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Predicting the 2021 SEC Football Season: Mississippi State

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Mike Leach faces an uphill battle.

Mississippi State vs Alabama
Trey Sanders had 80 rushing yards against the Bullies in a 41-0 romp a season ago.
Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

WEEK 7, OCT 16: MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

Number four in our series of wild blind dart-throwing predictions takes us to the “baseball school” of Missy State.

Coach: Mike Leach, age 60 (4-7 one season at MSU; 3-7 SEC; 143–97 overall)

2020 MSU record: 4-7, (3-7 in SEC, 7th in the West Division; Armed Forces Bowl win over Tulsa)

CB969 2020 Prediction: 2-8; “A complete reboot.”

Looking back: 2020 was basically a lost year for Clanga-clang. Coming off the malaise of the brief Joe Moorhead era, nobody was expecting MSU to challenge for the SEC-West title and several players had bad attitudes. The Bullies started the season with a shocking upset of the reigning national champs LSU in Baton Rouge. However, they followed that up by losing seven of their next eight with Vandy being their only win in that stretch. The ‘Dogs did finish the season on a high note with wins over Mizzou and Tulsa.

Returning starters: 8 on offense, 4 on defense, punter, kicker.

Key losses: DE Marquiss Spencer (Round 7, Broncos), RB Kylin Hill (Round 7, Packers), LB Erroll Thompson, G Dareuan Parker, G Greg Eiland, WR Osirus Mitchell, SAF Marcus Murphy (undrafted junior – oopsie), K Jace Christmann (transfer to Florida), TE Geor’quarius Spivey (transfer to TCU), WR JaVonta Payton (transfer to Tennessee), WR Tyrell Shavers (transfer to San Diego State), WR Cameron Gardner (transfer to Montana State), and many other transfers.

Top returnees: QB Will Rogers, WR Jaden Walley, WR Austin Williams, WR Malik Heath, OL Charles Cross, RB Jo’quavious Marks, RB Dillon Johnson, LB Aaron Brule, CB Martin Emerson, DL Jaden Crumedy, CB Emmanuel Forbes, KR Lideatrick Griffin, PK Brandon Ruiz, P Tucker Day.

Top newcomers: CB Jalen Green (transfer from Texas), WR Jamire Calvin (transfer from Washington State), WR Makai Polk (transfer from Cal), DL Randy Charlton (transfer from UCF), WR Antonio Harmon (Kosciusko, MS), WR Theodore Knox (Houston, TX), LB John Lewis (Madison, MS), RB Ke’Travion Hargrove (Ruston, LA),

Name you need to know: Defensive Coordinator Zach Arnett has his hands full trying cobble together a respectable defense among a throng of misfit toys..

Strengths: Leach has no trepidation about running off doubters... Rogers has great promise at quarterback... Veteran receiving corps... Special teams should be solid...

Weaknesses: Inexperienced and thin defense... Leach brings in his air raid offense but it is so commonplace these days that it’s not going to catch anyone off-guard... What little buzz Leach’s hire brought to Starkville is fading... Will his team buy-in?

Outlook: Granted, Leach inherited a mess at Mississippi State. So far, he has not done much to give much hope to challenge for the SEC West anytime soon. The passing game should be fun and exciting but the defense is not great. The big thing for the “Pirate” is learning to adapt to today’s coaching climate, lest he end up like Les Miles.

Win Total Odds

Over 6 -113
Under 6 -113

2021 SCHEDULE:

This is one of the toughest teams to predict. They have several games that could go either way.

Sat, Sep 4 vs Louisiana Tech 4:00 pm ESPNU - W
Sat, Sep 11 vs NC State 7:00 pm ESPN2 or ESPNU - W - This is a really tough game but the home team gets the nod.
Sat, Sep 18 @ Memphis 4:00 pm ESPN2 - L - This one has trap written all over it.
Sat, Sep 25 vs LSU - L
Sat, Oct 2 @ Texas A&M - L
Sat, Sep 11 bye
Sat, Oct 16 vs Alabama - L
Sat, Oct 23 @ Vanderbilt - W
Sat, Oct 30 vs Kentucky - W
Sat, Nov 6 @ Arkansas - L - possible toss up but it’s on the road.
Sat, Nov 13 @ Auburn - L - another toss up.
Sat, Nov 20 vs Tennessee St. - W
Thu, Nov 25 vs Ole Miss 7:30 pm ESPN - L

Poll

Poll

Regular season wins for Clanga in 2021

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    8 or more
    (27 votes)
  • 14%
    7
    (69 votes)
  • 31%
    6
    (148 votes)
  • 29%
    5
    (140 votes)
  • 19%
    4 or less.
    (91 votes)
475 votes total Vote Now

ALABAMA SCHEDULE PREVIEWS:

Sep 4 vs Miami* 2:30 PM CT, ABC
Sep 11 vs Mercer 3:00 PM CT, SECN
Sep 18 @ Florida 2:30 PM CT, CBS
Sep 25 vs Southern Miss
Oct 2 vs Ole Miss
Oct 9 @ Texas A&M
Oct 16 @ Mississippi State
Oct 23 vs Tennessee
Oct 30 bye
Nov 6 vs LSU
Nov 13 vs New Mexico State
Nov 20 vs Arkansas
Nov 27 @ Auburn
*Atlanta, GA