Tennessee vs Mississippi State: Latest Spread Info, BCS Impact and Predictions

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

One of the nation's best offenses takes on one of the best defenses as Tennessee travels down south to battle Mississippi State.

Tennessee has stumbled in its two SEC games this season, losing at home to Florida and on the road against Georgia.

Meanwhile, Mississippi State boasts a perfect 5-0 record to start the year. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the schedule gets much tougher as the weather gets colder.

Neither team can afford a loss in this tough matchup between teams in the best conference in the country.


Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starksville, Miss.

When: October 13 at 9 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN2

Live Stream: Watch ESPN


Spread Info: Mississippi State (-3) via Vegas Insider

The Volunteers only lost by seven points on the road against then-No. 5 Georgia. Since then, they have had two weeks to fix the problems and come out with a strong attack against Mississippi State.

Even though the Bulldogs are undefeated coming into the game, there is a solid opportunity for Tennessee to pull off the upset.


Over/Under: 57 via Vegas Insider 

This high line is completely based on Tennessee. The team has an outstanding offense, but to this point, it has not been able to defend even mediocre offenses. 

The Volunteers were able to score 20 points against Florida, which has a better defense than Mississippi State. If they are able to score at least 30 on the Bulldogs, it would be plenty for the line to go over. 


BCS Implications

With two losses and games against Alabama and South Carolina coming up, there is very little chance Tennessee can enter the BCS picture. However, Mississippi State is well on its way to one of the high-profile bowl games.

The Bulldogs have taken care of business and won every game on the schedule. While it has not always looked pretty, the team has consistently left with the win.

It will be tough to win road games at LSU and Alabama. Still, if this club can continue its great defensive play, it has the chance to enter the BCS hunt with only one or two losses.


Key to Tennessee Win: Avoid Turnovers

Few teams in college football can pick up yards like Tennessee. Unfortunately, the team has been undone by turnovers in its two losses.

In the last game against Georgia, the team had four turnovers, three of which were Tyler Bray's interceptions. What made matters worse is the fact that three turnovers took place in the fourth quarter of a close game.

The quarterback also threw two interceptions in the loss to Florida earlier in the year, so this was not a one-time problem.

While not all mistakes were his fault, Bray needs to make better decisions and take care of the football when the game is on the line.


Key to Mississippi State Win: Defend the Pass

The Bulldogs have been solid against the pass for the most part this season, but Tennessee comes in with the No. 10 air attack in the nation.

In Mississippi State's closest game of the season, Troy was able to stay within a touchdown thanks to a great game by Corey Robinson. The quarterback threw for 343 yards and gave his team a chance to win.

The one thing that rescues the Bulldogs, however, is the unit's ability to force turnovers. Seniors Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks have combined for seven interceptions this season and are a big reason the defense is only allowing 13.4 points per game.

If the secondary can stay focused and possibly get a few takeaways, the Bulldogs will remain undefeated. 


Prediction: Tennessee 30, Mississippi State 31

This should be a very close game throughout. However, Tennessee has not proven it has what it takes to win a close battle against a good team. Mississippi State should remain undefeated, but only by the narrowest of margins.


For more college football analysis, follow me on Twitter. 


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