Mississippi State Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 11th toughest schedule

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Mississippi State

SDS takes a trip around the SEC and ranks the schedule strength of all 14 SEC teams. We’ll work our way down to the toughest schedule in the SEC.

2014 SEC Strength of Schedule Rankings:

How the NCAA ranks the SEC’s 2014 strength of schedule
#1: Tennessee strength of schedule
#2: Arkansas strength of schedule
#3: Florida strength of schedule
#4: Auburn strength of schedule
#5: Kentucky strength of schedule
#6: South Carolina strength of schedule
#7: Georgia strength of schedule
#8: LSU strength of schedule
#9: Texas A&M strength of schedule
#10: Ole Miss strength of schedule
#11: Mississippi State strength of schedule
#12: Alabama strength of schedule
#13: Missouri strength of schedule
#14: Vanderbilt strength of schedule

Overall, Mississippi State’s 2014 strength of schedule is favorable. The Bulldogs play no non-conference teams from power conferences and had a .333 winning percentage in 2013, which is the second worst only to Alabama’s non-conference opponents. MSU’s bye weeks fall before Texas A&M and Kentucky, and the Bulldogs are looking to spoil plans in college football’s toughest division.

Mississippi State’s strength of schedule for 2014:

2014 Mississippi State Bulldogs schedule

  • Aug. 30: Southern Miss
  • Sept. 6: UAB
  • Sept. 13: at South Alabama
  • Sept. 20: at LSU
  • Oct. 4: Texas A&M
  • Oct. 11: Auburn
  • Oct. 25: at Kentucky
  • Nov. 1: Arkansas
  • Nov. 8: UT Martin
  • Nov. 15: at Alabama
  • Nov. 22: Vanderbilt
  • Nov. 29: at Ole Miss

By the Numbers

  • 7 home games
  • 5 away games
  • 0 power non-conference game
  • 5 projected preseason top 25 teams (LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC West: 6th
  • SEC overall: 11th

Notes:

  • Cross divisional opponents: Kentucky and Vanderbilt
  • Opponents winning %: 80-71 (53%)
  • Bye weeks: Before Texas A&M and Kentucky
  • Biggest swing game: Ole Miss Rebels

Mississippi State loves the roster and returning starters for 2014; they also have to love their strength of schedule. There’s nothing easy about any SEC schedule, but when teams have the most favorable in-conference and non-conference slates, they have to take advantage of it.

This is the year Mississippi State can take advantage of its strength of schedule.

The Bulldogs should breeze through their non-conference schedule, and the four non-conference opponents won just .333 percent of their games last season: Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama and UT Martin. Why is MSU playing a road game at South Alabama again?

The Bulldogs will likely be favorites in all four non-conference games and against Kentucky, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. A huge swing game against Ole Miss could be the difference between a nine- or 10-win season. MSU will enter underdogs against the big three of Auburn, LSU and Alabama, but the Bulldogs usually play Auburn tough. Road games against LSU and Alabama will be nasty.

Interestingly, last season, MSU had a brutal schedule with a non-conference game against Oklahoma State and the usual SEC West gauntlet, but they also drew 11-win South Carolina from the East. And the Bulldogs still won three straight games to close the season and create some nice momentum entering 2014.

Mississippi State’s 2014 strength of schedule is more favorable than last year, and it sets up nicely to make the Bulldogs a darkhorse contender looking to spoil somebody’s season.

Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

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