So far, so good for Gus Malzahn, who has Auburn one victory away from equaling its 2012 win total. The Tigers can get their third win by beating Mississippi State to open SEC play on Saturday night, though that figures to be a more difficult task than those presented by their first two opponents.
Mississippi State failed its season-opening test against Oklahoma State and struggled to generate much offense in the process. The Bulldogs predictably steamrolled Alcorn State the week after, but that didn't answer any questions about how good they'll be against the SEC ... or even the rest of the FBS.
Saturday would be a fine time to sort out a few of things.
Rankings and records: Auburn holds a 57-26-3 edge in this series, which dates back more than a century. The Tigers are 2-0 in the early going, and Mississippi State is 1-1, but this is the first SEC game for both unranked teams.
Vegas: Auburn opened as a six-point favorite, while the over/under opened at 53 and has come down to 51.
Weather: The high in Auburn is expected to hit about 83, and there is a slight chance of rain.
Three names to know
Nick Marshall -- Marshall's passing statistics are modest thus far. For a guy with just two starts under his belt, though, perhaps the most important thing is that he hasn't made a lot of mistakes. He has yet to throw an interception and gives Auburn a solid running threat from the quarterback position.
Tyler Russell/Dak Prescott -- The Bulldogs already have been hit with some significant injuries, including the concussion Russell suffered in the season opener. He sat out the Alcorn State game and is expected to be back on the field Saturday, but if not, the starting quarterback job falls to the inexperienced Prescott.
Tre Mason -- Through two games, Auburn is averaging nearly 300 yards on the ground, so the rushing attack is thriving early in Malzahn's system. Mason is one of three running backs with more than 150 yards rushing.
Two things at stake
For Auburn, a win here makes getting to bowl eligibility look quite a bit more feasible. The Tigers probably can chalk up wins over Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic, and then it'll just be a matter of finding one more victory elsewhere. Despite the difficult nature of the SEC West and a crossover game against Georgia, that's doable.
A win here might send Mississippi State on its way to a 5-2 start. That would be big because the Bulldogs' schedule is backloaded. Their predicament is not all that different from Auburn's in that they'll need to capture whatever winnable games they can to get back into the postseason.
How to witness
TV: ESPN2 (7 p.m. ET)
Online streaming: ESPN3
For more on Auburn, check out College and Magnolia.
Fore the Mississippi State perspective, head over to For Whom The Cowbell Tolls.