Bulldogs prepare for life after Dak

by Sam Forman |@samwforman |

Welcome back to our SEC schedule breakdown, We start week number three with my pick to finish 10th in the SEC. So far I have picked Auburn to finish 14th, Kentucky 13thSouth Carolina 12th, and Missouri to finish 11th.

The Pick: Mississippi State

League Finish: 10th

Division Finish: 6th

SEC Record: 2-6

Overall Record: 6-6

Bowl Game: Birmingham Bowl

We find our second team from the SEC West and it’s a team that will be interesting to watch in 2016. The Bulldogs have been one of the better SEC teams over the last couple of years, but they should take a major step back in 2016.

Dak Prescott has moved on to the NFL, also gone are Ryan Brown, Taveze Calhoun and Zach Jackson.

The Bulldogs lost a lot from last season’s team and no one will be missed more than Prescott. The Bulldogs will now turn to sophomore Nick Fitzgerald under center. He saw limited action last season going 11 of 14 passing for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

The key for Miss St. this season is Dan Mullen, he is one of the top coaches in the nation and he could very well be why the Bulldogs win a game or two they shouldn’t. With that being said the Bulldogs celling is is 7-5 in my opinion, but they will need everything right to happen and for Fitzgerald to become a star quick.

Their out of conference schedule is very favorable, with only one game they might loss in a trip to BYU. The Bulldogs SEC schedule isn’t has favorable, with trips to LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss. The Dogs should wind up at 6-6 and make a bowl game in part due to Mullen’s coaching.

Week one Miss St. vs. South Alabama. Sat, Sept. 3rd
This one will be an easy win for the Bulldogs as they start the season off with the Jaguars. South Alabama was a 5-7 team last year and should be about the same. The Bulldogs have the better team and more talented skill players, which means this should go like most week one games verses a non-power five school.

Week two Miss St. vs. South Carolina. Sat, Sept. 10th
The Bulldogs should start SEC play off with a win in week two over South Carolina. Questions at quarterback and a lack of SEC talent will hurt the Gamecocks in year one of the Wil Muschamp era. This one could be a close one and come down to better play calling or decision making by the coaching staffs. That favors Mississippi State. The Bulldogs will start off the season 2-0, but things will get harder from here.

Week three Miss. St. @ LSU. Sat, Sept. 17th
The Bulldogs will be a major underdog in this matchup with the Tigers. LSU will have the more talented roster and skill players. Simply Put, while the Bulldogs might keep it close early the Tigers will pull away in the second half. The Tigers might literally run all over the Bulldogs in this matchup. The Tigers win and the Bulldogs get their first loss of the season.

Week four Miss St. @ UMass. Sat, Sept. 24th
It’s weird to think an SEC team will play a game at UMass, but that is what we have in the Bulldogs week four matchup. They will be 2-1 entering week four, the Bulldogs will have superior roster and win this one easily. The Bulldogs will be 3-1 and 1-1 in the SEC entering their week five buy.

Week Six Miss St. vs. Auburn. Sat, Oct. 8th
The Bulldogs and Tigers will be the two teams competing for last place in the SEC West this season and this matchup could very well determine which team finishes last. State will have the slightly better roster and the more stable quarterback. The Tigers should be 2-3 heading into this matchup with the Bulldogs and trying to avoid an 0-3 start to SEC play.  The Bulldogs will win this one thanks to the more stable quarterback and move to 4-1 before back to back road trips in week seven and eight.

Week Seven Miss St. @ BYU. Fri, Oct. 14th
The Bulldogs head west to take on BYU in a non-conference matchup. This could very well be a loss for Miss State as the Cougars will have a talented squad in 2016. However, BYU will be in there first year with Kalani Sitake as head coach and there could be some massive changes for the Cougars. It’s the unknown around BYU why I think the Bulldogs when this game. Despite it being a game they should probably loss. The Bulldogs move to 5-1 on the season as they step back into SEC play.

Week eight Miss St. @ Kentucky. Sat, Oct. 22nd
The Kentucky Wildcats could have a new coach by the time this game rolls around. While The Bulldogs should probably win this game, but the Wildcats will be playing for their coach and possibly his job if he is still around. Emotions in football can be a good and a bad thing, in this case I think the emotions Kentucky will be dealing with get them the win. State losses and falls to 5-2 heading into the home stretch of their schedule.

Week nine Miss St. vs. Samford. Sat, Oct. 29th
The Bulldogs will become bowl eligible this week as they simply have the better team. There really isn’t much to say about this one, its and SEC school playing a small school. Mississippi State wins big in week nine.

Week Ten Miss St. vs. Texas A&M. Sat, Nov. 5th

Things won’t be easy for the Bulldogs in their last four games they get the Aggies this week and then have games with Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Aggies are a team of mystery this season and this is definitely a swing game for both teams. A&M should get the win in this one thanks to a bit more talent than what the Bulldogs have.

Week eleven Miss St. @ Alabama. Sat, Nov. 12th
Alabama will simply be too much for the Bulldogs to stop. Alabama will once again be competing for a spot in the College Football Playoffs, while State will be looking to avoid a last place finish and make a bowl game. Bama will simply have too much talent for the Bulldogs to keep up for sixty minuets. The Crimson Tide wins and the Bulldogs drop to 6-4.

Week twelve Miss St. vs. Arkansas. Sat, Nov. 19th
The Hogs could get off to a slow start this season, but by the time this matchup rolls around Arkansas will be clicking on all cylinders. The Hogs much like Alabama will just have to much talent for the Bulldogs to keep up for sixty minutes. The Hogs blow it open late and the Bulldogs drop to 6-5 on the season.

Week thirteen Miss St. @ Ole Miss (Egg Bowel). Sat, Nov. 26th
This year’s Egg Bowl shouldn’t be close as Ole Miss should be the fare better team. The Bulldogs will make a bowl game, but will lose their last four games of the season. The Bulldogs could wind up with a seven-win season if they play well in a bowl game, but the Egg Bowl won’t be something they win this year.

A 2-6 SEC season won’t be an easy pill to swallow for State fans, but it looks like they will be lucky to get that. Auburn and BYU are both games the Bulldogs could lose. This season will be a struggle, but the Bulldogs shouldn’t be down for long.

Stay tuned as a revel my pick to finish 9th in the SEC later this week.

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