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Why it’s still very possible for Mississippi State to finish 9-3

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A lot of fans are doubting how many wins the Bulldogs can still get in 2017, but the Bulldogs are still better than most of the rest of the teams on their schedule.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The last two losses for the Mississippi St. Bulldogs were really bad. I mean really bad. And because they were so bad, you’re seeing a lot of fans who think this team is not all that great.

But I'm here to remind you that football is a game of matchups. And the matchups Mississippi State had with both Georgia and Auburn were really bad for the Bulldogs. Both teams were equipped to stop what Mississippi State does the best (run the ball) and take advantage of an over aggressive defensive unit still trying to learn Todd Grantham’s system.

So put the losses behind you and look at what this team can do and who they still have to play. Because not only is it possible for Mississippi State to go 9-3 in the 2017 season, I think it is pretty likely to happen.

Bill Connelly released his updated S&P this past Sunday. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 28th. Here is where every team the Bulldogs have left on their schedule ranked accordingly.

If you take out Alabama, a game even most Mississippi State fans will concede as a loss, the average rank of the other six teams is 66. Texas A&M is the best of the bunch at 44 and Arkansas is not far behind them at 46.

State should be favored according to Vegas in every game they have left (outside of Bama) with the possible exception of Texas A&M. We’ll have to see what both the Aggies and the Bulldogs do in the next few weeks leading up to that game.

I understand Bill Connelly’s system isn’t perfect, but it is a pretty good indicator of where a team actually is as opposed to where people think they are. If Connelly’s system says Mississippi State is better than 6 of their final 7 opponents, then they probably are.

All six of those teams are teams that will struggle to stop Mississippi State’s running game. Those six teams will not be able to clog up the running lanes as much as Georgia and Auburn did. And since they won’t be able to clog up the running lanes, receivers will have more room to work with and give Nick Fitzgerald easier throws.

So as bad as Mississippi State looked in its last two games, things can easily get better. They might slip up and lose one more game besides the game against Bama, but I won’t be shocked if State is looking for win number 10 when they head to a bowl game.