Introducing The New 2017 BATTLEBELL

Will he win the Eli Manning Award?

You have the season opener and the home opener, but really all that matters is the SEC opener. 

The Dawgs travel to Auburn and face the Tigers in their sixth consecutive conference debut, with MSU taking last year's, 28-10.

But this season is a little different. At least for Auburn. Gus Malzahn is back and in charge. Malzahn, the offensive guru that helped lead the Tigers to their national championship, has employed the rushing attack (14th in the nation) effectively so far (2-0). In fact, 5 of their 7 TD's have been on the run. They like to spread it out and spread the wealth among three junior RB's. And even junior QB Nick Marshall gets plenty of carries.

Side note: Expect QB Marshall to win the Eli Manning Award for dumbest looks to the sideline, always with glazed eyes and mouth agape.

On the MSU side, the offense is more of a mystery. Seniors Tyler Russell and LaDarius Perkins will return from resting during the Alcorn State victory that saw State explode on offense. Although that was expected, two impressive performances by QB Dak Prescott and RB Ashton Shumpert have to make Mullen  question how to divide up the opportunities. 

But MSU should find comfort in its defense. Although still early, they're 27th in the nation for points allowed, 4th in SEC.

Another opener, another pivotal game.

At Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium. 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

It's gonna be a battle.