4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Much like the Colorado State Rams, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were one of the best stories in college football in 2014. A perennial punching bag in the scary good SEC, the Bulldogs ripped off an impressive 10-3 record last year and were at one point ranked No. 1 in the nation.
But replicating that unprecedented success won’t be an easy task. The Bulldogs lost a slew of experienced players — seven offensive starters and eight defensive — and the SEC will be a trial by fire for the new guys stepping in to fill those roles.
And speaking of the best conference in all the land, Mississippi State’s schedule, though favorable, will not be a cakewalk. Sure, wins are pretty much guaranteed against the likes of Southern Miss and Northwestern State and Troy, but the Bulldogs also have to wrestle with LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, and (of course) Ole Miss. Yes, the Bulldogs are lucky to have most of those games in Starkville, but none of those games will be easy, and it’s conceivable that the Bulldogs could play well and still wind up with a handful of losses. Such is life in the SEC.
This doesn’t mean that Mississippi State fans should despair, though. Dak Prescott, who rewrote the school’s record books in 2014, is back, as is standout wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson, who caught 47 passes for 680 yards and nine touchdowns last season. With Prescott, a one-man wrecking crew, running the offense and with head coach Dan Mullen guiding the team, the Bulldogs won’t totally flounder in 2015, but they won’t be ranked first in the country, either.
Next: 3. Florida State Seminoles