Why to Take Sylvester and the Mississippi State Bulldogs Seriously

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Why to Take Sylvester and the Mississippi State Bulldogs Seriously
Icon Sports MediaMost people wouldn't find a seven-win season to be anything to write home about. However, for Sylvester Croom and the Mississippi State Bulldogs, this season couldn't mean more to them, or to the nation.

Croom entered this season under jeopardy. The forth year head coach had not been able to lead his team to any more than three victories, and the fans were becoming sick of it.

After all, he was hired to take care of the mess left behind by former head coach Jackie Sherrill. Sherrill, who led the team to the best years in program history, also caused many of the worst problems in program history.

Croom startled Bulldog fans everywhere by beginning his tenure in unusual style: He kicked off a great number of players who had discipline problems. This move set Croom back a great deal, as it would take him years before he would actually have rebuilt anything resembling a team.

But four years later, it all would pay off. Croom and the Bulldogs would face adversity and come out on top. In an incredibly under covered year, State would beat three top-25 opponents (two of them on the road) and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2000.

No longer would losing to Mississippi State be considered a terrible embarrassment. Nick Saban even said that they were a good team after losing to them.

Now looking at a birth into the Music City, Independence, or Liberty Bowls, it is crucial to note what this means for the rest of the nation.

Obviously, this shows that the SEC is still the most competitive conference. A team that some people picked to not win a single conference game pulled off four of them. It is almost enough to argue that the team who wins the conference should grab an automatic national championship bid.

This is also a sign to schools all across the nation who hire new coaches. It is highly important to stand by them. Bringing in a new system takes time, and either for good or bad, it is probably better for teams to keep coaches around for several years.

And most importantly, it is a classic underdog story. It's the kind of story that warms the heart. It's a story about a caring coach who took a rag-tag team to success with nothing but character and hard work.

It is easy to see that Sylvester Croom instills character into his team by example. He pours his heart into working with these youngsters.

Don't believe it? Just look at Croom after last week's comeback victory against Ole Miss, as he broke down into tears of joy for his team.

This, of course, is right before the old coach took the large maroon and white flag and paraded around the field, bringing hope once again to the Bulldog faithful.

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