2015 Record: 9-4
2016 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 6.5
2016 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
The Bulldogs exceeded my wildest expectations - dealing me my first top play college football futures loss this decade - while winning nine games last season. Dak Prescott singlehandedly carried this veteran team to nine victories and a bowl win over N.C. State to cap one of the best careers in Bulldogs history.
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But now the Bulldogs will have to deal with life in a post-Prescott world. He leaves massive shoes to fill - Prescott was Miss State's top passer, rusher and led the team in touchdowns - but the Bulldogs will lean on 12 senior starters that have gone a combined 26-13 during their careers.
Offensively, three-year starter Fred Ross will lead the receiving corps, while diminutive Brandon Holloway will have to spark the running game. The Bulldogs have a beefy offensive line, anchored by four-year starter Justin Senior, and are still tough in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
On defense, Dan Mullen will have to deal with the loss of star coordinator Manny Diaz to Miami. But he has six of his top seven tacklers back, and more than half of his starters return as well. Last year's team had just seven combined starters back on both sides of the ball, so having six on the defense alone should give this group a big boost.
I was dead wrong about Miss State last year. And Mullen is one of the best coaches in the country, guiding the Bulldogs to an outstanding 50-28 mark so far this decade. Normally when a team overachieves the way that the Bulldogs did last year - along with a program losing an all-time great player - I am looking for a regression the following season. But MSU's veteran roster should be able to trim the learning curve.
The Bulldogs should be 3-1 through their first four games. They also have a late-season gimme against Samford. That means they will need to pick up three more wins to top this season win total. They get Auburn, A&M and Arkansas all at home. And there's a winnable road game at Kentucky. Further, they should be pretty game in their rivalry game against Ole Miss. When you put it all together, I think that this team will be a dud at the window for individual games. And it's going to be really close. But I can see them getting to seven wins.
2016 Mississippi State Bulldogs Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME (ET) Location
Sat, Sep 10th, 2016 S. Carolina 07:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium
Sat, Sep 17th, 2016 at LSU 07:00 PM Tiger Stadium
Sat, Sep 24th, 2016 at UMass 03:30 PM Gillette Stadium
Sat, Oct 8th, 2016 Auburn 01:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Fi
Fri, Oct 14th, 2016 at BYU 10:15 PM LaVell Edwards Stadium
Sat, Oct 22nd, 2016 at Kentucky 12:00 PM Commonwealth Stadium
Sat, Oct 29th, 2016 Samford 01:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Fi
Sat, Nov 5th, 2016 Texas A&M 01:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Fi
Sat, Nov 12th, 2016 at Alabama 01:00 PM Bryant-Denny Stadium
Sat, Nov 19th, 2016 Arkansas 01:00 PM Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Fi
Sat, Nov 26th, 2016 at Ole Miss 01:00 PM Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ho
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