Series Record: Georgia leads 16-5-0
Dan Mullen took what was supposed to be a high-flying offensive style to Starkville in an attempt to shake the cobwebs that is Mississippi State football… wins, predictably, were difficult to come by. It's not that State played poorly – they competed well – but they are still some way away from making a splash in the SEC. Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU can be difficult to deal with on an annual basis. To some degree, the East maybe would give State the ability to grab a couple more wins each year, but geography prevents that for obvious reasons.
Starkville could prove a challenging place for Georgia to travel in late September. They should win the game, but the week before that game the Dawgs host Arkansas, in what should be a fight, and the week after they have to pack up and play across the country to play Colorado. Starkville could be the "fall asleep" kind of trip that means Georgia is in a difficult game until the fourth quarter.
Still, Georgia has too much skill to lose to Mississippi State in 2010. A loss would be a severe black eye for the program and would probably raise serious doubt about the trajectory of Georgia under Mark Richt. State is not even in the same universe as Georgia, and a win is required in 2010. A loss would result in the panic button being pushed repeatedly, but that seems very, very unlikely.
State player to watch:
Vick Ballard transferred into State from the junior college ranks and led the way in State's spring game with 73 yards on 14 carries. He will probably be the focus of State's rushing attack in 2010.
Recruiting Implications: Non-existent. When Georgia starts going head-to-head with State for recruits that's when you know the Dawgs are in trouble. State is one of the lowest consistent recruiting teams in the SEC, and really should never be on the same level as Georgia in recruiting.
Most memorable Georgia win: 1997 – Georgia pounds State 47-0 and in the process announces that the red and black is back as a force in the SEC.
Most painful Georgia loss: 1974 – Georgia loses 38-14 to State in Jackson – the biggest loss to State in school history.
2010's Big question: Can Mullen's take State to the top half of the West?
Legge's must-win game: September 9th at Auburn