Mississippi State is coming off of a 2018 season as one of the most one sided teams in all of College Football. The Bulldogs finished number one in the country in total defense, however they only finished number seventy in total offense. This strong defense was able to help the Bulldogs reach an overall 8-5 record.
However, 2019 does not look to be much of the same. The Bulldogs sent more than a few players to the NFL, including Defense Ends/Linebackers Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat and Safety Johnathan Abram. All three players were first round picks. The Bulldogs also lost Safety Jamal Peters, amongst others, to the NFL.
While Mississippi State certainly has replacing to do on the defensive side of the ball, they also have some replacing to do on offense. Amognst all of the Bulldogs who went to the NFL, Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was one of them. The Quarterback battle for 2019, as of Sunday, is close to being complete for the off-season, second year Head Coach Joe Moorhead announced. His decision is between Junior Keytaon Thompson and graduate transfer, Senior from Penn State, Tommy Stevens. However things turn out at Quarterback, one steady force the Bulldogs are hoping to rely on is Junior Running Back Kylin Hill. Hill rushed for 734 yards in 2018, and the Dogs are going to be hoping for a lot more in 2019.
As far as the schedule goes, Mississippi State opens up 2019 in New Orleans in a neutral site game with the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajuns on August 31st. This will be followed up by three consecutive home games in Starkville. Week two the Bulldogs host Southern Mississippi and week three they host Kansas State. The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles last met up in 2015, a game that Mississippi State won 34-16. The series between the two is currently 14-14-1. The Bulldogs have also faced Kansas State in the past two seasons, in which they are 2-0. Following these two games will be the Bulldogs first taste of SEC action in week four hosting the Kentucky Wildcats. The Bulldogs will close September with a road trip to Auburn before having a BYE week in week six.
The second half of the season will start with the Bulldogs traveling to Rocky Top for a matchup with Tennessee. The next four weeks will be a gauntlet. October 19th-November 16th will see Mississippi State hosting LSU, traveling to Texas A&M, traveling to Arkansas, and hosting Alabama. This portion of the schedule is likely where the train falls off of the tracks. The only break in the schedule over that period of time is when the Bulldogs are visiting the rebuilding Arkansas Razorbacks. Mississippi State will close out the 2019 season by hosting FCS opponent Abilene Christian and hosting the 2019 Egg Bowl vs Ole Miss.
Ultimately, it is a little difficult to predict a record. On paper there are obviously plenty of questions. However, there are also questions for opponents such as Kentucky and Tennessee. Both are winnable games, and the Bulldogs are certainly hoping to do so. Those two games will certainly be critical towards the objective of reaching a bowl game. Regardless of how the season is going by the end, all Bulldogs have one objective. Beat Ole Miss. While reaching a bowl game is wanted, so is winning the Egg Bowl. Only time will tell how Mississippi State will do in 2019, but as they say in “Starkvegas”, Hail State.