- Mississippi State now has +1000 odds to win the SEC Championship after upsetting LSU on Saturday
- The Bulldogs have the conference’s fourth-best odds after the first weekend of play, they were as long as +12000 last week
- Read below for analysis on Mike Leach’s debut whether the Bulldogs are legit contenders
The SEC’s opening weekend brought plenty of headlines, none bigger than Mike Leach and Mississippi State going to Baton Rouge and taking down the defending national champion LSU Tigers.
It was a record-breaking day for the Bulldogs, and it has them shooting up in the SEC Championship odds.
After being available as long as +12000 last week, the win at Tiger Stadium has vaulted KJ Costello and the Bulldogs to +1000 contenders for the SEC title.
2020 SEC Championship Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-143|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+1000|
|Texas A&M Aggies||+1800|
|Ole Miss Rebels||+15000|
|South Carolina Gamecocks||+15000|
Odds taken Sep. 28th from DraftKings
Bulldogs Light it Up
It was a historic day for KJ Costello behind the wheel of Mike Leach’s air raid offense. After so much offseason speculation about how the scheme would work in the nation’s premier conference, the day could not have gone better for Mississippi State.
The Stanford transfer completed 36 of 60 attempts on Saturday for a staggering 623 yards and five touchdowns. Kylin Hill and Osirus Mitchell each had over 150 receiving yards, and JaVonta Payton had 122 to make it three Bulldogs to eclipse the century-mark.
How Valuable Was the Win?
This was a tremendous win for Leach in his Mississippi State debut, but the hype train may be moving a little too quickly this early. They defeated a talented team on Saturday, but LSU isn’t quite as good as its “defending national champions” moniker may suggest.
New Tigers starting QB Myles Brennan went just 27 of 46 passing and threw two interceptions to three touchdowns. As LSU quarterbacks go, it was more of a Danny Etling performance and less of a Joe Burrow one.
With that lack of an elite passing threat, things suffered on the ground as well. The Tigers posted just 2.1 yards per carry on Saturday.
As far as Bulldogs futures go, this game should be viewed as a solid SEC victory, not a win against an elite championship contender. LSU is no pushover, but it’s important to keep in perspective just how different they are in 2020.
Can the Bulldogs Keep This Up?
The opening part of the 2020 schedule was almost designed to inflate the Mississippi State hype. After the most beatable defending champ since 2011 Auburn in Week 1, the Bulldogs will keep rolling in games against Arkansas and Kentucky. The Wildcats will provide a test, but on Saturday against Auburn they put a very limited offense on display.
There’s an extremely good chance that Mike Leach will get this team to 3-0. It’s from that point on where the real obstacles show up.
To finish October, it’ll be back-to-back ranked opponents in Alabama and Texas A&M. Two games later begins an even tougher stretch, with Mississippi State hosting Auburn and traveling to Athens for a date with Georgia.
Of course, after that brutal chunk of the schedule with four ranked opponents in five games, there’s only one way to follow it up. The week after Georgia, Mississippi State will go to Oxford for the Egg Bowl matchup with Ole Miss. This has been the most vitriolic rivalry in college football in recent years, and playing it without the typical SEC vs. FCS buffer is going to be a tall task.
Mike Leach has already over performed in year one after that Week 1 victory. The expectation was that this Bulldog team would sit in the cellar of the SEC, and they look like a respectable team that will be a tricky matchup for every team in the conference. They are not, however, the kind of elite team that will win the SEC.