The Mississippi State Bulldogs have recently been criticized for their non-conference schedule. More often than not, the slate has not included a team from one of the big five conferences, which has led to an easier road to the magical six win mark for Dan Mullen and his team.
However, with the new scheduling mandate put forward by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive recently, the Bulldogs were forced to make some changes. The new rules state that each SEC team must play one of its non-conference games against a team from a power conference.
This was not a problem for most SEC schools, as many have a built-in natural rival that satisfies this requirement. The Florida Gators annually meet the Florida State Seminoles, the Georgia Bulldogs face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the South Carolina Gamecocks square off with the Clemson Tigers each season.
The two teams that did not fit that were Mississippi State and the Ole Miss Rebels. But give Mississippi State credit. Since Slive’s announcement, the Bulldogs have added a pair of home-and-home series against power conference teams.
While these games satisfy the requirement from 2020-2023, MSU still must find power conference opponents for 2016-2019.
MSU is moving in the right direction with these moves. While it would be more natural if the Bulldogs could find a regional rival to fit the bill, give credit to Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin for making progress.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.