Good afternoon. It’s Friday. And when it’s Friday afternoon at For Whom the Cowbell Tolls, it’s time for predictions that’ll thrill every member of the family*. That’s right, I’m here to bring you the Best/Worst/Bold Prediction. This week’s edition features the game between MSU and the team that hails from Ruston, LA: the Louisiana Tech (other) Bulldogs.
You know who else hails from Ruston? Neutral Milk Hotel, a 90’s indie rock band. While you were listening to acts from Athens, GA, little ol’ Ruston was churning out its own brand of college rock. Who knew?
I digress. Louisiana Tech has a pretty good Group of 5 football team led by Skip Holtz, the son of legendary coach Lou Holtz. Tech is replacing their QB and best receivers from 2016, but the (other) Bulldogs have been improving on offense steadily over the last few years. Tech’s problem is that their defense
hasn’t kept up pretty much sucked worse and worse over the same time frame. The crazy thing about it: Louisiana Tech statistically may be very similar to 2016 Mississippi State by the end of this year (they finished only 3 spots behind MSU in S&P+ last year). They have a pretty good, fairly balanced offense and a defense that gave up 24 points and nearly 400 yards to FCS Northwestern State last week. I fully expect this game to be a good measure of our growth as a team since last year, because 2017 LA Tech looks like it could be practically the same as 2016 MSU.
BEST case scenario:
We keep up our defensive momentum from last week. LA Tech brings a significantly different offensive scheme than Charleston Southern. Our defensive linemen are excited about the opportunity to rush a passer, and I’m excited to see what they can do. The (other) Bulldogs will pass — maybe at a normal rate but still way more than we saw from CSU last week. In any case, Tech won’t be bringing a triple option into the game. They’ll test our secondary, and I expect us to punish them.
Tucker Day ‘effing kicks the hell outta the ball (accurately). I’m really glad we’ve finally quit our 1A/1B/1C thing at kicker. As much as I love competition, having the confidence of his coach and teammates will help Day put the ball through the uprights.
Our offense lights up the scoreboard in Ruston. We run out of places to plug stats into the box score. We give away touchdowns to our players like Oprah gave away obscure cosmetics to her audience members.
We win 49-6.
WORST case scenario:
The good Bulldogs can’t stop J’Mar Smith. Smith played high school in Mississippi and is likely to have a chip on his shoulder for being passed over in recruitment. If we come out on defense looking more like last year than like last week, we are gonna get toasted.
Nick Fitzgerald doesn’t improve his completion percentage. Like a lot of folks, I blame some of his percentage last week on low snaps and pass protection. So maybe include some bad snaps in this prediction too, but mainly I just hope Fitz can hit his open receivers while avoiding the pass rush. If he can’t, we likely won’t play as well on offense as we need to in order to win convincingly.
We rarely or never see Kylin Hill or Nick Gibson in this game. Last week Hill and Gibson showed some serious downfield burst. SPREAD THE ROCK** DAN. With a backfield as talented as ours, there’s no need to have a guy hogging any more than 40-50% of the carries. If we don’t see some of the guys lower on the depth chart get touches, that means we either 1: are giving one guy too much of our attention and/or 2: aren’t winning by enough to get the backups in the game. Either one is bad news bears imho.
We win 31-28.
Sissy bold: We have two separate 100 yard performances on offense. Either two guys rush for 100 yards or we have one centurion*** rusher and a receiver who passes the century mark.
Sailing your catamaran into the eye of Irma bold: Auburn AND Georgia both win this week, leading to ESPN declaring that the SEC is BACK!!! Both teams vault into the top ten and become favorites to win their respective divisions. Then we beat both teams on the road in back to back weeks. That’s right, I SAID IT.
JK’S TOTALLY COMPUTER GENERATED ADVANCED STATS NOT MADE UP ON A WHIM ACTUAL SCORE PREDICTION: 59-13
*just don’t burn me at the stake for using language like “hell” or “damn” or “butt” okay
**I’m a geologist by trade, so I know what I’m talking about
***don’t know if this word has ever been used to describe someone getting 100 yards, but just go with it