The Mississippi State Bulldogs were in serious jeopardy of not making the postseason in 2013. MSU rallied to win its final two games of the regular season, both in overtime, to get to six wins and earn a bid in the Liberty Bowl, where they drilled Rice 44-7.
The 7-6 finish to the season seemed unlikely after the Bulldogs gave up 85 points combined in losses to the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies in early November. However, head coach Dan Mullen was able to rally his team to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Ole Miss Rebels to finish the regular season.
Mullen, however, still remains on somewhat of a hot seat. Call it warm, perhaps. He did get MSU into another bowl game, but football fans in the Magnolia State would call Ole Miss the better of the state’s two Southeastern Conference teams right now. And that won’t sit well for long with the MSU faithful.
The good news for Mullen is that the 2014 schedule is seemingly more manageable. South Carolina is off the slate, replaced by the Vanderbilt Commodores, who have both a new head coach and a new quarterback.
Mullen needs his team to put together about eight wins this season, or the natives will be even more restless. With Hugh Freeze doing big things at Ole Miss, Mullen cannot afford to fall even further behind his intrastate rival.
Quarterback Dak Prescott will be the key to the 2014 season for MSU. The playmaking junior-to-be is a dynamic player behind center, and if he plays well, that bodes well for the Bulldogs. And it might help keep the pressure off of Mullen for another season.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.