The schedule opens at home on November 14 with a Southeastern Conference vs. Southern Conference matchup against Western Carolina. This is also a first-ever meeting of the programs on hardwood. State is a bit more familiar with Mississippi Valley State after last November’s Bulldog win in Humphrey Coliseum. And Ray’s team played at Utah State last season; now they host a ‘rubber’ game to complete a three-contest series. But no Dog knows much of anything about Clayton State, another first-time meeting for the schools as well as State’s initial experience with a member of the Peach Belt Conference.
Highlights of the pre-league schedule include appearing in the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic where State meets 2014 NCAA ‘sweetheart’ club St. Louis in the opening round and either TCU or Bradley the next day. Ray secured road games with Oregon State and Tulane to season his squad away from home, but he’s glad to be hosting probably the biggest name on the slate as Florida State comes to the Hump on January 2.
Also, Mississippi State returns to Jackson for a holiday break game after a one-season absence to play in Tupelo. The Bulldogs entertain South Carolina Upstate in the Mississippi Coliseum on December 20 when school is out.
Though it doesn’t count on the record, the exhibition game for this season does ‘count’ in many a Magnolia State mind. State will be hosting Delta State on November 6 as, hopefully, a tune-up for the official schedule, though of course the smaller in-state program will be looking to count a big coup when they visit Humphrey Coliseum.
”Our non-conference schedule is an indication of the direction of our program,” Ray said in a provided statement. “As our team matures and our talent level increases, our schedule reflects the belief in my team to accept bigger and better challenges. I also want to provide a great fan experience. This schedule will not only prepare us for the SEC but prepare us to have success in the SEC.”
The SEC schedule is due to be announced the second week of August, prior to activation of the much-anticipated SEC Network on August 14.
BULLDOG PRE-SEC SCHEDULE: Nov 14 Western Carolina; Nov 17 Mississippi Valley State; Nov 22 Utah State; Nov 24 Clayton State; Nov 28 St. Louis(&); Nov 29 either TCU/Bradley(&); Dec 6 at Tulane; Dec 13 at Oregon State; Dec 17 Arkansas State; Dec 20 South Carolina Upstate (Jackson); Dec 23 Jacksonville; Dec 30 McNeese State; Jan 2 Florida State. (& -- Corpus Christi Coastal Classic; Jackson – Mississippi Coliseum)