Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin sat down with the NEMS Daily Journal to explain why the Bulldog's football schedule has not included a BCS opponent in over 3 years recently.
According to Stricklin, their scheduling philosophy is aimed towards making sure they have 7 home games scheduled and are bowl eligible at the end of the year. Dan Mullen added that he likes scheduling close non conference opponents to make travel easier on their fan base. Last years road games included games at Memphis and UAB, along with a neutral site game in Nashville against Wake Forest.
Unless strength of schedule is eventually weighed heavily into playoff selection or bowl berths, Stricklin says that he is happy with the way that they currently do things. According to the NCAA, Mississippi State had the 25th toughest schedule last season, with their opponents racking up a combined record of 74-57 (LSU had the toughest schedule in the country with an opponent record of 94-45).
“We’ve had 16 straight sellouts and we have a waiting list for tickets, so whatever we’re doing right now seems to be working from a fan perspective, and we’ve been to two straight bowl games, so it’s working from trying to produce a consistent winner perspective.”
Taking a look at this seasons schedule, no one can say it's a cake walk, with road games at Alabama and LSU and then hosting Arkansas before the Egg Bowl in Oxford to wrap up the regular season. And with non conference games at home against Jackson State, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee State (and a road game at Troy) for 2012, Stricklin reminded everyone of their opponent on a daily basis in practice.