Mississippi State University Football Team

No. 1 Mississippi State: Proof That Money Isn’t Everything

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Street ticket prices have already adjusted to success. Bet there are some well deserved raises in the works too.

By BEN COHEN | Updated Oct. 13, 2014 9:25 a.m. ET | www.wallstreetjournal.com

Mississippi State spends millions less on football than the average power-conference school—and yet the Bulldogs are now the new No. 1 team in college football.

Mississippi State ascended to the top of the polls Sunday for the first time in school history, leapfrogging previously top-ranked Florida State and separating itself from No. 3 Ole Miss on the strength of its 38-23 home win over then-No. 2 Auburn, which kept the Bulldogs undefeated this season and in line for a College Football Playoff spot.

Their status atop college football is a remarkable twist for a school whose lone Southeastern Conference championship came all the way back in 1941. But it isn’t just the school’s history that distinguishes Mississippi State’s climb. What makes it so unlikely today is that the Bulldogs are winning on a budget.

The Starkville, Miss., school spent $15.3 million on football in fiscal 2013, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education. That makes Mississippi State thriftier than every SEC member and all but seven of the 65 schools in the five richest conferences (including independent Notre Dame). Alabama, which hosts Mississippi State on Nov. 15 in the Bulldogs’ next matchup with a currently ranked team, spent $41.5 million on football expenses. It allocates almost as much for coaches’ salaries ($11.8 million) as Mississippi State does for its entire football program.

To read more: http://online.wsj.com/articles/no-1-mississippi-state-proof-that-money-isnt-everything-1413170216?tesla=y&mod=djemMTIPOFF_h&mg=reno64-wsj

Photo Credit: Getty Images | Mississippi State celebrates after a touchdown against Auburn on Saturday. Getty Images

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