The Mississippi State University football defense stood tall against the University of Alabama on Saturday, but the Bulldogs ultimately dropped a big matchup in Tuscaloosa by a score of 30-6.
Just four games are remaining in the regular season for the Bulldogs. MSU sits at 5-3 (2-3) and needs just one more win to become bowl eligible for a 13th consecutive season. According to ESPN Analysts and Football Power Index rankings, MSU certainly has a chance to finish the year with some positive momentum.
MSU is currently ranked 16th in ESPN’s FPI standings, which is determined using a team’s predicted number of points scored against the upcoming opponent, the opponent’s strength and the game's location. The FPI does not play a role in determining postseason standings or the College Football Playoff but instead allows programs to see how they hypothetically match up against some of their toughest foes.
Auburn University will travel to Starkville on Nov. 5 after the Bulldogs take a much needed weekend off. ESPN currently lists MSU as having a 79.8% chance of winning the matchup and locking up a postseason bowl berth with a few games left to spare. The Tigers sit at 3-4 on the year, with the University of Missouri serving as their only conference win. Auburn did have some relatively close games against Louisiana State University and the University of Mississippi, but they lack the talent needed to compete with most conference teams.
The following weekend will feature the toughest remaining game for MSU, as it welcomes the reigning national champions, the University of Georgia Bulldogs, to Davis Wade Stadium. MSU is much less favored in this game with only a 17.6% chance of coming out on top. However, nothing is impossible in the SEC. After all, Georgia barely survived a scare at the University of Missouri earlier in the year, but the odds of the visiting team slipping up again are slim.
In between a tough stretch of SEC games, the Bulldogs will host FCS opponent East Tennessee State University. ESPN currently gives MSU a whopping 99.3% chance of winning. This game shouldn’t be too difficult for the home team and will mainly serve as a contest against a less-intimidating opponent that the Bulldogs can play ahead of a short week of rest.
The final game of the season could be the biggest one of the year for MSU, as the team will travel a few hours north to face off against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night. The odds are stacked against the Bulldogs once again, but it’s not too lopsided in comparison to the team’s other games. MSU has a 35.5% chance of taking down the Rebels in Oxford and picking up its first rivalry victory since 2019.
As the regular season concludes, MSU will look to be placed in a noteworthy bowl game and have the chance to play one more time during the 2022 season. Before the team reaches that point, the final four games of the season should be telling of how much growth the program has seen under head coach Mike Leach and what the future could hold.