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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Memphis Tigers Game Preview

2011 NCAAF Gambling: Bulldogs vs Tigers Handicapping Preview

One of the first games of the 2011 regular season is a clash of one team (Memphis) that has nowhere to go but up after an awful 2010 showing in Conference USA, with another (Mississippi State) having already begun its ascent in the SEC.

Mississippi State Bulldogs at Memphis Tigers
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis TN
Thursday, Sept. 1, 8:05 EST
NCAA Odds from Sportsbook.com:
MoneyLine: OFF
Spread: Miss. St. -27.5/Memphis +27.5
Over/Under: 50

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The Bulldogs have shown they can play with the big boys in college football’s best conference, while the Tigers were by far the worst team in a fairly uninspiring Conf-USA.

Indeed, last year the Tigers limped to a paltry 1-11 record – setting a school record for losses. In many senses, this has the pre-conditions for a blowout.

To be fair, Memphis’s offense should be better under the guidance of JUCO record-setting passer Andy Summerlin, who has been tabbed as the new starting QB. He has a decent target in junior Marcus Rucker and a couple offensive lineman transfers should be able to perform. Also, sophomore RB Jerrell Rhodes has the chance to be special if they can feed him the rock 20+ times per game.

On “D”, the Tigers have the benefit of monster DT (6’5, 350 lbs) Dontari Poe. Junior linebacker DeRon Furr is an Auburn transfer; he has size and athleticism and should have tremendous range around the field.

Yet MSU will test Poe and Co., as the Bulldogs have a very effective running game that gets production not only out of QB Chris Relf but all three RBs in a deep stable (Vick Ballard, LaDarius Perkins and Robert Elliott). [soliloquy id=”82219″]

If that weren’t enough, MSU also fields a very experienced D-line, has one of the best and most veteran secondaries in the SEC and brings in senior MLB Brandon Maye from Clemson.

It is hard to see this opening match-up as anything but a tune-up for Mississippi State. Memphis features a much better team than 2010, but it is easy to make progress when you start from the bottom of the barrel.

Tigers head coach Larry Porter is an intense competitor and he should squeeze every drop he can get out of this limited squad, but Mississippi State proved itself playing some of the nation’s elite teams last year – and registering nine wins.

Even if MSU doesn’t match that impressive showing of a year ago, it almost certainly has too much talent and depth for the Tigers to keep up.

Despite the strength of the Memphis defense being the defensive line, the Tigers have an awful defense in general and the Bulldogs’ systematic barrage of runs will overwhelm a beleaguered unit.

Expect Memphis to perhaps put up a couple scores, but Mississippi State’s margin of victory should be considerable.


Under is 11-5 in MISST last 16 vs. CUSA.
MEM are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

Score Prediction: Miss. St. 45, Memphis 17
Over/Under Prediction: 61.5

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