The Bulldogs, bearing the number-one national ranking for the first time ever in 115 seasons of football (119 years), will take on Kentucky’s Wildcats with 3:30et kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium. Mississippi State is enjoying a well-won open date this weekend, having beaten three top-ten teams in order and competing the first half of the schedule 6-0, 3-0 SEC.
The combination of being among the few remaining P5 conference unbeatens, rolling through then-#8 LSU, #6 Texas A&M, and finally #2 Auburn, has pushed Coach Dan Mullen’s team from unranked four weeks ago to the top spot in both the AP and Coaches polls. It also makes the Bulldogs the hottest October story in college football, and pushed quarterback Dak Prescott to the forefront of the Heisman Trophy projections today.
The Dogs backed up their building hype by whipping Auburn before a record Scott Field crowd. Not only did this pull the Tigers down in the rankings, if not too far—to #6 AP—but it boosted the Bulldogs beyond the open #2 spot and over unbeaten Florida State. AP voters gave State 45 of the 60 first-place votes this week.
At the same time pollings have become fascinatingly fickle this 2014 season. With #2 Florida State hosting #5 Notre Dame this weekend, next Sunday’s rankings could adjust yet again.
The MSU/Mullen/Prescott combination is irresistible for today. And to their credit the Wildcats (5-1, 2-1) are doing their part to make for a real matchup. Second-year Coach Mark Stoops has reinvigorated the program to a point Kentucky is one questionable officiating call from being unbeaten and ranked themselves. As it is the Wildcats are just about knocking on the top-25 door now and with a win at LSU this weekend will surely bring a ranking into the home game with State.
This is only the second time that consecutive Bulldogs games have been shown by CBS. This Mississippi State would certainly like to repeat what the 2000 club did, too. That year Coach Jackie Sherrill’s squad stunned #3 Florida 47-35, which brought CBS back the following week. Having just broken back into the polls themselves, the #20 Bulldogs beat the #15 Auburn Tigers 17-10. Both games were on Scott Field.
With this past Saturday’s success, Mississippi State is 4-8 playing for CBS which includes a Sun Bowl victory wayyyy back in 1974.
The Bulldogs are off Monday, both with the open date schedule and Columbus Day. Mullen has scheduled practices for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, then Thursday morning.