Mississippi State (7-3) continued its on-again, off-again relationship with the college football polls this week after losing to Alabama.

The Bulldogs, which reached No. 17 in last week’s College Football Playoff poll, careened out of the rankings Tuesday night in the third installment of the made-for-TV poll release.

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Coach Dan Mullen’s team fell to 1-3 against SEC West competition when the Tide won, 31-6, in Starkville. Games at Arkansas and vs. Ole Miss remain. Win them both, and Mississippi State will make yet another foray into the top 25 before season’s end.

Either way, it’s time to start appreciating quarterback Dak Prescott, who could be the single most impactful player in Mississippi State history. Prescott will play a maximum of three more games in a Bulldogs uniform. And, now that the team has suffered three losses and doesn’t rank in the top 25, it’s very unlikely that Prescott will be a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Closing the season with two wins would amount to an excellent result for the Bulldogs, picked last in the SEC West in July. Two of the team’s three losses came to ranked opponents.