There has been a lot of hype surrounding Dak Prescott’s first season as the full-time starting quarterback at Mississippi State, and for good reason.

Prescott has appeared in 23 of the Bulldogs 26 games since the start of the 2012 season, making seven starts during that time. He has 14 career passing touchdowns, 13 career rushing touchdowns and even caught two touchdown passes from wide receiver Jameon Lewis last season.

The junior will have full control of the Mississippi State offense this season, and head coach Dan Mullen has even given him permission to change into certain plays at the line of scrimmage if the defense gives him the right look.

Prescott could shine in 2014, leading MSU to as many as 10 wins in the daunting SEC West. Or he could be a total bust, plummeting the Bulldogs to the bottom of the conference standings. Saturday’s opener against Southern Miss will be our first chance to see which player he’ll turn out to be as the starter for a full season.

Here’s an elaboration of the best- and worst-case scenarios for Prescott’s 2014 season:

Best-case scenario

Prescott proves to be as capable with his arm as he is with his legs. He is not asked to throw the ball more than 35 times a game, but manages to complete at least 65 percent of his passes while throwing fewer than 10 interceptions for the season. The dynamic dual-threat quarterback tears opposing defenses to shreds with his running abilities, improving on the 829 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns he posted last season. Most importantly, Prescott protects his body both in the pocket and the open field, completing the season without missing a game due to injury.

Worst-case scenario

The junior signal caller cannot keep up with SEC defenses for an entire season, playing worse and worse as the season progresses before eventually being knocked out by injuries. Prescott tries to do too much in the Bulldogs’ offense, throwing as many interceptions as he does touchdowns while abandoning plays to run on his own far too often. Despite his dual-threat abilities he becomes predictable and does not make the necessary week-by-week adjustments expected of a full-time starting quarterback.

The likely scenario

Prescott plays like an above-average quarterback in the talented SEC West, and the Bulldogs have their best season of the Dan Mullen era. He throws for more than 2,500 yards and rushes for another 700, and his dynamic play opens up opportunities for the rest of the offense, including Lewis and tailback Josh Robinson, who rushes for 1,000 yards as a complementary piece to Prescott. He is inspired by last season’s Egg Bowl victory and leads the Bulldogs to a second straight win over Ole Miss to end the regular season, and MSU is considered for a New Year’s Day bowl (although it’s not considered for the College Football Playoff).

Prescott and the Bulldogs open the 2014 season at home Saturday against Southern Miss, which ranked 83rd in total defense and 113th against run last season.