gtpdd’s Mississippi State Preview

Tomorrow night at 6:30 Central, the Bulldogs head to Starkville to face…the Bulldogs. But before you watch the game, you need to know a few things. That’s where we come in!

How to Watch

The game this week is on SEC Network, which is available through most cable providers and through a lot of streaming services. Let’s talk about streaming options. We’re quickly running out of free trial options for games this season, aren’t we? Luckily, SECN is available on SlingTV’s Orange package, YouTube TV, PS Vue, and Hulu Live TV. Of those, I think you can do free trials of everything except Sling (You can do a free trial of Sling, but SECN is only available in a sports add-on package. I’m not sure if you can do add-ons in the trail phase). Last week I recommended PS Vue, so this week, you’ll need to sign up for either YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV. Both are $40/month if you don’t cancel. Personally, I think I’m going to do the free trial of YouTube this week.

Other People’s Predictions

  • ESPN FPI: Mississippi State has a 92.7% chance to win.
  • Massey: MSU wins, 35-10
  • Vegas (OddsShark): MSU wins by 23.5
  • S&P+: MSU wins, 34-17
  • BleedTechBlue: MSU wins, 23-7
  • NCAA 14 Simulation: MSU wins, 20-17

Previous Records

Tech is coming in hot after three straight victories to earn bowl eligibility. The Good Dogs are 6 and 2. Mississippi State is ranked #18 in the nation and is 5 and 3 on the year, with losses coming to pretty good teams, I guess.

What to Watch For

Nathan: Nick Fitzgerald. The senior QB is probably the one player you recognize the name of on this Mississippi State roster, and for good reason. #7 has passed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for almost three-quarters of that. Even in the age of dual-threat quarterbacks, that’s very impressive.

One can make quite a few comparisons between Fitzgerald and J’Mar. But to pick one: both are subject to very good games and very bad games.

We already know about J’Mar’s inconsistency, so I’ll focus on Fitzgerald.

On the year, the senior has thrown more interceptions than TDs, mostly due to his 4-INT “performance” against LSU, but in three of State’s seven games so far, Fitzgerald threw a pick while failing yo throw a touchdown.

After that emotional beatdown at LSU, there were calls for Fitzgerald to be benched (sound familiar), but the QB turned it around last week against Texas A&M and hopes to keep that momentum going into this week.

So who knows? Will be get Fitz-magic Jr? Or Fitz-tragic Jr?

Random Factoid

Evan: Each week, I try to bring you something that’s sort of interesting about the school we’re playing. I’ve covered everything from Bear Bryant’s record in South Alabama’s stadium to UAB students racing gurneys up a hill. This week’s is truly… well, I don’t really know how to explain it.

If I told you there was a Presidential Library at Mississippi State University, which President would you think it was for?

Well, there haven’t been any U.S. Presidents born and raised in Mississippi, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a guess. Maybe you’d go out on a limb and guess Jefferson Davis, the first (and only) President of the Confederate States of America. He called Mississippi home for most of his life; it seems like something within the realm of possibility, right?

Not only is that not correct (Davis’s “Presidential Library” is at Beauvoir, near Biloxi, MS [shameless plug, I wrote my master’s thesis in history on this topic]), it’s sort of the opposite of correct.

You see, since 2008, Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library has been the home to Ulysses S. Grant’s Presidential Papers (correspondence, official documents, personal items, etc). In 2012, those Papers were reclassified as the official Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library.

For those of you who aren’t well-versed in U.S. Civil War history, that’s the guy who led the Union Army through Mississippi; capturing Vicksburg and Jackson along the way. Oh, and he also ended up as the U.S.’s 18th President.

So how the hell did a the Presidential Papers, and now Presidential Library, of Ulysses Grant end up in Starkville, MS?

That’s sort of a long story that ended up being much more scandalous than I was anticipating. In 1964, the relatively new U.S. Grant Association (USGA) moved the Grant Papers from Ohio State University to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. They made this move because John Simon, the executive director of the USGA was a history professor at SIU. Over the next 44 years, Simon worked to collect more of Grant’s Papers, published 30 volumes of Grant’s correspondence, and also sexually harassed women that worked with the USGA and SIU.

Wait, I should say that he allegedly did that last one.

In January 2008, SIU fired Simon after numerous sexual harassment claims came out about him. In retaliation for the move, the USGA decided to sever ties with the university immediately, believing that Simon had been treated unfairly (Simon was still in charge of the USGA at this point…). Simon sued the university, but died before anything appears to have been settled. The USGA made it known to the world that they were searching for a new home for the Grant Papers, and they also elected a new executive director: John Marszalek. Marszalek just so happened to be a professor emeritus at Mississippi State University.

SIU didn’t much like the idea of losing such an amazing historical resource, so they sued the USGA for control of the Papers, which they deemed “priceless.” They hoped to establish that the Papers’ long housing at the University would be enough to convince a judge that they had a right to ownership. Surely the courts would agree that SIU was being screwed over for simply doing the right thing?

Narrator voice: They didn’t.

And so they moved to Mississippi State, an admittedly odd destination for the Presidential Library of a man reviled in the South for so long.

The pairing has been fruitful so far, with the Papers being reclassified to Presidential Library status in 2012, and a beautiful new $10 million, 21,000 sq ft facility being opened in 2017. The Papers are now under the watchful eyes of the USGA, MSU’s library system, and the National Archives, which is a good development. They’ve also been digitizing collections at an impressive rate, which you can check out here.

Hot Taeks

Evan: Amik will have two picks against Fitzgerald, who’ll have to learn to love the taste of dirt, as Ferg puts him on the ground all night and gets two sacks.

Josh: Mississippi State completely overlooks us due to last year’s game and plays us uncomfortably close.

Nathan: We will not have an 86 yard fumble in this game.

Daniel A: Fire whoever decided to wear red pants against a team wearing maroon

Final Predictions

Evan: I can come up with a way for Tech to win this game. The path to victory has two main roadblocks: Can Tech’s defense make a Not Great quarterback look Not Great for 60 minutes, and can Tech’s Not Great offense look Moderately Decent for any significant portion of the game. Look, if Tech plays like they did in the 2nd and 3rd quarters against LSU for most of the game tomorrow, they can win! But I’ve said that before, and Tech’s offense hasn’t been consistently great in more than a month. I just can’t see it happening tomorrow.

Mississippi State wins, 34-18

Josh: I like college football a lot (as much as it makes me sad/angry). I like Tech football a lot (as much as they make me sad/angry). Tech football surprisingly made me happy last weekend by beating FAU. That leads me to the conclusion that college football and Tech football will make me sad/angry this weekend. For some reason, Tech’s offense hasn’t been the same since the month of October started. I’m convinced that we’re in some goofy timeline, because Tech’s defense has been the unit to win games in spite of the offense (among other weird things this year). Maybe November brings a better offense to the table, but I’m skeptical. Oh, and special teams is still a mystery to me. I have no idea if it’s good or bad. All in all, we’re at the ninth game of the season, and I still have no idea what kind of team this is. I also haven’t really talked about Mississippi State at all, but from what I’ve seen, I’m not sure if they’re a good or bad team either. Still, their O-line has been very good from what I’ve read and as much as I praise Ferguson, he’s only one man on that line. Mississippi State will have control of the ground game and as much as we can limit Fitzgerald through the air, if they pick up big yards on the ground, it’ll be a long game for the red and blue.

Mississippi State, 31-14

Nathan: I don’t see a way for Tech to win this. Mississippi State’s strength is their defense, and with a struggling Tech offense, I’m more worried about getting shutout than anything.

It doesn’t look better on the other side of the ball either. Most of Tech’s defensive prowess comes from Ferguson and the pass rush, but the offensive line of State is one of the best we’ll see.

But who knows which Fitzgerald will show up and which J’Mar will show up? That will be the difference between a 28 point loss and a 3 point win.

Mississippi State wins, 28-13

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