Media predictions for Mississippi State haven’t been all that positive this offseason. From CBS Sports thinking that the Bulldogs won’t even be bowl eligible to the SEC Media Days folks having MSU as the 7th team in the SEC West, there haven’t been many people who have been
However, the Bulldogs have a very, very good chance to exceed media expectations in 2016. The Bulldogs have impressive depth at just about every position and should be able to improve on last year’s shortcomings on the offensive line and at running back.
But if Mississippi State is in all actuality going to prove media predictions wrong, one of the biggest ways to do that is to go undefeated in Davis Wade Stadium this year. If the Bulldogs can will all of their home games this season, that’ll set them up to be bowl eligible (proving CBS Sports wrong) and will give them several SEC victories, putting them above 7th in the West.
The question here is can Mississippi State actually do this?
Reasons to buy:
The Bulldogs get a lot of favorable match ups at home this season. South Alabama, South Carolina, Auburn, Samford, Texas A&M, and Arkansas. Four of those teams are either cupcakes or have fallen flat on their faces in recent years. South Alabama and Samford shouldn’t present much of a challenge for Dan Mullen’s team in 2016.
And Auburn and South Carolina likely won’t be able to field enough of an offense to contend with what should be an incredibly stout defense. The Tigers simply don’t have a legitimate quarterback yet (or a running back anymore) and the Gamecocks lost a lot of talent during the tail end of Spurrier’s stint in Columbia (and they haven’t been able to reload quickly enough).
Reasons to sell:
Texas A&M and Arkansas. By most in depth predictions from people that have been paying attention to trends in college football, either of these games could go either way. As I mentioned above, Texas A&M can’t win a late season game to save their souls but they’re still bringing fielding an insane amount of talent and they have John Chavis. It doesn’t matter how good their offense is, their defense might actually pan out to be pretty good this year.
And then there’s Arkansas. The team that is the exact opposite of A&M in that they’re practically unbeatable in the month of November under Bret Bielema. If you don’t believe me, just ask Ole Miss and LSU. And despite the fact that Arkansas lost just about every key piece of their offense, I’m not putting it past them to field something that resembles just enough of an offense to find a way to win at this late in the season.
Am I buying or selling?
I have a hard time buying on this one. I’m not scared of what South Alabama, South Carolina, Auburn, or Samford might bring to Starkville. Those should all be wins for Mississippi State. After all, South Alabama and Samford are perennial cupcakes and South Carolina and Auburn are both incredibly deficient on offense as of late. If the Gamecocks or Tigers could piece together an offense, then there might be a reason to be concerned, but there’s nothing indicating that they have or will anytime soon.
Unfortunately, I am nervous about A&M and Arkansas. More so about the Aggies than the Razorbacks, but even though Bret Bielema hasn’t found a way to beat Dan Mullen, those games are closer than I (and every other Bulldog that likes having a normal heartbeat) would like them to be.
So, even though I am going to buy this, I plan on keeping the receipt. I think the Bulldogs have a pretty good chance to go 6-0 at home in 2016, but it all primarily depends on how the good Aggies and Razorbacks pan out to be. If Dan Mullen can guide MSU through those games, then there shouldn’t be much of a problem being undefeated at home.
What about you? Are you buying or selling?