Continuing in the "Hard to Write about Football in July" theme, let's try our hand at questions. Today's question is
Who has the most favorable schedule in 2008? Mississippi State or Ole Miss?
Say what you want about Croominator 2.0 (I say he's the walrus
), but he appears to have brought the Bulldogs out of the Munchkinland, if not all the way to the Emerald City. And there is little reason to think that State will be demonstrably worse than the Red and Blue in 2008. So, picking which team will boast the best record on November 28 might be a function of which team has the most favorable schedule. If you'd like to do your own coloring before I break out my crayons, check out the schedules for the Dogs here
and the Rebs here
Okay, now that we're all up to speed, here are my thoughts (you can leave yours in the comments below, but be mindful not to mention Ouston-Hay Utt-Nay, lest you be bombarded by hog sh*t).
As far as their non-conference shedules go, Ole Miss has three patsies (Memphis, Samford, and UL-Monroe) to Mississippi State's three patsies (at Louisiana Tech, Southeastern Louisiana, and Middle Tennessee State). Louisiana Tech, though, could be considerably better than Memphis, and the game is in Ruston. Mississippi State should still win, but those factors are enough to give 'Titti Tate
the Patsy Edge.
Both have one real-live non-conference game in Wake Forest for the Rebels and Georgia Tech for the Bulldogs. The Magnolia teams both travel, and I'm not sure either matches up with their opponent very well. However, Georgia Tech's personnel don't really suit Paul Johnson's 16th-century style of play, and Jim Grobe actually feels kinda confident about his team. Edge: da Rebbahs
Next, let's examine their home conference schedules. Mississippi State has three winnable home conference games in Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Arkansas, and they should be favored against the cellar-dweller twins. Ole Miss, similarly, has three winnable home conference games against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Mississippi State. Auburn visits Starkville and Oxford this season, resulting in poorly-selling t-shirts in East Alabama proclaiming themselves to be "Mississippi State Champs!" In this category, the two teams really wash
Finally, the teams must play away games. Ole Miss travels to Gainesville, Tuscaloosa, Fayetteville, and Baton Rouge, while the Fightin' Crooms shoot up Baton Rouge, Knoxville, Tuscaloosa, and Oxford. This is where Mississippi State has a demonstrably easier schedule. The twin trips to Tiger town might wash, but few things sound less pleasing than playing Tebow in the Swamp. It might not be easy winning on Rocky Top, but it's easier than beating the Gators in Gainesville. Meanwhile, history plays against the Rebels in Tuscaloosa. State has beaten Alabama a total of 17 times, 9 in Tuscaloosa (including 2 in a row). Meanwhile, the Rebels still sport a meager 9 wins against the Tide all-time, with (I think) 2 big wins in Tuscaloosa. Again, a slight edge for State. Finally, State's visit to Oxford will be much less stressful than when the Rebels and (he who shant be mentioned) have to go to Fayetteville. Edge: Ole Miss
So, because it's easier to find wins in conference road games, I hereby declare Mississippi State to be the 2008 Soft Schedule Runners-Up
(I'm lookin' at you Southern Miss)!