The Wednesday Wrap: How Mississippi State football can learn from Mississippi State basketball

It’s been a minute since we did a Wednesday Wrap, but I’m back and ready to dive into why the Mississippi State football team can’t afford to wait to make a change.

I know it has been a while since I did one of these Wednesday Wraps, but my wife had some health issues and I had to focus on her. She’s doing better, so I’m back to talk about the urgency  for the Mississippi State football team to make a change.

What I’ve been wondering…

Not long ago, the Mississippi State football team was a hard ticket to come by. Davis Wade Stadium was filled to capacity, and there was an excitement surrounding the program. Most of this was during the Dan Mullen era of Bulldog football during the years 2009 to 2017.

While those exciting times were taking place, the Mississippi State Men’s basketball team was riddled with apathy. At first, Rick Ray led the team into one of the worst places the program had ever been. Then Ben Howland came in, and while the product was vastly improved, there was no excitement around the program. Even in 2019, the one year the Bulldogs made it to the NCAA Tournament, people wouldn’t show up to support the team.

Fast forward to today.

The Women’s team started their season this week with a sense of excitement that rivaled the Vic Schafer years. The men’s team starts their season with a buzz about the team not seen since the height of the Rick Stansbury years. All of this changed in just one season. The Mississippi State football team needs the same injection of enthusiasm.

So what was the injection of enthusiasm for those teams that the Mississippi State football team needs? A coach that can bring the excitement back to the program.

For the Women’s team, the Bulldogs were in dire straits after Vic Schaefer left. Nikki McCray-Penson was struggling to find the success the team had under his leadership. And before she had the opportunity to try to get the Bulldogs back to the same level prior to her arrival, she announced her resignation in October of 2021 due to health reasons. She would tragically pass away nearly two years later.

As difficult as the tragedy was, the team had to move on. The Bulldogs hired Louisville assistant coach Sam Purcell to take the helm of the program. In just his first season, the Bulldogs were already back in the NCAA Tournament, and they entered this season in the Preseason AP Top 25.

It’ not just the on court results for the Women’s Basketball team. It’s also the personality and drive Sam Purcell presents every time he’s seen. The man loves what he does, and it is infectious to watch.

For the Mens’ team, Chris Jans performed one of the best coaching jobs ever seen on the Mississippi State campus in 2022-23. The Mississippi State basketball team couldn’t score. While that might be hyperbolic, it’s not too far from the truth. The men’s team averaged 65.7 points a game last season. That was 308th out of 363 teams in the NCAA. The five teams ahead of them were Rhode Island, Central Connecticut, Prairie View, Loyola-MD, and VMI. This was the company the Mississippi State basketball team kept offensively last year.

But because Chris Jans inspired his players to play hard nosed defense, and to leave everything they had on the court each night, they found their way into the NCAA Tournament in his first season. And his personality and style inspired fans. For the first time in ages, the Hump was actually getting filled close to capacity.

The Mississippi State football team is the primary bread winner for Mississippi State Athletics. It has to be healthy. Zach Arnett has brought on the dreaded apathy we experienced with Ben Howland and the basketball team. It’s one thing for the basketball team to struggle to fill the stadium, but when the football team can’t do it, the entire athletic department will suffer.

If Mississippi State AD Zac Selmon, decides to keep Arnett around for another year because he doesn’t want to fire a coach after one season, the football team might not be able to recover for years. The basketball teams have shown what the right coaching change can do for a program in only one season. The Mississippi State football team needs the same thing to happen for it.

What I’ve been watching…

Ryan Nelson and I hit the mics again this past weekend to give you our latest takes on the world of television. So if you haven’t followed The Main Attraction Podcast, now would be a good time to do so.

Up first, after a two and a half year wait, the second season of Prime Video’s Invincible made its return. The second season is off to a great start, and you can listen to us discuss it right here.

Prime Video also wrapped up the first season of The Boys spinoff, Gen V. It’s a great show, and does a lot of things similar to The Boys, but just enough different to make it unique. You can listen to us talk about that one by clicking here.

Last but not least, one of my favorite things the MCU has ever done is back for a second season, and that thing is Loki. The penultimate episode aired this past Thursday, and I was completely in awe of its magnificence. Go listen to us talk about it by clicking here.

What I’ve been whistling to…

One of the bands I loved growing up, that most of my friends didn’t quite understand was ZZ Top. Most of their big hits were in a time before I hit my teen years, and my friends wondered what I found so great about them.

They’re a classic band, and they are coming to concert in my area soon, and I am tempted to go see them. They had some absolute bangers. “Sharp Dressed Man” is one of my favorites.

That wraps us up for another Wednesday. Tune in next week to see how else we can try to creatively come up with why the Mississippi State football team has to make a coaching change.