The Saturday game between Mississippi State and Auburn will not decide the SEC west, and the winner faces an uphill battle to finish in the top three of the best division in football.
However, the clash between the Bulldogs and the Tigers in Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday afternoon will be a pivotal game in the seasons of the two division foes.
The last two seasons have seen instant classics when the two teams met on the gridiron.
The Tigers stuffed quarterback Chris Relf inches shy of the goal line as time expired for what would have been the game tying touchdown for the Bulldogs on the road in Jordan-Hare stadium.
In 2010 Cam Newton led Auburn to an undefeated season winning the Heisman trophy en route to the national championship defeating Oregon. The historic season was almost blemished by Mississippi State in the week two match up as the Bulldogs gave Auburn all they could handle in that game.
Auburn would sneak away with the 17-13 victory, but no team in the nation played Auburn as closely as Mississippi State did on that Thursday night as they limited Newton to only 206 total yards.
This Saturday the Bulldogs are a 3.5 point favorite for the 11a.m. kickoff in what figures to be a raucous crowd at Davis Wade Stadium for the conference opener for both teams.
Mississippi State has not won their first two games in a season since the 2000 season and still has not opened their conference schedule with a win since 1999. Another streak working against Mississippi State this Saturday is the current five game road winning streak Auburn holds over the team in maroon and white.
With a win on Saturday, Mississippi State can end those three streaks while taking a giant leap in the SEC west.
The next five games for Mississippi State shapes up very nicely and will be favored in their next five games. The toughest test will be a home date vs. Tennessee October 13th. A win on Saturday and the Bulldogs could be looking at a 7-0 start before traveling to #1 Alabama October 27th.
If recent history is any indication Saturday’s game will not be decided until the last play of the game.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.