It’s remarkable, really, to consider that both of the SEC’s Mississippi schools (Ole Miss and Mississippi State) are among the final six unbeatens in the FBS. The state’s football uprising has both programs ranked in the top 3 in the nation at the midpoint of the season.

But which school will lose first in 2014?

We asked members of our SDS staff this very question. Here’s what they said:


Jon Cooper (@JonSDS): Mississippi State

Mississippi State should lose before Ole Miss. The Bulldogs go on the road to Alabama on November 15, and that’s the game I have circled prior to the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss plays tough games in back-to-back weeks against LSU and Auburn, but honestly, the Rebels are a better football team than both. Furthermore, Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss will all have one loss headed into the final weekend of the season, and the Iron Bowl and Egg Bowl will both have playoff implications.

Brad Crawford (@BCrawfordSDS): Ole Miss

The Rebels are my SEC West champion pick to finish the regular season 11-1, but that one setback is coming on Nov. 1 in Oxford against Auburn. The Tigers will still be in the thick of the College Football Playoff hunt at that time and in need of a signature win. The first of two losses for Mississippi State, in case you were wondering how Ole Miss wins the division, will come two weeks later when the Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa. The Egg Bowl then decides the division and likely a Playoff berth for the winner (unless both Magnolia State rivals enter that Nov. 29 showdown unbeaten).

Jordan Cox (@Jordan_Cox): Ole Miss

I’m going to say Ole Miss. They still have to travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU, go to Arkansas and play host to Auburn and Mississippi State. The Rebels have been very good, but in their three SEC wins, they blew out Vanderbilt, dominated a Texas A&M team that isn’t as good as perhaps everyone thought and won a close game late over Alabama. The reason I think the Rebels will drop a game before its cross-state rival is their vaunted Landshark defense spends a lot of time on the field and Bo Wallace is the signal caller more likely to make mistakes. Ole Miss has been bad on third downs this season, there’s no other way to say it. The Rebels are converting on just 47 percent of third downs. When you couple that with turnovers, Ole Miss’ defense — as good as it is — spends a lot of time on the field. As we head down the home stretch, that could prove important. Credit to him, Wallace has been very good protecting the football in conference play. He has yet to commit a turnover against an SEC opponent, but we’ve seen from his track record that he can step back into “Bad Bo” and be errant with the football. Don’t get me wrong, the Rebels are a very good football team. But I think they lose a game before Mississippi State does.

Jason Hall (@JasonHallSDS): Ole Miss

Assuming one team will lose prior to the Egg Bowl, I’d guess Mississippi State has a better chance of running the table. Mississippi State will play at Alabama on Nov. 15, but otherwise has an easy run to the season finale in Oxford. Ole Miss has two back-to-back tough matchups at LSU and against Auburn between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.

Drew Laing (@DLaingSDS): Ole Miss

This is probably the hardest question we’ve had to answer all year. I’m going to go with Ole Miss. Honestly, I could see both teams being undefeated heading into the Egg Bowl. I almost leaned the opposite way because of the Rebels defense, but I’m sticking with Ole Miss to lose first. Right now, I just trust Dak Prescott more in a big game than I do Bo Wallace. Plus, it’s hard to argue with three straight wins against top 10 ranked opponents. So for me, the Rebels lose, but it’s close.

Ethan Levine (@EthanLevineSDS): Ole Miss

It has to be understood this is not a criticism of Ole Miss. The Rebels are deserving of their No. 3 ranking, and they will still be a factor in the SEC West race when the Egg Bowl arrives on the final weekend of the regular season. However, the Rebels’ five games between now and then are much tougher than Mississippi State’s, which is why I think Ole Miss will suffer a loss before MSU does. In addition to a Nov. 1 home date with Auburn, Ole Miss has road trips scheduled to LSU and Arkansas, neither of which will be easy. Mississippi State, on the other hand, has only one game in which it won’t be heavily favored: a Nov. 15 road trip to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama. Even if Mississippi State loses that game, it comes two weeks after the Rebels’ back to back stretch at LSU and home against Auburn, so I still think Ole Miss is the first Mississippi school to fall.

Christopher Smith (@CSmithSDS): Ole Miss

The Rebels have a tougher schedule the rest of the season, and by a good margin. Ole Miss plays at LSU and at home against Auburn in back-to-back weeks (Oct. 25 and Nov. 1). Then the Rebels have to travel to Fayetteville, Ark., the week before the Egg Bowl. I don’t see Mississippi State having much trouble prior to a Nov. 15 game in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Both of these teams could well get to the Egg Bowl unbeaten, but I think the Rebels fall to Auburn on Nov. 1.

Brett Weisband (@BWeisbandSDS): Ole Miss

It’s a real possibility that both of these teams come into the Egg Bowl undefeated, setting up a showdown for the ages, and they’ve both been impressive enough so far that I don’t want to bet against either team. Unless the Bulldogs or Rebels completely blow a game, the only teams I could see them losing to are the Alabama schools remaining on their respective schedules. Since Ole Miss plays Auburn (albeit at home) two weeks before Mississippi State travels to play at Alabama, I’ll say the Bulldogs stay undefeated for longer.