Dan Mullen and Mississippi State lost to Auburn on Saturday night as the Tigers picked up their first SEC win in 686 days, but to think Mullen is anywhere close to a hot seat in Starkville is asinine. Is Mullen a perfect coach? Of course not, but the Bulldogs were a mess before Mullen arrived, and they have seen the expectations rise as quickly as the temperature in July in the Mississippi Delta with him.
In the last three years, Mullen has won nine, seven and eight wins with three straight bowl appearances and two victories. He has seen his team ranked as high as No. 11 last year after a 7-0 start and has taken the team out of the cellar from the Sylvester Croom era.
Yes, Mississippi State is 2-7 since starting 7-0 last year, but to bail on Mullen after what he’s done the past three seasons is so irrational that it makes about as much sense as Ben Affleck being in the upcoming Batman flick.
In the five years under Croom, the Bulldogs averaged two SEC wins a season and four wins overall. Furthermore, Croom only managed one winning season in his five. Comparing Mullen to Croom is like comparing your grades to the kid with the worst grades in summer school, but the fact is that Mullen has taken this program to new heights.
Mullen is largely a victim of his own success at Mississippi State, where eight wins is now the exception in Starkville and the fans in the Junction won’t accept anything less. Eight wins used to be cause for a three-day celebration in the Cotton District.
If they get rid of Mullen, who is athletic director Scott Stricklin going to replace him with? Former assistant and current Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth? Firing him would make the bold statement that one disappointing season at Mississippi State is grounds for dismissal. Do they feel confident Hudspeth can average eight wins in the SEC over a three-year period? I don’t, and I bet Stricklin doesn’t either.
Mississippi should think about how depressing Saturday afternoons used to be at Davis Wade Stadium and how the mood in the Junction has changed in the past four and a half years before they start cranking the temperature on Mullen’s seat.
They don’t know how good they have it with him.