Dogs, Tigers To Kick Off Season September 1

It's a good thing the Bulldogs are already eager for the 2011 season. Because the upcoming campaign now opens a couple of days earlier than planned.

Mississippi State will kick off the 2011 campaign at Memphis on September 1, instead of the original September 3 date. The home team Tigers are exercising their rights to make a change and move the non-conference contest up to a Thursday night at the Liberty Bowl stadium.

The change allows the Tiger home game to be televised regionally by Fox, which holds the Conference USA broadcast package.

"Because this is a road game and not part of the SEC tv contract it ensures television coverage for that game," said MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin.

Mississippi State and Memphis were once annual opponents, but after 2003 the rivalry took a six-year layoff before renewal in 2010. Playing at Scott Field, the Bulldogs claimed an easy 49-7 victory to begin Coach Dan Mullen's second season. State in fact had a shutout going until the Tigers got on the scoreboard with 99 seconds left.

The Bulldogs went on to a 9-4 season, a Gator Bowl victory, and a final ranking of #15.

Stricken feels this is not only good for Mississippi State but for the SEC.

"I think this is good for the league," said Stricklin. "There is not many of us who would do this. And the league and ESPN are very appreciative."

Other Notes:

-- Stricklin doesn't expect any other 2011 season games to be moved to Thursday.

-- Stricklin did indicate that State might get an SEC home game moved to Thursday night during the 2012 season. He wouldn't say which game it might be.

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