Mississippi State announced today that this once-regular series will resume in 2021 and ’22. The Bulldogs will visit the Liberty Bowl on September 18 of ’21; then the Tigers come to Scott Field on September 24 of ’22.
This is Mississippi State’s most-played opponent outside the Southeastern Conference, with 44 meetings since 1951. (True, State and Tulane have played 58 times, though not since 2007. But 19 of those meetings were when Tulane was a SEC member up to 1965.) But after visiting Memphis to open the 2011 season and scoring a 59-14 rout, the programs were not scheduled to play again. The SEC’s mandate to add at least one non-conference game every year with a ‘power 5’ opponent made fitting in games with smaller league foes more difficult.
Still the convenience of the trip for both programs, the long history of the rivalry, and a revived Tiger program makes renewal an attractive choice. From a Bulldog perspective, so does a 12-win streak dating back to 1994. Mississippi State owns a 33-11 lead in the series, and is 17-6 in Memphis to boot.
Memphis will be breaking in a new head coach for 2016, and almost certainly a new quarterback as their current triggerman is projected to leave a year early for the NFL. Still Tiger football is on the upswing after a long slump. Their signature win of the season was knocking off Ole Miss in the Liberty Bowl in October. Plus, they now get a shot at struggling Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl.
Mississippi State already has P5 games set for both those years. In 2021 the Bulldogs complete a two-year deal by hosting North Carolina State—ironically, who is now State’s upcoming opponent in the Belk Bowl. Then in ’22 the Bulldogs begin a home-and-home by visiting Arizona.
The P5 mandate for MSU begins with Brigham Young (@2016, home '17); Kansas State (@2018, home '19); North Carolina State (@2020, home '21); and Arizona (@2022, home '23.)
Mississippi State’s 2016 schedule is: Sept 3 South Alabama; Sept 10 South Carolina; Sept 17 @ LSU; Sept 24 @ UMass;
Oct 1 open; Oct 8 Auburn; Oct 15 @ Brigham Young; Oct 22 @ Kentucky; Oct 29 Samford;
Nov 5 Texas A&M; Nov 12 @ Alabama; Nov 19 Arkansas; Nov 26 @ Ole Miss.