supposed to win. Not a gimme in the same way that a ULM or a Sam Houston State is, but it's just a streak that's hard to picture ending. For myself, I'm keenly aware that streaks always end eventually, and whether Saturday is that day or not, State's going to win this one some day.
That confidence had me a little unnerved at the beginning of the week, especially with Prescott, who's easily the best QB LSU's seen this season. Who knows, he might wind up being the best in the SEC, depending on how Bo Wallace and Kenny Hill fare against the meat of their schedules. But in the end, I think that LSU's defense matches pretty well with the Bulldog offense, and LSU will be able to move the ball on Mississippi State, especially through the air.