Pre-Season SEC Power Rankings

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Oct 12, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Jameon Lewis (4) carries the ball and is pursued by Bowling Green Falcons defensive back Jerry Gates (24) at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

6. Mississippi State

Last Season: 7-6 (3-5)

The Good: The quarterback-wide receiver combination of Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis could be the best in the SEC. Prescott became a folk hero to Bulldogs fans for his courage on and off the field last season, and Lewis can score any time he touches the ball. Expect the two to put up big numbers in 2014. Also, Chris Jones is a rising star and All-American candidate at defensive tackle, and Benardrick McKinney is one of the best middle linebackers in the country. Taveze Calhoun and Jamerson Love are the league’s best cornerback duo.

The Bad: As much talent as the Bulldogs have on offense, they have not reach their full potential yet. Statistically, Mississippi State ranked tenth in the SEC in scoring offense, eighth in both rushing and passing offense, and ninth in total offense in 2013. Part of the problem has been injuries – Tyler Russell was the starting QB, but got hurt, and Prescott missed time as well.

The Ugly: Things could get ugly if State does not win the games they are supposed to win this season. The Bulldogs had to scratch and claw to reach a bowl game at the end of last season, beating both Arkansas and Ole Miss in overtime in the final two games of the regular season. They also beat Bowling Green 21-20 and Kentucky 28-22. This season’s schedule sets up very, very well for MSU to make a jump in the standings – and expectations are sky high in Starkville – but an untimely loss could wreck everything.

Position-By-Position Ranking (Out of 14 SEC Teams)

Quarterbacks – 3rd

Running Backs – 12th

Wide Receivers – 8th

Tight Ends – 5th

Tackles – 12th

Guards – 12th

Centers – 9th

Total Offense – 9th

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Defensive Ends – 10th

Defensive Tackles – 6th

Outside Linebackers – 9th

Inside Linebackers – 2nd

Cornerbacks – 1st

Safeties – 5th

Total Defense – 7th

Kickers – 13th

Punters – 11th

Kick Returners – 6th

Punt Returners – 5th

Head Coach – 11th

Offensive Coordinator/Play-Caller – 8th

Defensive Coordinator/Play-Caller – 6th

Experience – 1st

Schedule – 3rd