(Eds: APNewsNow. With AP Photos.)By DAVID BRANDTAP Sports Writer
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Midway through the college football season, No. 15 Mississippi State is doing something it hasn't done in more than a decade: contending for the Southeastern Conference Western Division title and a spot in a BCS bowl game.
Those are realities not often seen in Starkville, though the Bulldogs are getting used to the attention.
Not that Mississippi State has a lot of time to bask in its early success. The Bulldogs (6-0) host Middle Tennessee State (4-2) on Saturday before a brutal stretch that includes showdowns at Alabama, against Texas A&M and at LSU.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen isn't complaining about the schedule, he's just excited about the opportunity.
He says, ``In late October and in November you want to be playing big games.''
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