Auburn at Mississippi State: Big Game? Or Nah?


Sep 14, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers tight end C.J. Uzomah (81) tries to avoid the tackle of Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benadrick McKinney (50) during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Mississippi State football team is doing things the program hasn’t done in a very long time, if ever.

The Bulldogs have scored 213 points in the first five games of the season, which has never been done by an MSU squad. They’ve put up more than 500 yards in six straight games for the first time in school history. In the latest edition of the Associated Press Top 25, Mississippi State is ranked No. 3. It’s the highest ranking ever for the Bulldogs, taking the top spot from the 1981 team that reached No. 7 in the October 31 edition of the weekly poll.

And it all sets up a big game this weekend.

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Mississippi State will host the No. 2 Auburn Tigers Saturday, and it will be the first time in Scott Field and Davis Wade Stadium’s 100 years that there has ever been matchup of top five opponents, let alone two teams in nation’s top three. ESPN’s College GameDay will be there, which is generally a good indication that the showdown is considered to at least be the game of the week, and truth be told it’s probably the biggest game in Mississippi State football history.

Saturday will mark the ninth time ever that Mississippi State and their opponent will both be ranked in the top 15. Interestingly enough, it will be the second consecutive week MSU has played in a game under those circumstances as last Saturday the Bulldogs beat No. 6 Texas A&M 48-31. The win snapped a streak of six straight losses in such games dating back to 1941.

When Auburn and Mississippi State meet on the gridiron Saturday, the atmosphere will be great. The crowd will be loud, and so will the cowbells. Mississippi State has a really good football team, with a 5-0 record, an eight-game winning streak, and they deserve to be highly ranked. MSU has one of the best players in the nation in quarterback Dak Prescott, and the roster has talent at every position.

The SEC West is the premiere division in college football’s premiere conference, and this game has implications on who will represent the West in the SEC Championship Game. Also, it may have an effect on who is or isn’t selected to be part of the very first College Football Playoff.

It’s a big game.

But is it a big game? Or nah?

Based on the way the Mississippi State fan base is reacting this week, you’d think the Bulldogs were in the Super Bowl. It’s understandable. State fans haven’t had all that much to cheer about. Their lone “championship” came in 1998 when MSU won the SEC West.

Since then, Auburn’s won the division seven times, the SEC thrice, and brought home the BCS National Championship in 2010. Therefore, with so much recent success, the fact of the matter is Saturday’s trip to Starkville is just another game for the Auburn Tigers.

You know what would be considered a big game for Auburn? The Iron Bowl. The SEC Championship Game. The BCS National Championship Game.

Auburn played in all three last season and the vast majority of the Tigers’ players that will be in uniform Saturday were involved. So not only has the Auburn program played in many other big games, most current Auburn Tigers have already played in bigger games than the one they’ll play in this week.

Saturday, when Auburn and Mississippi State kick off, it will be a big game because it’s a matchup of two highly ranked teams, with implications on the division and conference titles.

But there have been bigger games. And there will be bigger games to come.