7. The Program. While the critics have always held low expectations for the Dawgs, this year the SEC preseason poll seems to have even less faith in the team. Projected 12th, State gets to once again prove the doubters wrong. Hooray for low expectations! But, they also have to right the ship and move forward. State ended last season with a 1-5 record, including a dismal bowl game. Then the summer brought NCAA sanctions. This will be the year we see how Coach Mullen responds to significant adversity.
6. Top Dawgs. Look out for Senior QB Tyler Russell who is gunning for more passing records. Senior RB LaDarius Perkins to gain those all-purpose yards (2nd in SEC last season). Senior LG Gabe Jackson to win some O-Line awards. And Senior FS Nickoe Whitley to grab those Sportscenter highlights with bruising tackles.
5. Newbies. Who will rise? It's basically pointless to predict which young athletes will make key plays this fall (Chris Jones? Justin Cox? Fred Ross?). It's much more fun for them to come out of nowhere and get campus recognition overnight.
4. The Bowl Hunt. Let's top the Gator Bowl already.
3. Ole Miss. Looks like it's time for an ego check. Usually people win more before they get this cocky. But I guess, pride cometh before the fall. And during. And after...
2. Team Personality. Who will win us games this season? The high-flying spread offense? The talented, but young defense? Kicking? Hahahhahah. I kid, I kid.
1. Matchups. Currently, the Bulldogs have five top-15 teams on the schedule, starting with #13 Oklahoma State on ABC. And later a 3-game span with #6 S. Carolina, #7 Texas A&M, and wrapping up with top-ranked Bama. Can. Not. Wait.