2019 Mississippi State Bulldogs College Football Odds and Expert Betting Picks
2018 Record: 8-5
2019 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5
2019 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
For years Dan Mullen had this program playing over its head. Penn State import Joe Moorhead seemed to continue that success for the Bulldogs, getting them to eight regular-season wins and the Outback Bowl, the school's ninth straight year in the postseason.
However, I think that Mississippi State is going to take a noticeable step back this year. They won't slide back to Sylvester Croom levels. But I do think that they are due for a course correction in Moorhead's sophomore season.
Moorhead stepped into a great situation last year. The Bulldogs had 17 returning starters, 12 senior starters and eight three-year starters. That included Nick Fitzgerald, who basically was the entire offense as the team's leading rusher and receiver. Fitzgerald accounted for nearly 3,100 total yards and 29 total touchdowns.
Fitzgerald has moved on. And he wasn't the only loss for the roster. Johnathan Abram, Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat were all studs for one of the best defenses in the country. The Bulldogs were No. 1 or No. 2 last year in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense. And all three of those multiple-year starters have moved on to the NFL.
This year the Bulldogs welcome back just 11 total starters and only three three-year starters. They are banking on Penn State transfer quarterback Tommy Stevens to take over the offense as Moorhead shifts to a more pro-style attack. The offense is shifting, and the defense has just four starters back.
Mississippi State certainly gets to ease into and out of the season. They play only one game on the road - and that's a neutral site game versus Louisiana - in their first four weeks, and they close out the season with three straight home games.
They have gimme wins against Louisiana, Southern Miss and Abilene Christian. They also get Kansas State and Kentucky in Starkville, as well hosting the Egg Bowl in the season finale. Assuming they avoid any upsets, that is six wins right there.
The question becomes where the other two wins come from. The Bulldogs will be home underdogs against LSU and Alabama, and they have to face Auburn on the road. They should be able to take out Arkansas on the road. But then they would still need a road win at Tennessee or at Texas A&M.
I don't see it happening. I think Mississippi State will suffer an upset in one of their "easier" games. And I don't think that they will win more than one road game. The Bulldogs should get back to a bowl game. But I think that seven wins is their ceiling and six wins is more likely. Definitely take the 'under' here.
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