It is no secret over Dan Mullen’s short tenure at Mississippi State he has taken slack for only beating Ole Miss in the SEC West. Despite two straight winning seasons and consecutive bowl victories – the brash, arrogant Mullen takes it seven ways from Sunday from the media and opposing fans for not beating anyone not named Ole Miss in the brutal SEC West.
So – the question was posed during SEC Media days to Mullen “In your first three years at State, is the gap between your school and the other four teams getting closer and how much would beating Auburn mean for your program to get over that hump?” That hump is not beating LSU, Alabama, Auburn or Arkansas during his time.
Mullen responded with “When you look, the great thing I guess in our program, the SEC West, we’re not far off from there, which means we’re not far off from the National Title. As you’re developing, as you’re building the program, the confidence that comes in our guys, I think they see that. They see that, hey we’re not far off from these teams, and these teams have won the National Title, are ranked in the top five in the country. We can be right there. I think that builds and gets into the program.”
Those comments hit twitter like a California fire storm with people all over the country mocking Mullen for his reference of Mississippi State and a National Championship. There was so much back lash that Mullen sky rocketed within thirty minutes to the number three subject trending on twitter at that time.
“You’re an idiot Mullen!” National Title? Mullen you @#$%^&! Moron stick to your “Egg Bowl Championship” – and I could fill two pages with backlash.
It was almost as if Noah said it shall rain and we need an Ark during a severe drought part two.
When you take the emotion out of it and look at this objectively with facts Dan Mullen actually did two things. One – he continued to build his brand and get his name out there on a national broadcast knowing recruits are watching and many have taken notice of his program around the southeast and beyond.
Secondly Dan Mullen flat out told the truth. Yep he sure did and you can call me an idiot, homer, cool aid drinker and a bastard child but he did. Just look at the facts.
First the SEC and specifically the West has never been as tough as it is on this day. The last six National Champions have come from this conference and the last four out of five champions hold a place in the West – where Mullen and State are.
When Dan Mullen arrived in Starkville the Bulldogs had two winning seasons dating back to the year 2000 and the talent and depth was horrid. Mullen who comes from the Urban Myer coaching tree has never done anything but win going undefeated at Utah, winning two National Titles at Florida and success way before that so the guy knows how to win and what it takes.
Yes he has only beaten Ole Miss out of arguably the toughest division ever in college football but let’s expand on Mullen’s comments.
Mullen said “hey we’re not far off from these teams”. Want proof? Here is all you need.
After just getting ass handed by LSU for over a decade, in Mullen’s first year his team literally gave the game to then #7 LSU 30-26. Yes in year one he took it on the chin to Arkansas and Alabama but was in the game with Auburn up until halftime and then the Tigers opened it up.
That year they also had then #1 Florida on the ropes before Tim Tebow and company did enough to escape. There was also two other games State had a chance to win – Houston and Georgia Tech, both whom were ranked at certain times. That 5-7 record could have easily been 7-5 in year one or better.
In 2010 – a year the Dawgs went 9-4 and won the Gator Bowl they gave eventual National Champion Auburn all they could handle and had Leon Berry not dropped a slant route late in the game that game is wrapped in Maroon. The Bulldogs also played very well deep into the third quarters in losses to yet again Alabama and LSU. Arkansas escaped Starkville with an overtime victory.
In 2011 State dropped yet another heart breaker to Auburn that needs no mentioning, played LSU to a 19-6 ending that was in doubt deep in the fourth quarter and played Alabama as good as anyone not named LSU in defeat – not to mention a two point heart breaker to South Carolina.
Yes it’s all losses at the end of the day and yes if my aunt had balls she would be my uncle but when you look at the “Big four” – State has challenged them and made up major ground considering where this program was in 2008.
Of all those losses the Bulldogs have only been blown out of the stadium five times; Once at Auburn, twice at Arkansas and twice to Alabama and two of those were in year one.
Mullen “albeit everyone else is also recruiting well” has made tremendous strides building quality depth and beefing up his defensive front seven –which is what all those other four have in common on most years.
He is doing it the right way and when he starts to beat some of those guys like Auburn and Arkansas that will show just how much his program is rising and IF he was to be deep into November in the thick of the SEC West race guess what fellas? He would be in the thick for a National Title spot because the last four out of five Champions have come from this division and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Winning is not only about being athletically competitive, but having the right mindset.
Through Matt Balis and their off season program State is there physically and they have proven that. It’s just the mental toughness Mullen speaks of and getting over that hump they have been so close to. That’s why Mullen said at Media Days “We can be right there. I think that builds and gets into the program”. What builds and gets into the program? Seeing you have played these guys down to the wire, mental toughness, knowing you are literally a few plays away.
Did I say State would win a National Title? No – I said I agree with Mullen in that this team is not that far out from competing and beating many of these teams which in turn puts his team in that conversation due to the division they play in.
Mullen knew exactly what he was saying and there was lots of truth to it – just look at the facts.
Wait, facts? Many of you don’t look at facts, you just spew vomit. Continue spewing vomit and I know you will rip me for this piece but that’s ok. I’m use to taking your butt hurt.
Please continue – We will watch this all develop over time together. Should be fun – I know Dan Mullen thinks so.