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Early schedule snapshot: Mississippi State

2/10/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Breaking down the Bulldogs' path in 2009:

NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Sept. 5: Jackson State
Sept. 19: Georgia Tech
Oct. 10: Houston
Oct. 17: at Middle Tennessee

My take: Georgia Tech shredded Mississippi State's defense last season for 438 rushing yards in a 38-7 rout. The game's in Starkville next season, but the Yellow Jackets will again be loaded offensively with their triple-option attack. The other thing that jumps out at you about the nonconference part of the schedule is the trip to Middle Tennessee. Those are what you call "athletic director" games, because no SEC coach would choose to make that trip. Just like the Louisiana Tech trip last year, they're nothing-to-gain, everything-to-lose games if you play in the SEC. Plus, Middle Tennessee is a dangerous club.

SEC SCHEDULE

Sept. 12: at Auburn
Sept. 26: LSU
Oct. 3: at Vanderbilt
Oct. 24: Florida
Oct. 31: at Kentucky
Nov. 14: Alabama
Nov. 21: at Arkansas (in Little Rock)
Nov. 28: Ole Miss

My take: For a team in transition, there won't be anything easy about the first month to the season in 2009. A trip to Auburn during the second week of the season and a home game against LSU to close out September become that much more formidable because of the Georgia Tech game nestled in the middle of those two contests. The trip to Vanderbilt looms as a swing game. Win that game, and the Bulldogs could gain a little momentum. Lose that game, and it could be a long way to the finish. As fate would have it, Florida comes back on the schedule the year after Dan Mullen leaves the Gators to take over the Bulldogs' program. Wonder if Urban Meyer will play nice?