Mississippi State has always been at the bottom of the SEC. Sure, Jackie Sherrill brought them some success in the 1990s, but since he cheated that does not count either. Ever since Dan Mullen came to Starkville State has been a lot more competitive. he has brought expectations of getting out of the conference's cellar. In 2009 they went 5-7 (3-5) which had them in a giant tie for 7th in terms of conference record. Not bad for Mississippi State. They even thrashed a good Ole Miss team to end the season.
A lot of last year's success was because of Anthony Dixon's running ability. They did not possess a quarterback then. So what about now? The answer, sadly for the hardcore State fans, is no. Chris Relf and Tyler Russell are both inaccurate interception machines. They combined for 5 picks in a 29-7 loss at LSU. The State defense has been good so far. They held LSU to only 264 yards, and the Tiger were forced to kick 5 field goals. in game two State held Auburn to 348 yards. If this team could find an efficient quarterback who would not turn over the ball a dozen times per game, they could have a lot more success in the SEC.
Another problem is the running game. After losing Dixon and Christian Ducre, State has been unable to find a halfback to carry the load. Statistically through 3 games, Vick Ballard is their best back. He has 23 carries for 101 yards and four scores. That will not cut it in the SEC. State is 72nd in passing yardage per game, and 63rd in rushing yardage per game. Isn't Dan Mullen an offensive coach? Mullen has brought a ton of hope to this program that cannot be fulfilled until Mullen gets play-makers at the quarterback and running back positions. Another good idea would be some receivers who would not drop a victory away like they did against Auburn. Mullen is an offensive genius. Look at what he did at Florida. Look at how Florida has fallen without him. Now look at the difference in the athletes in Gainsville and in Starkville. If will take a few years for Mullen to be able to get the right talent on the field. The expectations will be fulfilled if Mullen remains at State, but it is going to take longer than some were thinking. I am not saying they will recede back into the Mississippi State we all know and feel sorry for, but for now, they will be stuck in the 5 to 6 win area for a few seasons.