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Fast 40 countdown: Mississippi State

August 14, 2011  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Mississippi State

Last season: 9-4, 34th in the MRI

The good: The SEC West was a brutal division last season, featuring five of the top six teams in the conference. The team that most people probably missed in all the fervor at the top was Mississippi State which turned in its best season since 1999 when the Bulldogs were 10-2.

Sixteen starters return and considering all of the Bulldog losses came against the cream of the crop in the division, there is a big opportunity for Mississippi State to improve on last season.

LSU, Alabama and South Carolina all come to Starkville this season, which could spell upset central. Remember how far Mississippi State pushed Auburn (17-14 loss).

The bad: It is difficult to find a glaring weakness for Mississippi State. Granted the Bulldogs don't bring in the talent that, say a Florida, does, so their returnees aren't always going to be the names that everyone has on the tips of their tongues.

Quick quiz: name last season's starting quarterback. He is back after all.

Right, see, it would take a diehard fan, or someone who studies the SEC constantly to come up with Chris Relf.

The only hole in the wave of returnees is at linebacker, but the Bulldogs do return two backups and get in transfer Brandon Maye from Clemson.

The lack of experience could leave the middle of the field a little soft during the first few weeks.

Best name: Asian Ruff (Again, no video)

Trending: Up - Nothing in the SEC is ever easy, but when you have so much returning along with a favorable setting for all of the toughest games on the schedule, there is a least a little room to breathe. Mississippi State has a chance to be the spoiler for every team hoping to contend for the National Title in the SEC. Look for the Bulldogs to trip someone and find a way into the MRI top 25 this season.

   

Posted August 14, 2011 4:06 PM

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