New Rankings: Miss. State No. 16 AP, No. 17 Coaches

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Mississippi State is not only the favorite to beat Auburn this week, it’s now ahead of the reigning BCS champ in both polls this week.

After thumping Memphis on Thursday, 59-14, the Bulldogs jumped Auburn in the USA Today poll, going from No. 20 to No. 17. The Tigers were 19th but fell to 22nd after a narrow escape at home against Utah State of the WAC.

In the AP rankings, MSU moved up from 20th to 16th, while Auburn dropped out of the rankings. It was previously 23rd and is now the second team in the “receiving votes” category.

State is a 7-point favorite in Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 11:21 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It’s the SEC opener for both teams, and Auburn’s 16-game winning streak (longest in the nation) is on the line.

Helping MSU move up in the AP poll were losses by Georgia, Notre Dame and TCU, and those last two also aided State in the coaches poll (State was already ahead of Georgia in that one last week). Georgia and Notre Dame both dropped out of the coaches poll, while TCU fell from 15th to 25th. Same story in the AP poll, except TCU had been previously ranked 14th there.

The AP ranking is one spot below where MSU finished the 2010 season, when it went 9-4 and beat Michigan in the Gator Bowl. It finished 17th in the final 2010 USA Today rankings.

Click here for more at Brad Locke’s Inside Mississippi State’s blog.