Friday, August 27, 2010
SEC 2010-Mississippi State Bulldogs
2009 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
Head Coach: Dan Mullen (2nd season, 5-7)
Offensive Coordinator: Les Koenning (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Just missed out
Offense: The Bulldogs boasted the 9th best rushing offense in the country last season, but can barely pass a lick. QB Chris Relf will be the new starter, as he played a huge role in the dismantling of Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. He may be pushed for time by Tyler Russell. As many as 4 different backs will fight for carries at RB. JC transfer Vick Ballard is barely in the lead. Chad Bumphis returns at WR, and TE Marcus Green will get lots of passes his way, as the WR group is severely thin. 3 Starters return on the line.
Defense: There is nothing very special about this group as a whole. The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the rankings in almost every category. With an offense completely lacking a passing attack, those numbers will have to climb. DE Pernell McPhee returns, but the rets of the line is new, and the candidates to start are all very young (sophomores). Chris White and KJ Wright will both return at LB, but Cameron Lawrence, who is leading for the other job, is a former safety, is undersized, and is having to learn on the fly. Jonathon Banks was all freshman SEC last season at FS, and Charles Mitchell returns to man the SS spot. Maurice Langston returns at CB, but the other CB spot is open.
Special Teams: Sean Brauchle will return at PK and Heath Hutchins will handle punting chores. There is nothing special here.
Wins: 9/4 Memphis, 10/2 Alcorn State, 10/23 UAB
Toss Up Games: 10/30 Kentucky, 11/27 @ Ole Miss
Losses: 9/9 Auburn, 9/18 @ LSU, 9/25 Georgia, 10/9 @ Houston, 10/16 @ Florida, 11/13 @ Alabama, 11/20 Arkansas
Playing Alcorn State should be a crime. Max wins will be 5. MSU will have to pull a pretty major upset win to beat anyone in the loss box, meaning that a bowl should not be attainable.
Outlook: MSU has not won a conference title since 1941...69 years. They are no closer to doing it now than they have been at any time during that streak. Mullen has the Bulldogs playing a competetive brand of football, but recruiting has to get up to speed, and at some point, as passing game must be developed. Looks like another downer in Starkville.