Top 50 teams in 2017: No. 32, Mississippi State

Top 50 teams in 2017: No. 32, Mississippi State

Best of ... teams

No. 32: Mississippi St.

Coach: Dan Mullen

2016 Record: 6-7

Projected 2017 record: 8-4

Circle the date: Nov. 11 vs. Alabama

Bowl trip: Belk

Why No. 32: Hard to believe Mullen is entering his ninth season at Starkville. He has the right quarterback to lead his offense. Nick Fitzgerald led the SEC in total yards, running and throwing for almost 3,800. He accounted for 37 touchdowns. Fitzgerald can expect help from Aeris Williams, a talented running back. The line needs to replace three starters. On defense, Mullen hired Todd Grantham to try to fix one of the worst units in the SEC. The strength of the defense is at linebacker. The nonconference schedule will help the Bulldogs bounce back this season, with games against Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech, BYU and UMass. In the SEC, Mississippi State travels to Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M and Arkansas. LSU and Mississippi visit Starkville.

Last year's ranking: No. 41

Previous rankings: No. 50, Western Kentucky; No. 49 Vanderbilt; No. 48 Syracuse; No. 47 Duke; No. 46 Memphis; No. 45 Arizona State; No. 44 Colorado; No. 43 Iowa; No. 42 Georgia Tech; No. 41 Mississippi; No. 40 North Carolina; No. 39 Arkansas; No. 38 South Carolina; No. 37 Baylor; No. 36 Northwestern; No. 35 Texas A&M; No. 34 UCLA; No. 33 North Carolina State

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