Team Capsule: Mississippi State Bulldogs

Because the cliché “rebuilding year” must be applied to at least one team per conference, let’s hang that tag on Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are replacing half their defense, and there’s a new coordinator in the highly touted Todd Grantham. There is little experience on the offensive line and only 13 seniors on the roster. But there is some material on-hand. Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the SEC in total offense a year ago, and he now has a quality back in Aeris Williams for multiple threats in the backfield. The Dogs face LSU, Georgia and Auburn in consecutive weeks early in September. But some tools for rebuilding are in place and Mississippi State is likely to dominate instate recruiting with Ole Miss’ woes. A minor bowl is not out of the question this year and if Fitzgerald continues to blossom, things will be built nicely for 2018.

Head Coach: Dan Mullen (ninth year at Miss State, 61-42)

Coordinators: Todd Grantham (defense), Billy Gonzales, John Hevesy (co-offensive coordinators)

Social Media: http://www.hailstate.com, @HailStateFB, @CoachDanMullen

2016 Record: 6-7 overall, 3-5 in SEC, beat Miami (Ohio) in St. Petersburg Bowl (Miss State received invitation as one of the 5-7 regular season teams with highest team academic rating)

2017 Schedule:

  • Sept. 2 Charleston Southern
  • Sept. 9 at Louisiana Tech
  • Sept. 16 LSU
  • Sept. 23 at Georgia
  • Sept. 30 at Auburn
  • Oct. 7 off
  • Oct. 14 Brigham Young
  • Oct. 21 Kentucky
  • Oct. 28 at Texas A&M
  • Nov. 4 UMass
  • Nov. 11 Alabama
  • Nov. 18 at Arkansas
  • Nov. 23 Ole Miss

Circle The Date: The Sept. 16 home game with LSU will be good indication of what sort of muscle the Dogs have

Top Returnees: S Brandon Bryant, QB Nick Fitzgerald, WR Donald Gray, OL Martinas Rankin

Will Win SEC West If…: Fitzgerald, the returning SEC leader in total offense, becomes The Next Dak Prescott and can lift an otherwise average team; MSU will also need a lot of help with West teams beating each other up

What They Said: “We’re always striving to get better in everything that we do, every single day, trying to improve and reach our potential to be the best that we can be. There’s obviously a lot more ahead of us. We have not won the West yet. We have not won an SEC Championship. We have not won a National Championship yet. So there’s an awful lot ahead on the table of goals that we want to achieve as a program.” – Dan Mullen

What We Say: Sixth in SEC West, Birmingham Bowl