Mississippi State Football: Is Joe Moorhead Underrated Heading Into His First Season?

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 21: Mississippi State Bulldogs mascot Bully greets fans after an NCAA football game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 21: Mississippi State Bulldogs mascot Bully greets fans after an NCAA football game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) /

Is Joe Moorhead deserving of more respect heading into his first season with Mississippi State football?

Mississippi State football has started a new era.

After Dan Mullen left this past fall, leaving Starkville after losing the Egg Bowl, MSU’s athletics director John Cohen immediately went out and ran an efficient coaching search that brought Joe Moorhead down to Starkville, Mississippi.

Most know the story about how it happened. And, at this point, it’s all history. The Bulldogs went out and brought in one of the best offensive minds in college football. Moorhead helped reinvigorate Penn State’s offense and invented new ways for the Nittany Lions to score points by the dozen.

And now the mastermind behind one of the nation’s best offenses from the past two seasons is the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Despite how good his past has been, CBS Sports isn’t too high on the new Mississippi State head coach. In their most recent rankings of Power Five head coaches, Joe Moorhead comes in at number 58.

Which, honestly, seems a bit off. It seems a bit high for someone with as good of a resume as Moorhead.

What does Joe Moorhead’s resume look like at this point in his career?

Everyone is incredibly familiar with Moorhead’s stint at Penn State. But, an even bigger reason to be excited about Moorhead being with MSU comes before that. Before Joe Moorhead was Penn State’s offensive coordinator, he was a successful head coach at the FCS level for a school that previously lacked success.

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Moorhead lead the Fordham Rams to win 38 games in four years. That’s an average of 9.5 wins per year. While he was there, the Rams won their conference in 2014.

And that’s a solid amount of success for a team that was searching for answers and an offense when it hired Joe Moorhead. That’s honestly a solid amount of success for any team at any level.

After Moorhead’s four years there, he left on his own terms as James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions were looking for a way to fix their offense.

For two years, that’s exactly what Joe Moorhead did.

How good Penn State’s offense was under his lead? Well, it was the 8th most efficient and 19th most explosive in the nation in 2017. In 2016, Penn State had the 80th most efficient but the 2nd most explosive offense.

And because of the transformation that Penn State’s offense saw and what Moorhead can do with his resources, he’s an incredible coach and could have a ton of success in 2018.

Despite what might seem like disrespect, it’s important that MSU fans don’t overreact and crown Moorhead already though

Because of his pedigree, many are excited about what the Mississippi State football team is capable of this year. And, in that excitement, some have already gone out of their way to try and declare that Moorhead is already set to be the best coach in MSU history.

Don’t do that. He hasn’t coached a game yet.

Yes, Joe Moorhead’s resume is very good. Yes, Joe Moorhead’s ceiling is really high. And, yes, there’s a ton to be excited about if you’re a fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Still, Moorhead hasn’t coached an actual down for the Mississippi State football team yet.

Not one game has happened in the Moorhead era.

But, that doesn’t mean that the Bulldogs won’t experience plenty of success with Moorhead at the helm. It just means that it’s too early to say that he’s better than Jackie Sherrill, Dan Mullen, or Allyn McKeen.

So, should Moorhead be ranked higher than he is?

Probably, I’m not entirely sure of where I’d place him in the SEC, or nationally, but it wouldn’t be where he is. Still, don’t put him as the best coach to ever arrive at Mississippi State. And, you know, probably don’t put him in the top 25 of coaches nationally.

While it seems foolish to MSU fans for outsiders to mark Moorhead this low in the Southeastern Conference and the nation, it’s important to remember that he hasn’t proved himself in any meaningful way to most national college football writers.

Moorhead’s work at Fordham and offensive ingenuity showing up at Penn State are worth considering when ranking him amongst college football coaches, but it doesn’t show that he can win at the highest level just yet.

Next: Mississippi State's Roster Gives Joe Moorhead Plenty To Work With

Now, we’ll see exactly how Moorhead does this season. He’s got plenty to work with and a coaching staff that has plenty of head coaching experience from top to bottom. After this year, we’ll have a better idea of where to rank Moorhead amongst his colleagues.