Students are back on campus, talking heads are giving their way too early takes for who should make the College Football Playoff and the Mississippi State Bulldogs are not ranked in the preseason AP poll. Yep, just a typical college football preseason.
But, wait, Mississippi State’s not in the Top 25?
Yes, you read that right. Starkvegas’ finest, who had a stellar 2014 campaign that saw the Bulldogs sit atop the very poll that now excludes them for four consecutive weeks, are on the outside looking in of the Top 25.
After a posting a 7-6 record in 2013, State’s 2014 edition racked up 10 wins playing in the minefield of the SEC West, losing only to Alabama, in-state rival Ole Miss and Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. They climbed from being unranked in week four to No. 1 for the first time in school history by week 7, which is the fastest rise to the top in AP Poll history, breaking the 1954 record set by Ohio State.
Mississippi State became the first team to be ranked No. 1 in the newly created College Football Playoff Poll, and they were only unthroned when put up against the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs offense averaged 37 points a game behind Heisman candidate quarterback Dak Prescott, who returns to Starkville this season following offseason hype that included a Sports Illustrated cover.
However, the successful handling of a tough schedule, the quick rise to the top and the returning Heisman contender apparently don’t impress the voters.
Auburn, LSU and Arkansas -- all of whom fell to State last season -- make appearances in the Top 25. Tennessee (7-6 in 2014) even pulls rank on the Bulldogs.
Perhaps, in Starkville, Dan Mullen and his quarterback are looking at the poll, smiling and thinking, “we’ve climbed it all once before. Let’s do it again.”
Notes from the rest of the poll: After being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Big-12 has two representatives in the top four of the preseason poll, TCU and Baylor. The Pac-12’s highest ranked school, Oregon, is at number seven after playing for the national championship last year. And, the ACC barely avoided missing the top 10 with FSU coming in at that spot.