The Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1) are not going bowling this year. With a 24-20 loss to Auburn (3-0, 1-0) in Week 3, State lost more than its SEC opener. The game likely cost this team, barring major improvements, a chance to extend its three-year streak of bowl game appearances under Dan Mullen.
The loss drops Mississippi State to 1-2, needing to win five of its final nine games to become bowl-eligible. The problem: there may not be five wins left on the schedule. Five of the Bulldogs’ remaining opponents are currently ranked: No. 6 LSU (Oct. 5), at No. 12 South Carolina (Nov. 9), at No. 10 Texas A&M (Nov. 9), No. 1 Alabama (Nov. 16) and No. 21 Ole Miss (Nov. 28). That leaves only four games in which State will likely be favored to win: this weekend against Troy, Bowling Green (Oct. 12), Kentucky (Oct. 24) and at Arkansas (Nov. 23). But even those games are in question, meaning there are not sure things left for the Bulldogs.
Long story short, in order to become bowl eligible, Mississippi State will have to win all of its remaining games against unranked opponents and knock off one of the ranked teams left on the schedule. From what we’ve seen from this team so far it won’t be easy, and the Bulldogs will likely be at home come December.
What to look for in Week 4: Will the Bulldogs rebound from a disappointing loss last week and keep the bowl dream alive, for now? Though the Trojans are heavy underdogs, this is a game Mississippi State could easily lose if it comes out and plays flat.