The Southeastern Conference has finalized its adjusted schedules up and released them out Monday. In what has been a weird year for sports, the SEC is certainly dealing out some very weird schedules.
As for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs will likely have a very, very challenging back half of the season. Here’s what Mississippi State’s last six games look like with the Bulldogs’ current schedule:
- Oct. 31 at Alabama
- Nov. 7 vs. Vanderbilt
- Nov. 14 vs. Auburn
- Nov. 21 at Georgia
- Nov. 28 at Ole Miss
- Dec. 5 vs. Mizzou
“I wouldn’t wish a schedule that includes Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia in the span of four weeks on ANYONE. BUT THEN STATE HAS TO PLAY AT OLE MISS RIGHT AFTER THAT.”
Things could get bumpy for Mississippi State this season. There’s a very real chance the Bulldogs go 5-5 this year, at best (assuming we even get to experience a full football season, that is). So, with Mississippi State facing plenty of difficult foes this season, let’s rank the most difficult games the Bulldogs will be playing in this season. There’s 10 games, so let’s split it in half and look at who presents the most difficult challenges for MSU.
No. 5: Auburn
The Auburn Tigers have a very real chance to be very good this season, as they do just about every 2-3 years under Gus Malzahn. The Tigers are an eclectic, odd team that finds ways to be very, very good from time to time, and Mississippi State certainly got to experience that in 2019 when the Bulldogs lost 56-23 in a game that could have been far, far uglier than it actually was. State will be at home (in front of maybe a handful of fans?) for this game, which could help to some degree, but it’s hard to tell just how much. Auburn is a talented bunch and MSU will be breaking in a brand new offense and defense.
No. 4: Kentucky
The Kentucky Wildcats aren’t typically a team that I’d consider to be a ridiculously tough opponent to face, but Mark Stoops has made the Wildcats into a considerably good opponent for just about anybody to face. Kentucky is fresh off of an eight-win season during which it was playing with a wide receiver at quarterback and is bringing back 73% of its production from a season ago, according to ESPN’s Bill Connelly. While crowd size may not be a factor due to the possibility of COVID-19 restrictions being in place, it’s not like Lexington has been kind to the Bulldogs in their previous two trips there.
No. 3: LSU
Mississippi State doesn’t exactly get a super easy season opener in 2020. In Mike Leach’s first game leading the Bulldogs, Mississippi State gets the pleasure of facing off against the reigning national champs. Patrick Schmidt over at FanSided has seemingly jokingly poked around the idea of Mississippi State finding a way to beat LSU this season (I’m like 89.5% sure Patrick is joking here), and there is a possibility of that given how much LSU is having to replace on both offense and defense (and also in the coaching staff), this is still LSU that we’re talking about.
The Tigers are still a remarkable program and, even though there’s a lot of replacing to be done down on the Bayou, Ed Orgeron’s LSU Tigers have a ton of talent.
It’s 2020 and things can change at a moment’s notice thanks to a global pandemic, so we shouldn’t count our chickens before they kickoff at noon Eastern Time on ESPN, but we’ve got something to look forward to nonetheless.
No. 2 Georgia:
The game that happens to be right smack in the middle of a messy November for Mississippi State happens to be the one in Athens against Georgia. The battle between the two teams of Bulldogs most recently went in Georgia’s favor in the 2017 meeting between the two teams in Athens. This game happens to be in Athens again, and Georgia happens to be a far more talented team, again.
No. 1: Alabama:
This isn’t a trick. This isn’t a joke. It’s very obvious who Mississippi State’s toughest opponent is this coming season because it’s Mississippi State’s toughest opponent almost every single season since this sport has existed. Since the dawn of football in the South, Alabama has done a phenomenal job of crushing its neighbor to the west with ease.
Yes, there’s been some bright and cheery moments for Mississippi State fans in this series, and we should celebrate those rare events, but Nick Saban has a nuclear-powered steam roller going in Tuscaloosa and there’s very little hope of even remotely slowing that down right now.
While these games are all going to be rigorous and difficult, it’s hard to tell exactly how things will turn out this season. Mississippi State has a talented quarterback and a coach with a knack for getting the most out of talented quarterbacks. Maybe MSU might grab a win or two from this bunch (and maybe MSU will lose to some inferior foes as well, who knows).