2024 New Year's resolutions for Mississippi State football fans

As 2024 gets closer and we're able to put 2023 (and its horrible Mississippi State football season behind us), let's start making some New Year's Resolutions for MSU football fans.

Arkansas v Mississippi State
Arkansas v Mississippi State / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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No. 4: Let's understand that relying heavily on defense is overrated (and also that it might take some time to get things in place with this new defensive staff)

I'm on the record for saying this previously and I'll say it again at some point in the future I'm sure. Disproportionately relying on defense to win games isn't necessarily a great strategy for winning and I'm not convinced it's necessary for Mississippi State football to win.

There were a few Mississippi State fans who expressed strong opinions on how the defensive side of the coaching staff came together (it's honestly fine, there's just a lot of unknowns and that makes some folks uncomfortable), but a lot of Mississippi State fans also cling to an antiquated notion that the Bulldogs absolutely have to have a great defense to be competitive.

And there are plenty of examples of other overlooked, underdog teams who refuse to stubbornly put defense first in favor of putting an emphasis on scoring a ton of points with innovative offenses that cut into the talent differential that exists between various teams.

Take the 2012 Ole Miss Rebels, for example. After winning just two games in 2011, Ole Miss hired Hugh Freeze who led the Rebels to seven wins and they had the 60th best scoring defense in the country.

Or look at the way the 2007 Texas Tech Red Raiders won nine games and beat No. 3 Oklahoma. Or there's the 2008 Texas Tech Red Raiders that won 11 games. Neither of those teams had great defenses, just above average ones.

Heck, the 2017 Oklahoma State Cowboys scored 45 points a game, gave up 29.4 points per game (85th in the country) and went 10-3.

A great defense isn't always necessary to win games. If you pair an average (or even slightly above average defense) with a fun offense, you'll generally find some ways to win some games. And sure, someone is going to pull the "you can't win an SEC championship with that sort of defense," but I'm really going to need someone to remind me of the last time Mississippi State won an SEC championship.

Let's just focus on getting the team back to bowl game contention on a regular basis before we talk about anything better than that. A good offense paired with an okay defense can do that. But hey, we don't even know what the defense will look like next season.

There are a lot of unknowns right now, and there are some folks who are uncomfortable sitting in the unknown. Learn to just settle into that space and understand that it's okay to not have all the answers right now. Don't let someone sell you on a notion of certainty when there's a lot that we simply don't have datapoints on.