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Mississippi State Bulldogs 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

Mississippi State Bulldogs 2016 Preview

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The Mississippi State Bulldogs have won 19 games the last two seasons and hope the upward trend can continue under coach Dan Mullen. Miss State has been somewhat of an afterthought in the SEC West, but has made a bowl game six straight seasons and heads into this year with confidence.

Here is your 2016 Mississippi State Bulldogs college football preview.

Mississippi State Bulldogs 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: The good news is that Mississippi State has a bunch of talent at wide receiver with Fred Ross and Donald Gray leading the way, a duo that combined for nearly 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. And while the Bulldogs ground game struggled last year, there are experienced running backs in Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert. Miss State also has three starting offensive linemen returning this season. The bad news is that the Bulldogs must replace arguably its best quarterback in school history, Dak Prescott. Nick Fitzgerald will be the favorite to get the job, but he has big shoes to fill considering Prescott was the leading passer and rusher last season.

Defense: Miss State has a new defensive coordinator in Peter Sirmon, who spent the last two seasons with the USC Trojans. The Bulldogs defense is led by two playmakers in A.J. Jefferson and Richie Brown, a front seven duo that produced a combined 26.5 tackles for loss last season. In the secondary, Brandon Bryant made his impact felt in a limited role last season and many around Mississippi State believe he's a potential star in the making. Tolando Cleveland is also an experienced cornerback who has shown he’s comfortable breaking on the football and making plays. Mississippi State ranked 10th in the SEC last season in total defense and people may pause for concern with a new guy calling the shots. However, there’s enough playmakers in place for the Bulldogs to improve on this side of the ball.

Special Teams: Logan Cooke returns at punter after averaging 42.1 yards on 44 attempts. Westin Graves returns at kicker after making 15 of 18 field goals and 52 of 54 extra points.

Outlook: The Mississippi State Bulldogs could be a surprise team in the SEC if they can find a quarterback who can produce right away. The Bulldogs have a talented defense and playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. I don’t see the Bulldogs taking that next step due to questions at QB, but a sixth straight bowl appearance is in the cards.

Schedule:

Sept. 3 SOUTH ALABAMA Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Sept. 10 SOUTH CAROLINA * Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Sept. 17 at LSU * Baton Rouge, La. (Tiger Stadium)
Sept. 24 at UMass Foxborough, Mass. (Gillette Stadium)
Oct. 1 Open
Oct. 8 AUBURN * Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Oct. 15 at BYU Provo, Utah (LaVell Edwards Stadium)
Oct. 22 at Kentucky * Lexington, Ky. (Commonwealth Stadium)
Oct. 29 SAMFORD Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Nov. 5 TEXAS A&M * Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Nov. 12 at Alabama * Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
Nov. 19 ARKANSAS * Starkville, Miss. (Davis Wade Stadium)
Nov. 26 at Ole Miss * Oxford, Miss. (Vaught-Hemingway Stadium)

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