Banks tackles Cam

MSU’s Johnthan Banks tackles Auburn’s Cam Newton during the second half of a 2010 game in Starkville. Auburn won 17-14 as Newton threw a pair of touchdowns.

When talking about “What If” instances with Mississippi State, there are multiple possibilities that come to mind.

Most recently, what if a foul was called when Morgan William lost the ball at midcourt in the national championship in 2018? Go a little farther back, and what if MSU beat Alabama in 2014 to remain No. 1 in the nation?

But the one, farther back, that sticks out to me is what if Cam Newton signed with Mississippi State instead of Auburn in 2010?

Newton, who was close to signing with the Bulldogs, decided instead to sign with the Tigers and led Auburn to a 14-0 record and the BCS national championship while claiming the Heisman Trophy and becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

On the other hand, Mississippi State went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl behind the arm of Chris Relf. The Bulldogs were talented, and Relf had a successful season, but being able to put Newton into that position could have been the game changer MSU needed.

Relf finished the season with 2,502 total offensive yards and 18 touchdowns. Not bad, huh?

Newton’s season consisted of 4,440 offensive yards and 54 touchdowns. Three times as many touchdowns could have made a difference.

Mississippi State lost to Auburn, 17-14, and Arkansas, 38-31 in double overtime. Those most likely would have been automatic wins. Would MSU have beaten LSU and Alabama, which beat the Bulldogs by a combined 59-17?

Who knows? But Newton beat them both with Auburn.

Mississippi State had the talent to compete for a national championship that year. Here are a few notable players that were on that team and went to the NFL – Vick Ballard, Gabe Jackson, Derek Sherrod, Fletcher Cox, Pernell McPhee, K.J. Wright, Deontae Skinner and Johnthan Banks.

That’s enough talent to win a national championship.

Relf had a good season, but Newton could have filled the one hole needed for a championship run.

dalton.middleton@journalinc.com

Twitter: @DLMiddleton8

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