1. Dak Prescott and Brandon Allen are hands down the two best QBs in the SEC. Granted, that is like saying you're the smartest person in a room full of Ole Miss graduates (GTHOM, amirite). Nonetheless, who actually means more to their team? How well would State hold up without Prescott?
Yes, GTHOM! With that out of the way, this may sound silly, but I think Dak Prescott may be one of the more underrated quarterbacks this season. It may have to do with how he fell a bit flat against Alabama and Ole Miss last year, or it may have to do with the fact that the team did not jump to No. 1 this season. Either way, he has not really
gotten the credit he deserves. Look at the company he is joining this year in roughly two seasons worth of starts at this point. He's one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
If Prescott would have been injured against Southern Miss is in the season opener, it is hard to say where Mississippi State would be. Nick Fitzgerald has looked solid when he has played, so it would not be a total loss. My guess is Mississippi State would be sitting with four or five wins. I'm not sure if the Bulldogs would have beaten Auburn or Missouri, even though I could see how they could have the same record right now. However, that could be wishful thinking because the Bulldogs have been all Dak all the time on offense.
As for Arkansas, Brandon Allen has been called upon to make things happen for Arkansas, and especially lately, he has responded. I'm not sure what Arkansas would do without him, but the Hogs would still have a strong rushing attack. In that aspect, Allen may not be quite as indispensable for Arkansas as Prescott is for MSU (which, yes, I did
just say MSU have an outside shot at the same record without Dak).
However, I do feel that Arkansas is guaranteed a worse record without Allen.
2. Staying on the topic of Prescott, Arkansas' defense has struggled against mobile quarterbacks. Even not notable dual-threat QB Chad Kelly gave the Hogs' fits. Are State fans licking the chops with this match-up?
I don't think Bulldog fans ever lick their chops over a matchup with Arkansas. The Razorbacks are almost always a physical team, and they prove on a near yearly basis to be a tough matchup for the Bulldogs. While Dak is quite mobile, his offensive line has turned into a turnstile lately. Arkansas should be able to generate pressure on Prescott, and without much of a threat from the running back position, the defense should be able to key in on the senior. If Mississippi State's offensive line did not quickly figure things out after last week's nine-sack performance, it could be a long day for Prescott in Fayetteville.
3. Dan Mullen is getting his name thrown around for some big time jobs, like the real USC. I personally think he's an outstanding coach with what he has done at Mississippi State and the way that program has grown during his tenure. Do you think he could move on after this season?
That's turning into the million dollar question. Some folks argue that he is crazy to stick around at Mississippi State, and in all honesty, if the Bulldogs get the next two and a bowl, and he has back-to-back ten win seasons in Starkville, it would be tough to imagine his stock being any higher.
However, that said, will the right job be open for Mullen to want to leave Starkville? Mississippi State has vastly upgraded its facilities during his tenure, and other than a small minority, he has been embraced by the fans. He has the real opportunity to do something similar in Starkville as Frank Beamer did at Virginia Tech or Bobby Bowden at Florida State. Does Mullen consider Starkville his one and only love as a coach? Does Mullen truly believe he can win a championship in Starkville? If he feels yes, I think he sticks around as long as he feels that is the answer. He is one of the highest paid coaches, and he is well supported. That is tough to beat. If the answer is no, he leaves one day.
Will it be this year? I don't know. Southern Cal would have to be attractive. Mullen has done wonders with "lesser" recruits. He could go after 5-star after 5-star there or at Miami. However, will those schools pay enough to make it worth it?
Personally, I don't think he bolts for those. I think it would have to be a different spot. My guess is that someone makes a serious run at Dan Mullen, but in the end, he stays in Starkville.
This is going to be a tough one. Mississippi State has never done well in Fayetteville, but I think they get over the hump this time. I'll go with MSU 31 Arkansas 21. I'll also go with fans will be entertained by one of the most beautiful drives in the SEC after turning north off of Interstate 40.