Opening camp: Mississippi State

Schedule: The Bulldogs open practice Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. Their first six practices from Thursday through Sunday will be open to fans. They will hold two practices on both Friday and Saturday. Their first day in full pads will be Tuesday, Aug. 6.

On the mend: Junior running back Nick Griffin, who served as LaDarius Perkins' backup, missed the spring after tearing his ACL during bowl practice last December. It was Griffin’s second major knee injury, and his status for the fall is unclear. The Bulldogs are hopeful that backup quarterback Dak Prescott will be full go after he underwent surgery on his toe and missed the spring.

Key battle: With cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay both going in the second round of the NFL draft, the Bulldogs need to settle on their replacements. Junior Jamerson Love, sophomore Taveze Calhoun and redshirt freshman Cedric Jiles will slug it out with junior college newcomer Justin Cox for the top two spots.

Of note: Senior quarterback Tyler Russell returns after setting school records last season with 2,897 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, but no returning wide receiver on Mississippi State’s roster caught more than 17 passes a year ago.

Predicted order of finish: Picked sixth in the West at SEC media days.

They said it: “When you win consistently, the next step for us is to compete for a championship consistently, and when you do that, you find you’ll win a championship,” – Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen