Mississippi State football schedule 2013: Opponents, game dates and more

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

It isn't easy playing in the SEC West, and the Bulldogs' schedule is proof.

Dan Mullen is entering his fifth year at Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs are still trying to have a truly breakthrough season. State opened 2012 7-0, but four losses in the final five regular-season games and a bowl defeat at the hands of Northwestern left the taste of disappointment in fans' mouths. Looking at the 2013 slate, it won't be easy for the Bulldogs to top that 8-5 mark.

2013 Mississippi State schedule

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

8/31/2013 Oklahoma State (Houston) B12 5

9/7/2013 Alcorn State FCS

9/14/2013 at Auburn SEC 58

9/21/2013 Troy SBC 95

9/28/2013 Open date

10/5/2013 LSU SEC 4

10/12/2013 Bowling Green MAC 66

10/19/2013 Open date

10/24/2013 Kentucky SEC 86

11/2/2013 at South Carolina SEC 15

11/9/2013 at Texas A&M SEC 16

11/16/2013 Alabama SEC 1

11/23/2013 at Arkansas SEC 43

11/28/2013 Ole Miss SEC 27

12/7/2013 SEC Championship (Atlanta)

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.

While a neutral-site game against Oklahoma State to open the season could provide MSU with a big win and some major momentum, it also could cause the Bulldogs to start in an 0-1 hole. The game at Auburn to open SEC play might not seem like a big deal, since the Tigers are coming off a 3-9 season, but new head coach Gus Malzahn should have his team improved, and winning at Jordan-Hare Stadium may prove to be difficult.

After the first three weeks of the season, the Bulldogs will have a chance to pick up some wins in the middle portion of the schedule. The Oct. 5 game against LSU is a likely loss, but games against Troy, Bowling Green and Kentucky should be chalked up as wins if State takes care of business. However, the final five-game stretch could lead to another late-season swoon.

In the final month, the Bulldogs face South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss, with the games against the Gamecocks, Aggies and Razorbacks on the road. Oh, and there are no open dates in there to provide a break. If Mullen's team isn't careful, it could have another 1-4 finish, or even worse, five consecutive losses to end the year.

Considering the fanbase in Starkville may be getting restless, Mullen needs to find a way for his team to rise up and win some games in November.

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