Mississippi State Football: The good, the bad, and the ugly over the bye week

Nov 13, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Makai Polk (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Makai Polk (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Bulldogs head into the last stretch of the 2022 football season now is a good time to discuss some of the positives and negatives of the Mississippi States football program. There are many questions that surround this program and many of them are just as hard to identify as they are to fix. I guess the best way to say it would be to put it like this, The Mississippi State football program in its current state has way more questions than answers. So, let’s just dive right into this week’s edition of the good, the bad, and the ugly of Mississippi State football’s bye week.

The Good – Mississippi State football development over the past three years

If there is one thing that every Bulldog fan can honestly say is that the Bulldogs have a good team and at times have shown the ability to compete at the highest levels in the SEC. Both the offense and defensive units have greatly improved over the past three years and most notably the defense. I would easily put the Bulldogs as one of the top defenses in the SEC. The Bulldogs have held their opponents to an average of just under 23 points per game. Zac Arnett has developed a very athletic group that is not afraid to bring the hammer to opposing offenses.

In addition to the defensive improvements, the offense has made a considerable jump from year one and two, averaging just over 31 points per game. Will Rogers has proven to be one of the nation’s top quarterbacks. His ability to scan the field and run through his progressions is unlike many other quarterbacks.

This season Mississippi State football has shown that the Air Raid offense can work in this conference but only with the help of a productive run game. When the Bulldogs have produced positive rushing yards, the team is almost unbeatable. Unfortunately, not everyone around this program can seem to see this.

The Bad – Losing our athletic director, John Cohen.

I was not the biggest fan of John Cohen. I had nothing personal against him. He was very professional and represented Mississippi State very well. I just thought he made several bad hires in football, baseball, and both men’s and women’s basketball. I have always felt that he went after coaches that were timid and easier to control.

Joe Moorhead was in over his head from day one and he knew it right out of the gate. He did inherit a team developed for a Dan Mullen offense but in the end, he just was not ready for the job.

Chris Lemonis is a good coach, but let’s be honest he was handed the best college baseball team in the country and has gained a lot of good fortune and recognition from Cohen’s gift. Let’s not forget last season’s embarrassment of going from national champions to not even making it to the SEC tournament.

Whomever the Bulldogs bring in to become the next athletic director, they must understand the situation in both the football and baseball programs along with a few others.

Also, Mississippi State needs to find a guy who has some NIL knowledge since the game is already moving in that direction.

The Ugly – Leach’s inability to coach and win on the road

As you have seen in many of my articles, I have no idea what goes through Mike Leach’s head from week to week. I really think that he loses the ability to think or concentrate on the road. Look at his track record on the road with the Bulldogs. He is 5-9 in road games during his time at Mississippi State. Three of those wins were non-conference games. The only two conference wins were against LSU in his first game coaching and last year’s comeback against Auburn. Mike Leach must prove that he can win on the road, or we are looking at his ceiling at Mississippi State.

These last four regular season games could be major for this program and are all winnable for the Bulldogs. The two toughest games left are Georgia and Ole Miss. Both teams are top fifteen teams but neither has played the schedule that we have. We get Georgia at home at night in Davis Wade. The Bulldogs can win this game if we play like we are capable of. The Ole Miss game is going to come down to our run game and their run defense. Mississippi State must keep their defense on the field and make good steady drives and we bring the golden egg back to Starkville.

Since Mike Leach arrived, I have heard that he is known for losing games that he should have won and winning games that he should have lost. Well, he has lost two games against LSU and Kentucky that he should have won. So, let’s win two that most predict we should lose against Georgia and Ole Miss.

Prediction vs. Auburn

Auburn’s football program is in a mess right now and has been all season. Mississippi needs to get the run game back on track and set the tone early and often in this SEC West contest. Let’s send John Cohen a fair-well gift with his first loss as athletic director at Auburn. State wins big, and Will Rogers breaks 400 yards and throws 6 or more touchdowns Saturday night.

Mississippi State 48

Auburn 17