2020 Season Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

 In College Football, Football, SEC

Over the course of the next several weeks, the SoBros Network crew will be going around the landscape of the SEC, team by team, previewing the upcoming American tackle football season. Up next, our 2020 Mississippi State preview!

2020 Mississippi State Preview 

After being teased for what seems like a countless amount of times, Mike Leach is finally in the SEC. He’s spent the last twenty years in the Big 12 and Pac 12 where his Air Raid system put up enormous passing numbers. Now we find out what we’ve been asking for years…will that system work in the SEC?

It’s not officially official, but all signs seem to point towards Stanford transfer KJ Costello being the man to take the coveted quarterback spot for Leach. Costello was limited at times due to injuries in Palo Alto, but he still ended up completing nearly 63% of passes and threw 49 touchdowns. His competition will be be Garrett Shrader, who started four games last season but played in ten. Assuming Costello is 100%, expect him to be the guy when Week 1 rolls around.

We do know that whoever ends up getting the nod will be handing the ball to Kylin Hill. Hill led the SEC in rushing yardage in the 2019 season and is ready to put up monster numbers in his senior season. There are question marks in the receiving corps and on the offensive line. There should be enough depth there to do some things, but certainly something to keep an eye on. 

Taking over on the defensive side of things is Zach Arnett coming over from San Diego State. After spending eight years in San Diego rising from grad assistant to defensive coordinator, where over the last two seasons, his defense ranked in the top 15-20 in a few categories. Of course, the schedule gets tougher in the SEC, but he should have some really solid pieces to play with. Linebacker Erroll Thompson stands out and, like Kylin Hill, will be looking to go out with a memorable senior campaign.

2020 Bulldogs Schedule 

9/5, vs. New Mexico- Exactly what the riled up Bulldog fan base will want in Week 1…a possible showcase for the new look offense. Of note: DC Zach Arnett played linebacker at New Mexico from 2005-2008. 

9/12, @ North Carolina State- If MSU gets the offense going in Week 1, then I think they can go into Carter-Finley and get to 2-0. That said, this one feels like it could go either way. 

9/19, vs. Arkansas- I’m expecting a higher scoring game here, but I’ll take Costello, Hill, and company to get it done. 

9/26, vs. Tulane- Tulane was a fun team to keep up with in 2019, but I just don’t see them leaving Starkville with this win. 

10/3, vs. Texas A&M- Leach vs. Jimbo is something I’m all the way fired up for, even with the expected growing pains of Air Raid Year 1. I’ll take the Aggies, but this could be one of the more exciting games of this weekend. 

10/10, BYE

10/17, @ Alabama- I’ll take less than 100 words combined from both coaches for the press during game week. The officially official ‘welcome to the SEC’ game for Leach. 

10/24, @ LSU- There isn’t a team I know less about right now than LSU. Losing an entire offense and the man that helped run it can’t be overlooked. I’ll still take the Bayou Bengals, buuuut I’ll feel better once I see them in action. 

10/31, vs. Auburn- Halloween in Starkville will be a fun environment, but I’m not sure how long that feeling will last, especially if Auburn brings it like they did last year.

11/7, vs. Missouri- October is gonna be rough on the Bulldogs, so getting Mizzou to start November should be well-welcomed. 

11/14, @ Kentucky- This one should be fun and really feels like a toss-up. At this point, I’ll lean blue, but very excited for this late season scrap. 

11/21, vs. Alabama A&M- Big win heading into next week’s primetime finale. 

11/26, @ Ole Miss- The game EVERYONE is ready for. Mike Leach vs. Lane Kiffin in one of the most hotly contested rivalry games no matter either team’s record. Giddy up. 

Prediction 

It’s hard to really put a number on how many wins Mississippi State will have in Leach’s inaugural campaign. I think the biggest question to be answered will be “how does Mike Leach use Kylin Hill?” If the Bulldogs lean on Hill, especially early in the season when they’re figuring this system out, then I expect a very successful season. By season’s end, I wouldn’t be shocked to see MSU right around that seven to eight win mark. 

OTHER 2020 SEASON PREVIEWS

Auburn Tigers
Florida Gators
LSU Tigers

John Mosley is the independent wrestling and TV aficionado of the SoBros Network. He graduated from ETSU with a degree in Radio, TV and Film along with a minor in Film Studies. Since graduating he’s done pretty much nothing but watch, film, edit or commentate for local wrestling promotions and is the current color commentator for Resolute Wrestling. #Preds #Titans #DefendOrVacateConor. Follow on Twitter: @SoBroMose

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