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Previews 2014: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Previews 2014: Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have been mentioned as potential darkhorse contenders seemingly every year since Dan Mullen took over the team five years ago – but this time, the hype might be for real. The Bulldogs have the SEC’s most dynamic young quarterback, a veteran roster and a stout defense. Those factors are usually a good combination for teams looking to break into the upper echelon of an SEC division.

MSU wrap-up: Mistakes belie a dominating win

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MSU wrap-up: Mistakes belie a dominating win

With several teams still left undefeated in major college football this late in November, the subject of “style points” is sure to come up in any discussion of which team or teams should be ranked atop the standings.

The only style points Alabama put up against Mississippi State on Saturday was in showing how stylishly a team could dismiss the fallout of turnovers.

Alabama’s 20-7 win over the Bulldogs will probably be enough to keep Alabama atop the BCS standings. The effort behind that victory won’t be enough to beat Auburn in two weeks.

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MSU preview: Tide’s biggest opponent this week? Emotional letdown

Mississippi State is a team in transition in 2013. And unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it’s a transition from contender to bottom-feeder.

The Bulldogs have become, overall, a respectable SEC team under head coach Dan Mullen, but have yet to take the next step up. Mullen has become somewhat notable, not necessarily for his successes, but rather for his struggles against other SEC West opponents. He also heads the program that lost Cam Newton to Auburn in 2010, and in seasons since, the program endured allegations of NCAA rules violations. No SEC program embodies the concept of “almost” quite like Mississippi State.

But the biggest problem Mississippi State faces in the here and now, is that this is a team that continues to lose ground to all six of its SEC West competitors in regards to talent. MSU’s recruiting has always been scattershot, no matter the name on the head coach’s door. And in 2013, the Bulldogs find themselves rebuilding a defense undercut by graduation, and a depth chart that has suffered several key losses due to injury. Questionable handling of the quarterback situation has done Mississippi State no favors, either.

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2013 Fall Previews: Mississippi State Bulldogs

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2013 Fall Previews: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Despite being a part of Southern football for decades and winning a SEC championship in the 1940s, Mississippi State’s program arguably reached its zenith over the past few seasons of Dan Mullen’s tenure. The Bulldogs went from being cannon fodder to a respectable program that could beat teams of better talent, if those opponents lacked discipline. But is it time for a correction? Mississippi State is largely rebuilding its defense in 2013, and SEC defensive coordinators seem to have caught up to the Bulldogs’ offensive schemes. A couple of ho-hum recruiting classes adds to the concern.

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MSU wrap-up: Alabama gets back to basics with win over Bulldogs

Rock band The Afters counts among its songs one titled “Never Going Back To OK.” Alabama did just that against Mississippi State and it was just what the doctor ordered. Aside from the running back tandem of Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, Alabama was mostly just OK. But Alabama’s OK is better than the best 10 other SEC teams have to offer.

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Previews 2011: Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs will sneak up on no one this year, though, and there are some holes that need to be either filled or at least patched over. MSU still doesn’t have the depth of the best teams in the conference, but there are plenty of veterans on both sides of the ball.

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