LOGAN LOWERY: Another twist in saga of Steele

LOGAN LOWERY

STARKVILLE

There is a faction among the Mississippi State fan base that’s calling for Dan Mullen’s head.

While I believe this group to be in the minority, they are vocal and growing in numbers each week as the Bulldogs continue to struggle in the second half of their games.

I’ll be the first to admit that MSU isn’t setting the woods on fire in any phase of the game this season but wanting Mullen gone at this point is absurd.

Has the fan base forgotten where the program was before Mullen arrived in 2009? State had just one winning season in the eight years prior to Mullen taking over, going 29-65 during that span. Only twice did the Bulldogs win more than three games in a season between 2001 and ’08.

Bowl appearances

Mullen is 33-25 in four-plus years in Starkville and is just the second head coach in the school’s 113-year history on the gridiron to take his team to three straight bowl games. His .569 winning percentage is the highest since Darrell Royal in 1954-55 (12-8, .600).

In SEC play, Mullen is 14-21 (.400) while in the previous eight seasons Mississippi State was just 13-51 (.203). He is already fourth on the school’s all-time wins list and has a higher winning percentage than Jackie Sherrill, who went 75-75-2 in 13 seasons and has already won as many bowl games.

There are those that will point to Mullen’s lack of success against Top 25 opponents as he’s just 2-19 or the fact that he is only 5-21 against the SEC West. From 2001-08, Mississippi State went 4-26 against top 25 foes and 7-34 inside the Western Division, so Mullen hasn’t downgraded the program in either aspect.

Of course, things have also gotten much tougher in the SEC West during Mullen’s tenure with the addition of Texas A&M and the fact that teams within the division have played in the national championship game in the last four years – including a head-to-head battle two seasons ago.

Let’s put things in perspective a little bit. State was awful prior to Mullen’s arrival and has been decent since. In fact, this decade has started out better for the Bulldogs than any since the 1910s.

So for all the “Chicken Little” fans, put down your pitch forks and torches and ride things out with Mullen a while longer. With 28 straight home sellouts, over $100 million in facility upgrades and 17 starters returning for a favorable 2014 schedule, now isn’t the time to make a change.

Logan Lowery (logan.lowery@ journalinc.com) covers MSU for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at insidemsusports.com.

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