Dan Mullen is about to lead Mississippi State into their sixth straight bowl game. That’s an impressive feat that many pundits didn’t think possible at MSU, and only four other SEC schools can currently boast. The outcomes of all five previous bowl games have been the same as the Egg Bowl that year. Will things change this year?
- 2010: beat OM 31-23 and beat Michigan 52-14
- 2011: beat OM 31-3 and beat Wake Forest 23-17
- 2012: lost to OM 41-24 and lost to Northwestern 34-20
- 2013: beat OM 17-10 and beat Rice 44-7
- 2014: lost to OM 31-17 and lost to Georgia Tech 49-34
If the current trend holds up, which would be losing the bowl game by about the same margin as the Egg Bowl, then MSU should expect to lose to N.C. State by roughly 10 points.
But the Bulldogs are favored in the Belk Bowl, and really need to win to get things back on track – mostly with the fan base.
We launched Maroon and White Nation in October of 2010, so I’ve been doing this during all of these years. The contrast in the fan base is very noticeable and very interesting.
Naturally, everyone was thrilled with the 2010 season. It was the best season in a decade and featured an absolute thrashing of a powerhouse program (Michigan). Add to it winning the Golden Egg while it appeared OM was down for the count.
In 2011, the mood was even better despite having two more losses on the schedule. Back-to-back bowl wins coupled with a third straight Egg Bowl and OM going 2-10.
Then we reached apex 1.0 of excitement when State was 7-0, ranked #11 in the country, #WeBelieve, etc. It quickly fell flat with losses in five of six games to close the season including the Egg Bowl and bowl game. The mood around the fan base was one of despair even though the team had improved on their record from the previous season by one game.
Fast forward to January 2014 and everyone is excited again because MSU finished with three straight wins including recapturing the Golden Egg and a blowout bowl game. This was just two months removed from the valley that was a 4-6 record and some gnashing of teeth about Mullen because of it.
Out from that valley came the remarkable rise to #1 during the 2014 season (apex 2.0). But after all the positive attention and new heights achieved, there was actually more off-season joy after the 2013 season than the 2014 season…..because State lost the Egg Bowl and the bowl game.
Now Coach Mullen has the opportunity to salvage some of 2015. I am interested to see how a bowl win would change the mood in the fan base, if at all. I’ve seen the double whammy of Egg Bowl win and bowl win or the exact opposite for five straight years. What would happen if State went 1-1 in those games? I’m sure it would be better if the Golden Egg was in Starkville rather than a bowl trophy, but that’s been decided, so the bowl game is all we have.
If the Dawgs can find a way to bounce back and make a good showing in Charlotte, hopefully some of the negatively will subside.