CBS Sports calls Mississippi State a potential CFB ‘Cinderella’ in 2017

Nov 26, 2016; Oxford, MS, USA;  Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen walks on the field before the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the first weekend of March Madness, which means everyone is talking about upsets, buzzer beaters and, of course, Cinderella. Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports decided to pick out five potential Cinderella teams in college football this fall, which he defined as potentially surprising teams, including darkhorse playoff contenders.

His five were:

  • BYU
  • Kansas State
  • Mississippi State
  • South Florida
  • Syracuse

It’s not the first time the Bulldogs have been mentioned as a team that could potentially shake up the SEC West. ESPN and SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic got people talking when he predicted MSU will upset Alabama earlier this offseason. Similar to Cubelic, Kercheval believes QB Nick Fitzgerald is the key to the Bulldogs’ season:

The Bulldogs were a fun Cinderella team in 2014 when quarterback Dak Prescott led them to a brief No. 1 ranking and eventually a New Year’s Six game. With all the talk in the SEC of Alabama this and even Auburn that, Mississippi State is one of the many teams being given the back-burner treatment.

However, Mississippi State has something many other unheralded SEC teams do not: a quarterback. And his name is Nick Fitzgerald. There was a lot of inconsistency in his game as a first-year starter in 2016 but also a lot of promise. My gut feeling is MSU is still a year away from a more realistic run out of the West. However, with home games against LSU and Alabama, Dan Mullen’s team might get a big win to show the signs are there.

Kercheval’s thoughts on the four other teams can be found here.

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  • Fitz will be better than Dak when he leaves MSU. He may not fall into the same fate as Dak, but will have had a better college record.

    • He’ll have to get his passing under better control. He’s not there yet. His running is very encouraging.

      • His passing numbers were as good as Dak’s. He is a far better runner.

        • That really depended on the team he was facing. He only hit 60% or better in 4 games; all against bad defenses. Against SEC West teams he was only hitting 51%. For the season he was only 54%. Daks worst season was 58%. He’s not nearly as good as Dak right now and probably wont be.

    • His passing will have to improve greatly and we don’t currently have a threat like Dak to Wilson in the red zone.

      • La-Tech was a pretty good team last season. Finished 9-5 with a 1 point loss at Arkansas. They also beat a very good Navy to end the season. And while Miss St is 9-3 all time against them they’re only 2-2 in the last 4 and one of the wins was only by 6 points.

  • They have a great QB but their O-line is a liability and their defense is still a year or so away from making them a real threat for the West. Their schedule is a bit brutal too, especially early when they play at La-Tech, LSU, at Georgia and at Auburn in a 4 week span. I think they come out of that SEC stretch 0-3.

  • We will likely be better in 2017. Mullen’s QB’s always peak at their junior season, and Fitzgerald was already pretty good. Our defense cannot be worse.

    The idea that we will beat Alabama is laughable. If we get within two scores, it will be reminiscent of many of our games with them. Too little, too late.

  • If Fitzgerald can improve as a passer, defense start playing better, and MSU can finally find a running game, then there’s a chance for a MSU win vs Alabama. Very slim but there’s always a chance to beat any team on any given day in the SEC. However, you can’t play Alabama with a one dimensional offense and expect to win and we all saw what happen in that 51-3 loss to them last year. It’s already difficult enough to beat Alabama with a good running game. That bowl game last year, even though MSU did ultimately win, it was embarrassing to beat a MAC team on a blocked field goal. If that same Miami team played the 2014 MSU team, the last MSU team that actually had a good and consistent running game, that game would have been over at halftime. Hopefully MSU’s 2017 season would be way better than 2016.

  • HAHAHAi just read my first Mississippi State article on SDS and looked at the comments. They are all state fans which means no-one is paying any attention to little brother. Go to Big brothers page and you get tons of state fans spewing hate. I love it. Maybe if you guys had more cowbell you could be more relevant. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • There is a tree somewhere( maybe in shady grove) effortless producing oxygen, you owe that tree an apology. Speaking of paying, one would think that is a word the” shady grovers” would eliminate from their small vocabulary. Relevant? Really, you want to go there! Are you a troglodyte? Do you not remember the worse beat down ever by a Superior State Team.

      Hate, really? Again, do you read, think, research matters before you can muster a complete thought or an idea? It is obvious we don’t hate anyone, we celebrate and embrace diversity it is in our fabric AND culture. I would remind you of some cold hard facts that even a simpleton you could appreciate!

      Our football alums had three Pro Bowlers in the NFC? What was your representation?
      Our own Dak Prescott literally saved the NFL in ratings this season and ROY . How did your rookies performed? Buried deep on the bench, right?
      We played for the NCAA women championship that captivated the nation(not to mention historic ratings) and producing the biggest upset in sports history? Who did you upset, besides the NCAA?
      WE just swept your baseball team to the point of epic proportions? See the trend!
      Finally, we humiliated, annihilated, embarrassed, and subjugated “big brother” on National TV by 5 touchdowns!
      Any rational and disinterested party would easily conclude, we are not hating, rather celebrating our present and future prospect of complete dominance over The Shame Up North!