There are many reasons to believe Mississippi State will equal or exceed last season's success – 31 reasons, in fact. Here's Reason No. 3.
SEC teams are notorious for scheduling patsies out of conference, and MSU is no exception. This year's non-conference slate is as follows: at Memphis (Sept. 1), vs. Louisiana Tech (Sept. 24), at UAB (Oct. 8) and vs. UT-Martin (Nov. 5).
Not exactly a meat grinder.
MSU should win all of those games, and handily. That gets the Bulldogs within two wins of bowl eligibility. What makes this non-SEC slate even more of an advantage, though, is how the games are scheduled.
Memphis, which was 1-11 last year, is a good choice for an opener, especially considering the next two games are at Auburn and versus LSU (on a Thursday). Then is the home game against Tech, followed by back-to-back road games against Georgia and UAB. Perhaps UAB could be labeled a "trap game," especially with South Carolina coming to Starkville the next weekend, but the fact it's on the road should hone the Bulldogs' focus enough.
After Carolina and a trip to Kentucky, UT-Martin comes calling to offer one last respite prior to MSU's season-closing stretch of SEC games: vs. Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Ole Miss.
In all, that's pretty good spacing of the cream puffs. It's that kind of scheduling that can help make a season special.