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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Mississippi State is like a Mini-Vanderbilt

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The game this weekend, and the yearly matchup with Mississippi State, has always been an intriguing spot on the schedule.  The reason is for the SEC West opponents who get the Bulldogs every year, they almost always consider them to be the worst program in that division.  There are certainly years where Ole Miss is worse, or Arkansas is worse, but overall Mississippi State is the worst team in that division.  UK was lucky in many regards that MSU became our yearly cross-divisional opponent for that reason.

On the East side of the league, Vanderbilt is generally considered the dog of the division, although UK has fallen into that spot in stretches.  But considering UK’s winning record over Vandy since the division split in 1992, I’d like to think that the ‘Dores are the worst team.  So, when it comes to analyzing the football schedule, we almost always say the game that you just can’t lose is Vanderbilt.

Which brings us back to Mississippi State.  If we are in agreement that the Dogs are the worst team in the west, why don’t we consider them as a “must-win” as much as we do Vanderbilt?  I am not saying that traditionally they are as bad as Vanderbilt, but let’s not act like their tradition is Alabama, LSU, or Auburn’s.  They are a mid-tier to bottom-tier football program.  In fact, UK has the 3rd most wins against MSU compared to all other SEC programs since 1992:

Vanderbilt (14): 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 14, 16
South Carolina (10): 92, 93, 95, 98, 99, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
Mississippi State (9): 93, 96, 98, 02, 03, 05, 06, 08, 16
LSU (5): 92, 93, 95, 98, 99, 07
Arkansas (4): 99, 02, 07, 08
Ole Miss (3): 93, 06, 11
Georgia (3): 96, 06, 09
Missouri (3): 15, 16, 17
Alabama (1): 97
Auburn (1): 09
Tennessee (1): 11
Florida: 0 wins since 1992
Texas A&M: have not played since 1992

So here is my question as we look at Saturday’s game: WHY SHOULDN’T WE LOOK AT MISSISSIPPI STATE LIKE WE DO VANDERBILT?  I think if we are to believe that UK is an up and coming SEC contender, a team will a blossoming football program, we should EXPECT to beat Mississippi State.  We should expect to have a winning record over time against them, like we do Vanderbilt.  We should expect that going to freaking Starkville, Mississippi is not some grueling task.

Are we going to begin to build the mentality, as a fanbase, that this program is legit?  If so, and if we are to push away the defeatest attitude of the last 30 years, we have to start thinking Mississippi State is more than just a “winnable” game.  We have to start thinking it is a “must win” game. 

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Article written by Bryan the Intern

18 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Mississippi State is like a Mini-Vanderbilt



  1. foamfinger
    10:28 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    I think we do look at MSU as a must win every year, although recenty, they aren’t bottom-tier since Mullen took them over. Hopefully, he gets hired somewhere else and his replacements takes them back down.



    • JTHinton
      11:04 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

      In 2014 or 2015, they were a two-loss team whose only losses were to Bama and a very good Ole Miss that yr. they’re on the up as of recent but are declining, so there is no excuse for a loss. Two weeks to prepare for them and a lot of momentum against MSU



  2. Willis talkin bout....
    10:58 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    Dude I get the point your making, but how many times in the past, and even the recent past, have we viewed games as “winnable” and expected victory only to have our souls crushed? WKU, Southern Miss, etc… Hell even EKU the past couple seasons have slapped us in the face with reality. You want everyone to start having this mentality, that will come when we don’t have sweat the Hilltoppers of the world! We are good this season! And I’m just enjoying that fact! I will not start to overlook any team on our schedules, much less an SEC team. Any of them..



  3. secrick
    11:27 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    Miss. State is a good Football team. Not sure what your talking about. A win there will be huge.They don’t even compare to Vandy.



    • satcheluk
      2:32 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      This is correct.



  4. nosewhistle
    11:31 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    Kentucky’s all time record: 603-613-44 – 49.6%
    Vandy: 598-610-50 – 49.5%

    Kentucky vs. Vandy: 43-42-4

    Last 10: 5-5

    Yeah, we should always look at Vandy as a sure fire win. Mark it down.



    • CatsfaninFL
      1:06 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      This. This is why we should never *expect* to beat anyone. Especially in the SEC. We are in no position to *expect* to beat anyone. I fully believe that is changing, but one win (a last second FG at home) in the last 9 years does not make me think we should *expect* to win.

      C’mon BTI. Sheesh.



    • Jester
      1:51 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      If you look at our recent record against Vandy (since 2010 and more specifically since Stoops came to town), this year should be a loss. We are beating them in even years and losing in odd years.



  5. az1006
    11:53 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    Using historical data as a basis for comparison might be interesting, but has absolutely no bearing on this season and this game. You said we should look at MSU as a “must-win” simply because they’re historically one of the worst SEC West teams. Well, what I saw in your data was a statistic that tells me we’ve only beaten them once in the last 9 seasons, that being last year on a last-second FG.

    MSU is a good football team. Comparatively speaking, they’re in a similar position as we are this season, but don’t be fooled…This will be a very difficult game, a very difficult environment, and a win would be huge, both for the remainder of this season and the UK program going forward.

    This isn’t a must-win by any stretch, but it is a huge game, and a winnable game…But we shouldn’t “expect” a win anymore than we normally would for an SEC road game…We should expect our team to execute and play well, and hope we’re in a position to win a tough game on the road.



  6. ofallthethings
    11:54 am October 16, 2017 Permalink

    This is one of the dumbest articles on this site in quite some time, they are still a good program, the SEC west has just been stacked for a long time… bottom of a loaded conference doesn’t immediately make you bad. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul.



    • Jester
      1:52 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      It’s BTI. He wrote the book on dumb articles.



    • Jester
      1:53 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      You on the other hand, took it to the next level with the Billy Madison quote. Well done.



  7. SuperTroy18
    12:06 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

    I think most fans expect to beat Vandy every year. MSU is a completely different kind of team. Just like the West is a completely different division compared to the East. You never know what to expect from them and Mullins. Heck, a few years ago, they were ranked no. 1, I think!!
    All that being said, I still think most fans that have watched the games this season expect to win a very close one in Starkville. I actually expect the Cats to win TWO very close road games in Starkville and Nashville, respectively. Vandy is as automatic a Win as they used to be either.



  8. SuperTroy18
    12:07 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

    And let’s remember last season when we led the whole game, only to nearly lose after they came back on us. Johnson and Austin bailed us out in miracle fashion.



  9. pdswar2
    12:12 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

    We can’t shake the defeatist attitude until we beat Florida. Thirty one (31!) years STRAIGHT of defeat conditions that attitude. Losses to other teams you should beat (e.g. So. Miss, WKU) and games that are way closer than they should be (e.g. EKU, EMich, ULL, NM State) only reinforce that attitude. Rich Brooks chipped away at that for me. His last few years we always beat teams we were better than, and without nail-bitters against the EKU/WKU’s of the world. Then came Joker, and defeatism was back in full force. With all that said, our best regular season (8 wins) since 1984 is well within the realm of possibility! Go Cats!



    • Jester
      1:57 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      Whoa take it easy there with facts and rational thinking! You’ll soon have a lickspittle like “UKBigBoardUpdate” whining that you aren’t a true blue fan because you dare to stay grounded in reality! You know the blind fan boys demand that every comment be nothing but praise and adoration for the team, facts be damned!!



    • CatsfaninFL
      3:50 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      I’m not quite sure I’d go as far as you. Sure we beat our noncon foes well (’09 – Miami(oh) by 42, ULM by 23, EKU by 25; ’08 – UL by 25, Norfolk St by 35, WKU by 38; ’07 – EKU by 40, Kent St by 36, and FAU by 28). But there were still clunkers… only beating MTSU by 6 in ’08 (and winning only 2 SEC games by a combined 2 points) and getting handled by Miss St in ’07 at home and only winning 7 despite it being his best season ever (and surrendering almost 35 pts per game in SEC). But we were decidedly an offensive team under RB. Hard to blow the doors off teams when you’re more of a defensive minded team.

      I think I’m in the boat with a lot of posters… if we continue to improve like we did last season we’ll be a force and in line for a great season (as you mentioned). I just think we forget things weren’t all 10 wins and picture perfect under RB. Better than a lot before him and (directly) after him, but we still had our lumps.



    • az1006
      5:52 pm October 16, 2017 Permalink

      2007 was ultimately one of the most disappointing football seasons in my lifetime. The fact we beat top-10 UofL, beat #1 LSU, hosted Gameday, and were ranked in the top 10 ourselves overshadows the back end of that season…We got dominated by a bad Mississippi State team on Homecoming, and our only win in the last 5 games was a closer-than-should-have-been victory over Vanderbilt. We had Tennessee beat and fell in triple-overtime (could have/should have stopped that streak). Beating a suspension-depleted Florida State was a nice consolation prize, but what was an 8-5 year easily could have been 10-3, or 11-2.

      I just hope the same doesn’t happen this year, and I think that’s where a lot of people’s hesitation comes from…We’ve been here before. It’s nothing other than self-preservation.