Good day boys and girls! We are more than halfway through August and 2 weeks from the start of a new Mississippi State football season. It’s that special time of year where the grass begins to crunch under your feet, kids are back in school, and Auburn is raving about their absolute-can’t-miss-superstar-transfer with an incredibly small sample size of good quarterback play. It’s also time for my predictions for MSU’s season as a whole. Some of you may remember last year’s good/bad/bold predictions. A lot of things have changed in the last year, including the name of this piece (because apparently bad wasn’t bad enough). Also, you’ll note that this is no longer a FanPost, because I decided that being an internet blogger is totally way better and more prestigious than being an internet commenter. By like, a lot. Dammit. Right? Please tell me this is true
This will be the first of many weekly B/W/B** posts, with every post after this one dedicated to each week’s game. Let’s go over the ground rules. I’ll start with what I see as the best case scenario for the Bulldogs. This means everything breaks right — we get Bama calls and Auburn bounces. Then I’ll transition into my opinion of the worst case scenario for State. If you’re a pessimist like me, you’ll find this to seem eerily more realistic than the best case. Actually, if you’ve been a Mississippi State fan longer than Dan’s been around then the worst case will probably be your expectation for the season. It’s a nice place to be though, because you’ll never be disappointed***. After that it’s time for the bold predictions. I’m not talking some lame-ass**** ‘bold’ prediction like “Lane Kiffin will win 10 games at FAU”. No, I’m talking a prediction like “Hugh Freeze will be fired over a hooker scandal uncovered by the duo of Houston Nutt and Rose Bowl Robertson”. Wait, what’s that? That actually happened? Weird. Guess I’ll have to go bolder. Once we’re done with B/W/B, I’ll finish with what my actual prediction is. This will be a W-L record this time around and a score prediction in subsequent posts. Anyway, let’s get started.
BEST case scenario:
We come out of the SEC gates and beat LSU, Georgia, and Auburn. Justin Strawn has mentioned how similar our schedule breaks to 2014 when we completed a run to #1 in the country. If there is one thing those three teams above have, much like LSU, A&M and Auburn had in 2014, it’s a lot of pre-season hype. I honestly see all three being close to 8-4 after the season, but there’s no reason that they should have any more than one loss combined by the time we play them. They’ll probably be at their peak ranking, which will look good on our resume. Even if we can manage to go 2-1, we’ll be looking at a really good season.
Todd Grantham turns out to be the answer to all of our ills on defense. Guys, our defense last year was atrocious. It was noticeably tame early in the season against LSU and Auburn. It’s weird for me to look at our roster and not feel like we have many holes on D though. If Grantham can get folks in the right position to make plays, I think we can do much better. I was excited to finally get a big name coordinator for the defense, and what I’ve been hearing from camp is only good things.
Our wideouts will be the biggest surprise of the season. Dan, please pick a young WR to play above the rest. We’ve been over this before, the whole 1A/1B thing just doesn’t work. Sometimes they won’t separate themselves in practice, and you’ve got to go with your gut. I like what I’ve seen from Jamal Couch, but please just pick someone, even if you have to put names in a hat. Let a guy build some chemistry with Fitz, get some first team reps. Heck, maybe we can have another drafted receiver***** if you let one of these guys contribute for more than a season or two.
WORST case scenario:
The defense sucks. Remember that time Johnthan Banks intercepted Tim Tebow and returned it 100 yards? That time we kept Scam Newton and the 2010 Tigers to 17 points? Did we really expect those to be the halcyon days?
OH MY GOD OUR KICKERS. I swear if the Little Caesar’s punt pass and kick contestants make more FG’s than our kickers again this year****** we need to #alwaysgoneverkick
We lose to Ole Miss. Justin went into some detail on this one, but it would undo a lot of the momentum we’ve gained from the Rebels over the last few months if we lose the Egg Bowl. And if we couple this loss with 6 others (or ~cringe~ more), then this would be the biggest let down season maybe this millennium.
Somehow the progress we made with our running backs and specifically Aeris Williams reverts back to early-2016-esque ambiguity. I was kind of surprised to see that we’ve settled on Williams to be the lead guy, but let me say that I am 100% on board with handing the rock to the guy who averaged over 5 yards per carry over the course of last year. I think we have a bunch of really good players back there, but I believe we’ll play better as a team if we can get behind one guy. Unless Dan wants to take a page from Madden and use a pistol full house tight formation and trade out the FB and TE for other running backs (if you know Dan, please pass this along to him). That’d be pretty cool, too.
BOLD prediction for 2017:
Only 2 Power 5 conferences will send members to the Playoff. These days the best college football is dominated not by particular conferences, but certain divisions of those conferences (SEC West, Pac-12 South, B10 East, and ACC Atlantic). Try your best to follow me here, but if by some abstract miracle 3 of 4 of those division champions run away with the division with only one loss but lose to an obviously inferior team from their conference’s other division, then only one team of four will have the advantage of a conference championship. And if that champion made it’s conference championship by a tie breaker with another one-loss team form its own division, the tie-broke team will have a better record than the teams that just lost their conference championship. Additionally, let’s say a Big-XII team runs away with that conference. We have two clear conference champions, and a one-loss team from the same division as one of them. So who’s the fourth team? How about that team hanging out in the Coaches’ Poll at #21 to start the season? South Florida******* is highly ranked and has an absolute cakewalk for a schedule. Who’s to say they won’t go undefeated and crash the party?
So what are my expectations, really? OH YEEEEEAAAAHHH, I’M DRINKIN THE KOOL-AID! I really think we are going to surprise some folks this year and put together a great season. I think the entire SEC West will have a down year (except for Bama, dangit) and we’ll take full advantage. I’m thinking 9-3 with a chance at 10 wins in a bowl in Florida. AND DON’T WORRY I MADE ENOUGH KOOL-AID FOR EVERYBODY. I hope grape is cool with everyone.
*definitely wasn’t expecting the QB carousel to FREAKIN COST US THE SOUTH ALABAMA GAME DAN
**super sweet abbreviation because I’m #cool
***unless we lose to SOUTH ALABAMA DAN
****I completely nailed last year’s sissy bold example btw. Seriously, go check out the good/bad/bold link
*****it’s been since Eric Moulds. That was 20 years ago.
******this hasn’t ever actually happened
*******lolololololololololololol at Texas fans if Charlie Strong makes the playoff at USF