Upsets happen almost every week in today's game of college football. Just take a look at the SEC last year, for example. Flash back to October 19 where two big upsets took place on the same day. South Carolina was shocked 23-21 on the road at Tennessee, and Ole Miss scratched one out at home against LSU, 27-24. Last second field goals sealed the deal in both of those games.
The Gamecocks were likely overlooking Tennessee in preparation for a tough matchup the very next week with Missouri, a game which they won. As for the Tigers, they probably didn't have much left in the tank when they faced Ole Miss, coming off a 4 week stretch against Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, and Florida.
When either of these situations happen, an upset can occur. When a combination of the two happen, that's what I like to call prime recipe for upset city. It can be really hard to get hyped up for a game against a weaker team when it is sandwiched in between two tougher, much more emotional games.
So that raises the question... What is a potential trap game for Mississippi State in 2014? The answer is a no brainer. The Bulldogs square off against Vanderbilt on November 22nd, a week after a daunting game against powerhouse Alabama and a week before an emotional rivalry game against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
Why you should worry: The Commodores have made a habit of heating up down the stretch in the last two years. In 2012, they reeled off seven straight to finish the season. In 2013, they won six out of their last seven. James Franklin came in and completely changed the mindset of this team. They believe they can win big ballgames now, and they can. If you think they can't, just ask Georgia. This is no longer the team that went 97 years in between nine win seasons. This is the team that has put together nine win seasons for two years in a row now. Not helping matters any is the fact that they have an extra week to prepare for this game. While the Bulldogs are getting roughed up by Alabama, Vandy will be enjoying much needed rest with a bye week. And when the game against Bama is over, how many players do you think will be looking ahead to Ole Miss? More than a few, perhaps.
Why you can breathe: The centerpieces of Vanderbilt's success are all gone off of last year's team. Head coach James Franklin split to take the job at Penn State. Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels graduated, and star receiver Jordan Matthews was taken by the Eagles in the NFL Draft. A slew of defensive players are also gone off of last year's team. The Bulldogs are more talented up and down the roster. Still worried? Don't be. Take a look at Dan Mullen's career here in Starkville. He just doesn't lose to inferior teams. Granted he has come close a few times against Troy, Bowling Green, and Kentucky. But he always gets the job done. He has been around long enough to know the importance of a game like this and how dangerous it can be. You can bet your bottom dollar that he will have this game highlighted on the schedule and will make sure his players are more than prepared.
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, but anything can happen on any given Saturday. Things could get very interesting when November 22nd rolls around. Fans, the players are going to need your support for this one. So show up, be loud, and ring it like you mean it.