Number five in our series of wild blind dart-throwing predictions takes us to Missy State.
WEEK 8, OCT 22: MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Coach: Mike Leach, age 61 (11-13 two seasons at MSU; 7-11 SEC; 150-103 overall)
2021 MSU record: 7-6, (4-4 in SEC, 3rd in the West Division; Lost Liberty Bowl)
CB969 2021 Prediction: 5-7; “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...”
Looking back: 2021 was a schizo year for Clanga-clang as they barely snuck by a bad LaTech (3-9) team and then topped a solid NC State (9-3) by two touchdowns. For an encore, however, they took a faceplant against a bleh Memphis that ended up 6-6 on the season. Then a home loss to circling-the-drain LSU was followed by a road win over TAMU. And that is how the season went. Routed by Bama, beat Vandy and UK. Lose to Arky, win at Auburn. The season ended in a thud as the Bulldogs lost the Egg Bowl and then got pushed around by Texas Tech 34-7 for their second defeat in Memphis on the season.
Returning starters: 7 on offense, 7 on defense, punter.
Key losses: OT Charles Cross (Round 1, Seahawks), CB Martin Emerson (Round 3, Browns), WR Makai Polk (105 rec, 1046 yds, 9 TD), LB Aaron Brule (transfer to Michigan State), WR Malik Heath (Ole Miss – OUCH!), EDGE Aaron Odom (Southern Miss). [MSU had about seven or eight guys - mostly on defense, mostly contributors - transfer to USM.]
Top returnees: QB Will Rogers, CB Emmanuel Forbes (only Bully among the preseason All-SEC 1st-3rd teams!), WR Jaden Walley, WR Austin Williams, RB Jo’quavious Marks, LB Jett Johnon, KR Lideatrick Griffin, NT Nathan Pickering, LB Tyrus Wheat.
Top newcomers: S Jackie Matthew (in from West Virginia), DB Marcus Banks (Alabama), PK Massimo Biscardi (Coastal Carolina), frosh DL Trevion Williams (Crystal Springs, MS).
Name you need to know: QB Will Rogers can sling it. Last season, he was second in the nation and first among Power-5 in passing yards with 4,449. He connected 35 times with receivers for scores and had only 8 interceptions - 3 of which came against the Crimson Tide. Alabama was the only 2021 game in which he did not find the end zone.
Strengths: The passing game will put up big numbers... Combined 199 receptions for 2,233 yards and 18 touchdowns from last season returning (bust lost their leading receiver)... Linebackers should be improved... Many junior, senior, and super-senior starters...
Weaknesses: Despite the Air Raid offense, MSU was only 60th in scoring last season (29.1 ppg)... Defensive backfield has many new faces and will again be suspect... D-line depth... Replacing two OGs... Motivation - with MSU, you never know what kind of team will show up on gameday... Coaching staff is unimpressive... Playing in the SEC West...
Outlook: Mike Leach will never win a National Championship or even an SEC Championship. However, his high-flying offense can give any team trouble on any given Saturday. The Bullies will probably shock a team or two but also lose some they have no business losing. Guessing which ones is a challenge. Regardless, expect them in the middle to lower of the SEC pack and a tier 3 bowl game.
Win Total Odds
Over 6.5 -130
Under 6.5 +110
Sept 3 vs Memphis - W - revenge.
Sept 10 @ Arizona - W - Zona sucks so bad.
Sept 17 @ LSU - L - they aren’t ready to win at night in Tiger Stadium.
Sept 24 vs Bowling Green - W
Oct 1 vs Texas A&M - L - could TAMU get caught looking ahead to Bama?
Oct 8 vs Arkansas - L - could go either way
Oct 15 @ Kentucky - L - toss up
Oct 22 @ Alabama - L
Nov 5 vs Auburn - W - Should be quit mode for Aubie by November.
Nov 12 vs Georgia - L
Nov 19 vs East Tennessee State - W -
Thu, Nov 24 @ Ole Miss - W - just because this annual game is always chaotic.
* I may get the games wrong but 6 wins sounds about right.
Regular season wins by Clang-clang:
This poll is closed
10 or more (blink four times if you are under duress)
6, as per usual
5, starting to think hiring Leach was a mistake.
ALABAMA SCHEDULE PREVIEWS:
Sept 3 vs Utah State 6:30pm SECN
Sept 10 at Texas 11:00am FOX
Sept 17 vs Louisiana–Monroe 3:00pm SECN
Sept 24 vs Vanderbilt
Oct 1 at Arkansas
Oct 8 vs Texas A&M
Oct 15 at Tennessee
Oct 22 vs Mississippi State
Oct 29 bye
Nov 5 at LSU
Nov 12 at Ole Miss
Nov 19 vs Austin Peay 11:00am SECN+
Nov 26 vs Auburn