Oct 12, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen pleads his case to a referee about a call during the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

MSU's Issue on Saturday Night: Not Playing to a Standard

I could go on and on about what happened in that Bowling Green game. I could make a fairly lengthy list of all the things MSU didn’t do well, but I don’t need to. The bottom line when it comes to what went wrong – MSU is not playing to a standard.

You’ve heard it said before many many times with regard to Nick Saban. He coaches his guys up whether they are up 50 or in a tie game. He’s relentless, because the only thing he cares about is that his players are doing the absolute best they possibly can. And, he is the best – they are the best. In life, in football – you measure your performance to the standard you’ve set for yourself.

I think we can all agree, it’s not that we won the football game (because we did win). It’s the fact that we didn’t punish Bowling Green into submission like we absolutely could have. MSU did not play to a standard – which should be excellence.

When you have bone-headed penalties, miscues, lack of concentration and effort – that is a clear sign that you aren’t playing to a standard.

The Bowling Green game doesn’t exactly make me worried about what will happen the rest of the season. I’m not really worried about the Kentucky game – although we better be ready to play. This is still a decent team and has plenty of talent, that hasn’t changed. What has me a little more worried is the fact we aren’t playing to a standard.

The Troy game would have been the perfect time for a classic letdown. After coming off a heart-breaker on the plains in comes Troy with a dynamic passing attack primed to give MSU a run for their money. I was pleasantly surprised by the 62-7 blow out where the Bulldogs imposed their will and absolutely dominated – even more than I ever dreamed we could. So I had hoped we were passed the letdown game, but I guess we aren’t.

Unfortunately we did not get similar results against Bowling Green. The week after another SEC loss the team did not come out inspired like they had against Troy. That’s why I was perturbed by the students section not doing their part to will us to victory - they should know MSU is prone to these types of games every now and again (2010 vs. UAB, 2011 vs. LA Tech, 2012 vs. Troy).  But that’s no excuse, this performance is absolutely on the coaches and players not performing up to a standard.

It’s easy for me to stand on my high horse and write this article and say MSU should perform to a standard. It’s very hard to do. Think of your own life. It’s hard – there’s a reason why Alabama is one of the only programs who can do it, and even they can’t all the time. It’s hard for fully matured adults to do it, and it’s even harder for 18-22 year olds. So I’m not going to call for Mullen to be fired or claim he and his coaches are trash. It’s something that State will have to work on – but it’s still way too early to call it all a failure.

We survived the letdown. Let’s do better to ensure that it won’t happen again by playing to a standard and move on.

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