Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals are the early favorites in their TaxSlayer Bowl match-up with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

According to, Louisville opened as a five point favorite and the line has already moved up to six points. The Cards have been favored in 11 of their 13 games this season.

Mississippi State enters the post-season with an 8-4 record and are ranked 23rd in the College Football Playoff rankings, but this will be a much different Bulldog team than what we saw this season.

Shortly after the season came to an end Dan Mullen left Starkville to take the head coaching gig at Florida. Mullen took defensive coordinator Todd Grantham with him to Gainesville. Mississippi State has since hired Penn State assistant Joe Moorhead to take over the program, but he won’t coach in the bowl game. Running backs coach Greg Knox will coach the bowl game for MSU.

The staff change isn’t the only thing that’ll make the Bulldogs look much different than they did during the regular season. Starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald went down with an injury in the team’s season-finale against Ole Miss. He’s since had ankle surgery and will not play against Louisville. Freshman Keytaon Thompson will start in his place.