Four games are in the books, and yes, sadly, one-third of the college football season has been played. The good news is that the Bulldogs stand at 4-0 after a win over LSU Saturday night.
The Good: Practically all of the game falls in this category. There were a few plays here or there that were not so good, and of course the last few minutes almost induced heart attacks, but this was easily one of the best efforts by Mississippi State in years, maybe decades. Looking back at the game, there were individuals who stood out, but more than anything, this was a true team effort and victory.
The Bad: Two plays worried me a bit in this game. The first was the ill-advised pass attempt from Dak Prescott near the end of the first half. He was close to being able to make a brilliant play with Josh Robinson, but he was closer to disaster. I love Prescott's aggressiveness, but I'm worried that it might lead to an injury or a big play for the other team. However, that aggressiveness is part of what makes him so good, and there is no way anyone should want that to change.
The Ugly: Why in the world did so many people want to scream bloody murder about Dan Mullen after the win? I get going to the prevent defense late. I get the substitutions, and if not for one bad snap, no one is complaining about any of this. I felt the Bulldogs needed one more score to get to that point in the game where you do those two things because a four-score lead would have been completely insurmountable no matter the circumstances, and really, a three-possession lead was all but insurmountable.
To all of the folks saying the Bulldogs survived in spite of Mullen's coaching or that he almost blew the game for his players, you are completely wrong. That was easily one of the best-coached games by this staff. They found the areas to attack LSU, and they stayed after it. At the end of the night, the Bulldogs had a win in Death Valley at night, something only Nos. 1 Alabama and Florida have done against LSU since 2005.
SEC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dak Prescott, MSU, QB: There were other players with big games. Blake Sims and Amari Cooper had big numbers for Alabama, but Prescott's effort, on the road and against a ranked team, outshine what they did on Saturday.
SEC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kris Frost, Auburn, LB: I had a bit of consideration here for Preston Smith, but at the end of the day, I'm going with the play of the Auburn linebacker in Manhattan. He picked up six tackles, two for a loss, and two sacks to go along with a forced fumble.
LOOK AROUND THE SEC:
No. 5 Auburn 20, No. 20 Kansas State 14: The Wildcats had everything needed for the upset except made field goals, and the Tigers survived a tricky road game to remain undefeated.
No. 13 Georgia 66, Troy 0: There was a time that the Trojans were a scary team to face, but those days seem long gone as they stand at 0-4. Georgia looked the part of a top-ten team in this one.
No. 6 Texas A&M 58, SMU 6: The Aggies just pilled up the offense in this game, and the Mustangs had no answer in any part of the game. The win for Texas A&M moved the team to 4-0 for the first time since 2006.
No. 3 Alabama 42, Florida 21: The expected blowout finally came after the first quarter as the Tide outscored Florida 28-7 after the first 15 minutes of play.
Indiana 31, No. 18 Missouri 27: In the LOLWUT upset of the weekend, Missouri managed to lose to Indiana, and in the process, helped make the B1G seem relevant again.
Arkansas 52, N. Illinois 14: Break up the Hogs! Other than a pretty well-played loss to Auburn, the Razorbacks look like they might be turning the corner. Everyone should know after they take on Texas A&M Saturday.
No. 14 Souther Carolina 48, Vanderbilt 34: The Commodores looked like they were poised for the upset early, but the Gamecocks took control of the game and picked up the 14-point win in Nashville.
SEC POWER POLL: Last week's rankings in parentheses
1. Alabama (1)
2. Auburn (3)
3. Texas A&M (4)
4. Mississippi State (8)
5. South Carolina (5)
6. Georgia (6)
7. Ole Miss (7)
8. LSU (8)
9. Arkansas (10)
10. Tennesee (11)
11. Missouri (9)
12. Florida (12)
13. Kenucky (13)
14. Vanderbilt (14)
Random Thoughts from the Weekend:
1. How much fun was that LSU game? Yes, it caused moms to go into labor (no confirmed reports, but someone needs to say this happened), but it was great theater. Seriously, that game played out like a Greek tragedy where the hero looks strong early, then faces all sorts of adversity before finally conquering the bad guy. That is part of the reason we all enjoyed it so much.
2. This Mississippi State team could do some big things, and this is the first time I have been truly convinced this year. It did not have so much to do with the play on the field, but the mental toughness of this team. They could have folded after the Prescott fumble, but the team, in large part because of Prescott, bounced right back and scored.
3. Speaking of Prescott, he has looked the part of a top-notch quarterback and player through four games. Let's see where he is after the next two games before cranking up the Heisman talk though. If he turns in similar performances, that noise will go from a murmur to a roar, and rightfully so. He would have big stats and play on a top-five team if Mississippi State stands at 6-0.
4. Speaking of 6-0, there is no reason for Mississippi State fans to implode if the Bulldogs only get to 4-2. The next two games are not cupcakes, and the SEC West is just that good. However, there should be one of the best atmospheres ever at Davis Wade Stadium on October 4.
5. Get Jameis Winston off of the TV. When he came out in pads, Jimbo should have sent him to the locker room for good for the night. He does not get it at all, and the troubling thing is that he will do something else regrettable down the line. Sam Ponder hit a home run when she said Winston knows right from wrong. She's right, and that is really all that matters. He knows that what he said was offensive, doubly so given his past, and that doing things such as stealing crab legs is wrong, but he does not care. There have been no real consequences, and this is going to cause him to crash and burn.