October 8, 2007

Bulldogs inch closer to bowl berth

Only two wins separate Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2 SEC) from the program's first bowl-berth since the 2000 season, and with a date with No. 25 Tennessee looming on Saturday, not many would believe the Bulldogs capable of taking a step closer to the post-season this weekend. But few predicted a Bulldogs' win three weeks ago in Auburn, either. And that's just fine with Sylvester Croom.

"Anybody can beat anybody," said Croom Monday morning. "That's the thing I want our players to understand because nobody is going to give us a chance to win, I know that."

"We're hoping this (game) is one of those two," added Croom. "That's the way we're going into this thing."

Tennessee will arrive at Scott Field Saturday coming off a huge win over rival Georgia and ranked for the first time since dropping out of the national polls following a 59-20 drubbing at the hands of Florida. But in the wake of their 35-14 thumping of Georiga, Tennessee enters this week's contest confident and an overwhelming favorite to dispatch of Mississippi State.

"There's an idea that Mississippi State can't do this," said Croom. "They're going to look at the stats because of our past and what we've done and (say) 'You're not supposed to win the game'. Well we weren't supposed to win the Auburn game either. We weren't supposed to beat Alabama last year, either."

"I don't want our players buying into that mentality because that's what they're going to read in the paper and see on T.V. and probably even some of our fans are going to be saying the same thing," added Croom. "I don't want them listening to that. I want them going into this game understanding they have just as good a chance to beat Tennessee as Stanford had to beat Southern Cal. It's just about us practicing and getting better and going out and playing the best we can play. If it's good enough, we'll win and if it's not and Tennessee wins, we cry for 24 hours and then we get ready for the next one."

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