Mississippi State football finished out the 2020 football season with a combined record of 4-7, with three wins in the regular season while playing a conference-only schedule and one victory in the Armed Forces Bowl.
This year, the Bulldogs have a full offseason intact in their second year under head coach Mike Leach. That helps a lot, considering the team had to learn a new system of both sides of the ball over Zoom in last year's COVID offseason.
ESPN's Football Power Index sees that playing massive dividends, with a turnaround in store for State.
Here's a look at the game-by-game predictions from that, which have the Bulldogs starting the year off at 4-0 and finishing out the season with an 8-4 overall record:
- Sept. 4 vs. Louisiana Tech (92.6 percent chance to win)
- Sept. 11 vs. NC State (66.4 percent chance to win)
- Sept. 18 at Memphis (57.1 percent chance to win)
- Sept. 25 vs. LSU (50.9 percent chance to win)
- Oct. 2 at Texas A&M (17.0 percent chance to win)
- Oct. 16 vs. Alabama (14. 5 percent chance to win)
- Oct. 23 at Vanderbilt (85.8 percent chance to win)
- Oct. 30 vs. Kentucky (63.0 percent chance to win)
- Nov. 6 at Arkansas (44.1 percent chance to win)
- Nov. 13 at Auburn (31.6 percent chance to win)
- Nov. 20 vs. Tennessee State (99.5 percent chance to win)
- Nov. 25 vs. Ole Miss (53.7 percent chance to win)
MSU opened the 2020 season in a big way, with graduate transfer quarterback KJ Costello passing for 623 yards en route to a 44-34 upset win over the LSU Tigers.
The Bulldogs seemed to lose some momentum after that, but did finish the season out with two consecutive wins. Expect them to keep a good thing going as they open the season in less than a month against LA Tech in Davis Wade Stadium.