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Why Mississippi State, not Auburn or LSU, will become SEC West’s second-best team

By: seccountry.com 5 months ago
Why Mississippi State, not Auburn or LSU, will become SEC West’s second-best team

Two weeks into the season, Mississippi State is ready to rise as the SEC West’s second-best team. Prepare for impact, Auburn and LSU fans. Brace yourself, you weary followers of Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The SEC West needs more cowbell. And it’s coming. Oh, you expected something different? Sure, learning Alabama is the division’s strongest squad […] The post Why Mississippi State, not Auburn or LSU, will become SEC West’s second-best team appeared first on SEC Country.

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Two weeks into the season, Mississippi State is ready to rise as the SEC West’s second-best team.

Prepare for impact, Auburn and LSU fans. Brace yourself, you weary followers of Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

The SEC West needs more cowbell. And it’s coming.

Oh, you expected something different? Sure, learning Alabama is the division’s strongest squad is as much of a shock as discovering escort services are available in Tampa. But after Auburn’s offensive awfulness last Saturday at Clemson, the Tigers look vulnerable. An opening is there at No. 2.

Why not Mississippi State? Why not now?

Through two games, the Bulldogs look capable of bullying many opponents this season. Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech are as mean as two chia pets. But Mississippi State took care of business and steamrolled them by a combined score of 106-21. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has shown skill in the pocket and as a runner. The defense has been dynamite. The Bulldogs showed resilience by erasing a 9-0 deficit last Saturday in Ruston, La.

And let’s see Auburn or LSU force a third-and-93 sometime this century.

Yes, only so many things can be learned when treating an overmatched opponent like a toothpick. But the Bulldogs will take a major step forward in gaining national respect Saturday.

There’s no reason why they can’t send a warning shot to the rest of the SEC West by hanging an “L” on LSU in Starkville.

After all, the Tigers come with multiple unknowns. Is LSU’s defense as good as it showed in victories against BYU and Chattanooga? Is coordinator Matt Canada the right man to breathe life into the Tigers’ underachieving offense? Is Ed Orgeron that good of a coach?

All those questions remain without definitive answers. Of course, Mississippi State must account for LSU’s lightning bolt in the backfield — running back Derrius Guice — a game breaker when he’s not messing around with ATVs. Memories of Leonard Fournette’s 147 yards and 2 touchdowns last season should create midnight shakes for returning Bulldogs defenders who lived through that Death Valley disaster.

But Mississippi State is catching LSU at a good time. It’s early enough for coach Dan Mullen and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to throw wrinkles at Orgeron and Canada. Plus, inconsistent Danny Etling remains LSU’s quarterback, which is a check mark in Mississippi State’s column. If the Bulldogs’ defensive front limits the Tigers’ ground game, LSU’s offense will come to a halt.

Why not Mississippi State? Why not now?

The breakthrough could happen ahead of schedule. For the Bulldogs, it was logical to approach this season as a stepping stone to 2018. A year of additional Fitzgerald seasoning. A time for Grantham to instill his defensive vision. A period for others around Fitzgerald to grow into significant offensive threats.

But buck the patience. The Bulldogs shouldn’t sell themselves short this fall. The preseason assumption that Auburn would be Alabama’s chief threat in the division lost some shine when Clemson tossed aside Gus Malzahn’s offense like a moldy dish rag. And don’t waste time considering Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M to be anything more than static in the months ahead.

By beating LSU, Mississippi State would do more than place others within the SEC West on notice. The Bulldogs would gain much-needed momentum before continuing a wicked stretch that includes road games against Georgia and Auburn in the next two weeks. Going at least 2-1 in this window should be Mississippi State’s goal if it wants to create a minor earthquake in the division.

Why not Mississippi State? Why not now?

Think big, Bulldogs fans.

It’s time to believe.

The post Why Mississippi State, not Auburn or LSU, will become SEC West’s second-best team appeared first on SEC Country.

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