Dan Mullen has his team on pace for another New Years Day bowl game.
Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3) dropped a third straight game to a top-tier SEC team this past weekend. LSU defeated the Bulldogs 37-17. The Bulldog faithful and team have to be looking in the mirror, saying, What is going on?
A season that started with such promise for head coach Dan Mullen's team has now brought on frustration. People on the outside have criticized the Bulldogs' first seven opponents as weak and even called the Bulldogs paper champions.
Alabama and Texas A&M both drubbed the Bulldogs on consecutive weekends and although State played much better against LSU, a 20 point loss is still a loss.
So as the Bulldogs return home this week to battle Arkansas in their final home game, we look at what is left for Dan Mullen's squad in 2012.
There is still a lot left for this team to play for.
Send the seniors out with a bang.
This weekend will be the last time guys named Jonathan Banks, Darius Slay, Chad Bumphis and many more will run onto Scott Field to play a football game. After they leave this weekend, they will only return as fans and alumni. These seniors have helped the Bulldogs win 28 ball games during their time, a stretch not seen since the 1997-2000 stretch.
The Arkansas Razorbacks come to town with a 4-6 record and this is a year they want to forget. The Bulldogs can get their fourth SEC win this season and send their seniors out with a bang this weekend against John L. Smith and the Hogs.
Show Mississippi which team owns this state.
The Bulldogs will travel to Oxford, Miss next Saturday to battle the Rebels for the Golden Egg. Dan Mullen's squad will be shooting for their fourth straight victory in this series. The last time Dan Mullen was in Oxford he proclaimed, "We will never lose to this team again."
The Bulldogs can send this senior class out as true champions of this state, because a win means they never lost to their in-state rival.
The Bulldogs can also keep their arch nemesis from becoming bowl eligible as the Rebels need one more victory to garner postseason play. A loss to LSU this weekend and next weekend for the Rebels, and it is a 5-7 season and third straight losing season.
Dan Mullen will have his team motivated to lock the Vaught up for the remainder of the year and take the Egg Bowl Trophy back to his office again.
Play on New Year's Day again.
Before Dan Mullen arrived in Starkville, the Bulldogs had gone to one bowl game in the previous nine seasons. Since Mullen has been in Starkville the Bulldogs have back to back bowl wins over Michigan and Wake Forest, and are already bowl eligible this year.
By winning their last two games, the Bulldogs will more than likely lock up their second New Year's Day bowl game in the last three seasons. Recent bowl projections have the Bulldogs slated to take on Northwestern in the Gator Bowl on January 1st.
Shoot for ten and let's do it again.
Yes, it is heartbreaking for fans and this team not to be where they thought they were. This team was expected to compete with the best teams in the SEC. One would have liked to have seen the Bulldogs put up a better fight against the Crimson Tide, Aggies and Tigers, but they are just not at that level yet.
The Bulldogs have come a long way since Dan Mullen was hired in 2009, but still have a long ways to go. It is a process that takes winning year in and year out, getting to bowl games and improving recruiting—all of which the Bulldogs are doing.
If the Bulldogs win out, beat that team up north for the fourth straight year and garner a ten win season with a New Year's Day bowl victory, I can promise you it will make everything much better.
It all starts this weekend at home against Arkansas.