For the second week in a row, as well as ever, Mississippi State tops both the Associated Press and the Amway Coaches polls. Coach Dan Mullen’s team was free to watch their competitors play, or ignore football altogether, before resuming the season with a 6-0 record and 3-0 SEC mark.
For the Bulldogs to hold first place wasn’t a major surprise. What is more newsworthy is how a team that didn’t play actually saw its stock improve in one polls and barely drop in the other. The Coaches gave State 36 first place votes this week, compared to 26 last Sunday. And while State slipped a bit with the AP’s 60 voters, the 43 first-place picks was still a strong statement. A week ago the Dogs got 45 of these votes; both of the two mind-changers went to Florida State after an exciting win over previously-unbeaten Notre Dame.
So the Seminoles are second in both polls again. Ole Miss, the other SEC unbeaten, stayed third for another week. Meanwhile Alabama and Auburn are fourth and fifth, and LSU got back into the polls at 24th. The Tigers host the Rebels this weekend in a meeting State folk will track closely, while Alabama is at Tennessee and Auburn hosts South Carolina.
By staying first, the Bulldogs not only get to keep the #1 in front of the name a second week. They will for the first time ever take to a field with the top ranking. The previous highest pre-game rating was of course two weeks ago when #3 State beat then-#2 Auburn; the victory that leapfrogged MSU over prior #1 Florida State.
Mississippi State puts its ranking and unblemished record on the line this weekend, and on the road too. State travels to Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) for Saturday’s annual meeting of the permanent inter-Division opponents. Game time at Commonwealth Stadium is 3:30et, 2:30ct for CBS prime-slot telecast.