Maybe Mississippi State wasn’t on your college football radar to open the season. That’s understandable. They weren’t ranked in the Top 25 of the preseason polls and nothing in their history said they belonged.
istory is but a thing of the past now though, as the Bulldogs have played their way atop the Associated Press and Coaches Polls for the first time in program history – a history that dates back 119 years.
But does the team from Starkville have what it takes to maintain their No. 1 ranking? Can they become the first team to win a National Championship under the new BCS playoff system?
I wouldn’t count them out now.
Through the first six weeks of the season, Mississippi State has cruised to an undefeated 6-0 record, including three straight wins against Top 10-ranked SEC opponents. Those conference victories came against LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn, winning by a double-digit margin over that span.
The Bulldogs have been able to keep their opponents off-balance and gain an advantage with a two-tiered attack. MSU’s offense has compiled nearly identical yardages both on the ground and through the air (1,586 rushing; 1,592 passing). Much of that can be attributed to the play of Heisman candidate quarterback Dak Prescott.
Prescott has accounted for 2,045 of those 3,184 yards, passing for 1,469 yards and rushing for another 576. He’s also scored 22 total touchdowns (14 passing; 8 rushing). His 1,000-plus passing, 500+ rushing and 20+ touchdowns through six weeks has him on a short list of other Heisman winning quarterbacks named Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton and Tim Tebow.
Does that mean he’s a shoo-in to win the trophy? Not quite, but he’s the current leader in the clubhouse.
If Mississippi State plans to continue its winning ways, more of the same will be needed. A balanced offensive attack to keep defense on their heels and a potential Heisman winner under center can be a game-changer when the lights shine brightest.
And a little known fact? All of the play on the field is being tracked through a technology in the Mississippi State football called gametag™, which means a microchip has been embedded into the leather to record the ball’s history. MSU is one of four teams in college football to use the technology this season.
Will it track the Bulldogs all the way to the playoffs, or is the team satisfied with their first No. 1 ranking in school history? Alabama and Ole Miss are still on the calendar, and they may have something to say about that.