Interesting tidbit from Paul Myerberg's fabulous Pre-Snap Read. Mississippi State has won 34 consecutive games when leading after three quarters, but has lost 23 in a row when trailing after three quarters. The Bulldogs are coming off a 7-6 season, Dan Mullen's third in Starkville. Playing in the rugged SEC West doesn't help. The team was only 2-6 in league play. So how does it stack up for 2012? The early schedule is favorable and there are seven winnable home games, but trips to Alabama and Louisiana State could be a bit much. Expect improvement, but in small steps.
Dan Mullen has pumped life into the Mississippi State program, which stormed to a 9-4 record in his second season as coach. Can the Bulldogs take the next step and win the SEC West? A favorable schedule that includes home games against Louisiana State and Alabama will help.
The Wiz of Odds is conducting a comprehensive study of bowl game expense reports. All of the data collected — expense reports for 56 teams and bowl surveys for 40 teams — are being posted on the site. Here is the latest installment. For an overview of the project, click here.
The Gator Bowl, played in Jacksonville, Fla., is operated by the nonprofit Gator Bowl Association. The first game was played in 1946.
2011 participants: Michigan and Mississippi State.
Michigan expenses: There wasn't much enthusiasm for what turned out to be Rich Rodriguez's last game as Wolverine coach. The school reported 7,265 in absorbed tickets at a cost of $510,145. Download Michigan Expenses
Survey: Athletic director David Brandon gave a "neutral" rating to the number of tickets his school had to buy and the cost of tickets. Download Michigan Survey
Under areas of improvement, he wrote: "If possible, creating more opportunities downtown for the players. I recognize that is a city issue."
Mississippi State expenses: The school reportedly absorbed 3,766 tickets at a cost of $236,540. Other expenses of $46,813 included parking at hotel. Download Mississippi State Expenses
Survey: Athletic director Scott Stricklin gave the bowl high marks across the board. His only mild critiques were the proximity of the practice field and stadium to the hotel and cost of rooms. He gave both categories a "satisfied" rating. Download Mississippi State Survey