By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State has been content to schedule soft in non-conference when it comes to football, but it’s beefing it up in 2013.
The Bulldogs will open next season against Oklahoma State, a game to be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston. An ESPN creation, it’s being tabbed as the inaugural Texas Kickoff Classic.
A very well-kept secret in recent months, the game became official on Thursday. This will be MSU’s first regular season non-conference game against a BCS school since 2009.
“Coach (Dan) Mullen was part of the process,” MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin said. “I said, ‘OK, Dan, this is a tougher non-conference game, how do you think it affects the bowl eligibility piece?’
“He felt like we’d be able to get to where we needed to get to on that piece … so we decided to do it.”
This hole in MSU’s schedule came about when Mississippi Valley State had to drop off.
All tied up
It will be the fifth meeting between MSU and Oklahoma State, who have split the series to date. The last meeting was in 1999, a 29-11 MSU win in Starkville.
MSU is currently 5-0 and ranked 19th heading into Saturday’s game with Tennessee. The Bulldogs have been to consecutive bowl games, and Stricklin thinks the trajectory of the program helped make this game a viable option.
“The timing seemed to be right,” he said.
Oklahoma State, 2-2 this year, went 12-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl last season.
Tickets are available to order, and MSU will have an allotment of 10,500.