Mississippi State

Who left the Dawgs out? Some AP voters leave Mississippi State outside Top 25 poll

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen gestures toward the officials after a favorable calling against LSU during the first half of their NCAA college football game against in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen gestures toward the officials after a favorable calling against LSU during the first half of their NCAA college football game against in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. AP

Perhaps this will be a weekly column.

Or, maybe, common sense will kick in and this will just be a one-off blog.

After Mississippi State absolutely crushed then-No. 12 LSU 37-7, the Bulldogs surged up the rankings in the latest Associated Press college football poll from unranked to No. 17.

According to Collegepolltracker.com, which breaks down the AP’s 61 ballots each week, 58 voters had MSU in the Top 25. The Bulldogs’ rankings ranged from No. 7 — courtesy of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Dave Reardon — to No. 24.

With those kind of results, there was an obvious question: Who left the Dawgs out?

Who? Who? Who? Who?

Steve Batterson of the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa, left off the Dawgs. He posted a column explaining his ballot — mostly pointing out that he sank LSU’s ranking, but without coinciding love for MSU. His newcomers in this week’s ballot were Vanderbilt, which defeated Kansas State, and San Diego State, which beat Stanford.

Jonny Miller of WBZ NewsRadio 1030 in Boston is another voter who had the Bulldogs caged outside the Top 25. Miller was one of the few voters who ranked Duke (at No. 20) and Wake Forest (No. 24) — but no Bulldogs.

The final member of the ‘Who left the Dawgs out’ trio is Terry Hutchens of CNHI Sports Indiana, who was one of the few voters who kept Tennessee and Kansas State in the Top 25.

Voting is a difficult gig. I get it. I previously voted in the AP’s women’s college basketball poll and still vote for the Mississippi prep poll. It’s often difficult to look at one ranking in a vacuum as there are plenty moving parts from week to week. That said, Batterson, Miller and Hutchens respectively each had LSU ranked 11, 11 and 12 heading into Saturday’s game and had pretty clear holes to fill at the bottom of their ballots.

It’s understandable how MSU may have previously been off the national radar. After finishing 6-7 a year ago, the Bulldogs weren’t receiving a lot of preseason hype. And while Charleston Southern isn’t exactly a “name,” how the Bulldogs demolished the Buccaneers should have opened some eyes. The Bulldogs followed up their opening rout with a lopsided win against a strong Louisiana Tech program on the road. Again, not exactly Southern Cal, but a strong win. And then Saturday happened.

The good news for Mississippi State is it will certainly be in the national spotlight the next two weeks with road games at No. 11 Georgia and No. 15 Auburn.

If the Bulldogs knock off the other Bulldogs and Tigers in successive weeks, perhaps the aforementioned trio will see fit to rank Mississippi State.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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