It’s the regular season finale for the visiting Tigers coming into the Auburn at Mississippi State pick in Starksville on Saturday night (7:30 PM ET, SEC Network). 5-4 Auburn is looking to clinch a winning record, and is still a very respectable team as their two consecutive losses have come against #1 Alabama and #5 Texas A&M.
2-6 Mississippi State is coming around a bit, losing by a TD at Georgia as +26.5 underdogs and falling 24-31 in a rivalry game at Ole Miss last week as +9.5 underdogs. MSU’s lone win since a season opening victory over LSU is still 24-17 in week 10 against 0-8 Vanderbilt. It looks like hammer time on Auburn, even though the line has shifted from AUB -13.5 down to -6.5.
Auburn Still a Quality Team
Auburn fans expect the best from their team year in and year out, but it’s hard to fault the Tigers for their 5-4 record this season when three of the losses came against top 10 teams in Alabama, Texas A&M, and Georgia. AU also had a slip-up in a 30-22 loss at South Carolina in week 7, but have largely taken care of business against teams they should beat.
Mississippi State would definitely qualify as a team Auburn should beat, as they did 56-7 in last year’s meeting as -7.5 favorites at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers come in having lost back-to-back games, and there offense has gone into hiding being held to under 20 points against both Alabama and Texas A&M. MSU has the 4th best run defense in the SEC, putting a lot more pressure on Bo Nix in the Auburn at Mississippi State pick.
Nix has thrown just one TD in the last three games, forcing a mediocre offense to be even more one-dimensional against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs held Georgia to just 8 rush yards on 23 carries in their 31-24 loss in week 12.
Mississippi State Ready for the Upset?
Only 54% of the public like Auburn on the road giving -6.5 on Saturday night, which is a testament to Mississippi State showing improvement recently. Well, the defense still has some concerns but Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense is cutting its teeth a bit since moving from K.J. Costello to Will Rogers at QB.
Rogers is just a freshman, so growing pains are expected but he has still thrown for 440 and 336 yards the last two weeks. Most importantly, Rogers hasn’t thrown an INT for the last three games – something which Costello was prone to do with 10 INT the first four outings of the season.
About that MSU defense however. Despite losing by just one score to both Georgia and Ole Miss the last two weeks, the games probably shouldn’t have been that close. JT Daniels was 28/38 for 401 yards and 4 TD for UGA while Matt Corral threw for 385 with 2 TDs last time out for the Rebels. Mississippi State did have last week off, so maybe their defense will show improvement here.
Free Auburn at Mississippi State Pick
This is a tough game to handicap the side, because it’s the regular season finale for Auburn but they’ve also failed two major tests in a row. You see it in Bowl games sometime, when a team misses out on a major game and lays an egg to an inferior team in something like the CarQuest Bowl. That should still mean a lot of points though.
Auburn 31 – Mississippi State 28
Free Pick: Over 51