We’re counting down to MSU’s season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 31, giving you a significant number to ponder as August trudges on. Today’s number is…
MSU has a chance to reverse a bad trend right off the bat. It’s lost nine consecutive games against ranked opponents, and the opener is against an Oklahoma State team that enters the season ranked 13th in the Associated Press preseason poll.
In his four years at MSU, Dan Mullen is 2-15 against ranked foes. Those two wins came against No. 20 Ole Miss in 2009 (41-27, in Starkville) and No. 22 Florida in 2010 (10-7, in Gainesville). It’s been downhill ever since, and such is life in the SEC: Of the nine straight losses, eight have come against Western Division teams, including three losses to Alabama.
Five of MSU’s opponents this season are ranked in the preseason, so there will be ample opportunity to reverse the trend. And for State the reach the next level, that has to happen. During this current nine-game slide versus ranked squads, the Bulldogs’ average margin of defeat is 18 points, although they’ve been competitive in several of the teams. Three losses last year by an average 25.3 points skewed the numbers a bit.
There have been some close calls, such as a 38-31 double-overtime loss to Arkansas in 2010 and a 14-12 setback to South Carolina in 2011. Oklahoma State is currently a 12.5-point favorite, but I think MSU has a good chance at proving Vegas – and others – wrong.