Number six in our series of wild blind dart-throwing predictions travels west on Route 82 for about an hour and a half.
GAME 6: MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Coach: Mike Leach (139–90; ten seasons at Texas Tech, eight at Wazzu; first season at MSU)
2019 MSU record: 6-6, 0-1 Bowl (3-5 in SEC, 5th in the West Division)
CB969 2019 Prediction: 7-5; “Several members of the national press are pretty high on this team despite a decimated defense and still no decision on who will be under center.”
Looking back: Under normal circumstances, a bowl game and a win over Ole Miss would save a coach’s job in StarkVegas. However, it was clear from the beginning that Clanga-clang and Joe Moorhead were not a good fit. It was a bit of a surprise he was not given a third year but Ole Miss pressed their hand when they made the splashy Lane Kiffin hire.
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense, punter, kicker.
Key losses: Joe Moorhead (this is a good loss for MSU), LB Willie Gay (Round 2, Chiefs), CB Cameron Dantzler (Round 3, Vikings), G Tyre Phillips (Round 3, Ravens), QB Tommy Stevens (Round 7, Saints), S Brian Cole (Round 7, Vikings), C Darryl Williams, EDGE Chauncey Rivers, S Jaquarius Landrews, WR Stephen Guidry, TE Farrod Green, LB Leo Lewis, QB Keytaon Thompson (transfer to UVa), starting RT Stewart Reese (grad transfer to Florida), CB Jarrian Jones (transfer to FSU).
Top returnees: RB Kylin Hill, LB Erroll Thompson, WR Osirus Mitchell, DT Nathan Pickering, DB Fred Peters, DE Marquiss Spencer, OL Greg Eiland, OL LaQuinston Sharp, S Marcus Murphy, LB Tim Washington, DE Kobe Jones, CB Martin Emerson, PK Jace Christmann, P Tucker Day.
Top newcomers: Head Coach Mike Leach, QB KJ Costello (grad transfer Stanford), Tyrell Shavers (grad transfer Alabama), OT Scott Lashley (grad transfer Alabama), PK Brandon Ruiz (grad-transfer from Ariz St), 4-star RB Jo’Quavious Marks, DE Jordan Davis (juco, former Bama commit & academic casualty), WR Malik Heath (juco, former HS 4-star, Jackson, MS), 4-star CB Emmanuel Forbes (Grenada, MS).
Name you need to know: Much like Najee Harris at Alabama, it was a bit of a surprise to see MSU running back Kylin Hill return for his senior season.
Strengths: Leach brings a buzz to the program... KJ Costello has a big arm and should thrive under Leach... Hill’s unexpected return for his senior season... Kicking games is experienced and solid... Secondary returns some talent but has holes to fill... D-line should be solid...
Weaknesses: A complete reboot... How will Leach get along with rebellious QB Garrett Shrader?... The Bullies may not have the personnel to run the air raid offense that Leach favors... Both coordinators are in their lower 30s and have no SEC coaching experience... Only two assistants have any SEC experience... Nobody on this staff really moves the needle...
Outlook: The air raid is not difficult to teach but the Bullies missed out on installing it during spring football. Fortunately for Leach, he will have senior Costello at the controls. Leach thrives on being a wacky politically incorrect jokester. But as we all know, making jokes is no longer allowed. How will this effect how he runs his program?
Sat, Sep 26 @ LSU - L
Sat, Oct 3 vs Arkansas - W
Sat, Oct 10 @ Kentucky - L - this could go either way but go with the home team.
Sat, Oct 17 vs Texas A&M - L
Sat, Oct 24 bye
Sat, Oct 31 @ Alabama - L
Sat, Nov 7 vs Vanderbilt - W
Sat, Nov 14 vs Auburn - L
Sat, Nov 21 @ Georgia - L
Sat, Nov 28 @ Ole Miss - L - This will be a wild one but OM wants revenge.
Sat, Dec 5 vs Missouri - L - MSU will be in full on quit mode by this point.
How many regular season wins for MSU in 2020?
This poll is closed
6 or more. I BELIEVE!
2 or less (sad trombone).
Sat, Sep 26 @ Missouri
Sat, Oct 3 vs Texas A&M
Sat, Oct 10 @ Ole Miss
Sat, Oct 17 vs Georgia
Sat, Oct 24 @ Tennessee
Sat, Oct 31 vs Mississippi State
Sat, Nov 14 @ LSU
Sat, Nov 21 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 28 vs Auburn
Sat, Dec 5 @ Arkansas