2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 46 Mississippi State Bulldogs
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Mississippi State Bulldogs
No. 46: Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State Bulldogs Prespring Status
It was supposed to be an adjustment year without Dak Prescott, but the Bulldogs managed to come up with an Egg Bowl win over Ole Miss and a bowl win over Miami University to close out a rocky year with something positive. The ground game was outstanding – mostly due to QB Nick Fitzgerald coming up with a great year – but the defense was way too inconsistent. It was a rocky campaign, but on the plus side, four of the seven losses easily could’ve gone the other way – there’s room for improvement.
Five starters are gone on offense, but Fitzgerald is back along with just enough decent receivers to hope for more balance. The defense loses a ton off the front seven with five starters done, while the secondary has to replace two good starters in S Kivon Coman and CB Cedric Jiles.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Biggest Issue
The defensive front. The O line needs to replace three starters, but it’s the other side that’s the concern. Johnathan Calvin was the team’s leader in plays behind the line from his linebacker spot, followed closely by end A.J. Jefferson – they’re both done. The combination of Nick James and Nelson Adams on the defensive front have to be replaced from a run defense that needs to somehow be stronger without them.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Biggest Positive
Fitzgerald. For good and bad, he was the entire Mississippi State offense at times, running for close to 1,400 yards and 16 scores, while throwing for 2,432 yards and 21 touchdowns. He needs more help from the rest of the running backs, but the receiving corps should be great despite the loss of top target Fred Ross. The next five top receivers return, but the offense will still revolve mostly around Fitzgerald and his ability to make things happen. The more parts that can take the pressure off, the better.
Really, Why Are The Mississippi State Bulldogs Ranked Here?
Last year wasn’t a rebuild, and neither is this season. However, with all the lost starters on defense, help needed in the running game, and with juggling needing to be done on the O line, it’ll be a bit of a battle to be too much of a player in the SEC West. This will still be a good team, though, that’ll go bowling again – only this time, it’ll get in with a winning record.