This is the transcript from the discussion surrounding the Gator Bowl on the ESPN Bowl Selection show that aired on Sunday night. Rece Davis, Lou Holtz, Mark May, and Craig James all seemed to be big MSU supporters. They all agreed that if MSU had landed Cam Newton, it would be the Bulldogs instead of the Tigers in the National Championship game...
Rece Davis: (Michigan) Great offense, but not much defense.
Mark May: (Michigan) Great QB, will put a lot of pressure on Manny Diaz' defense, but i think it will be a great clash to see if they (MSU defense) can stop a dynamic player like Denard Robinson.
Craig James: Mississippi State will show up. They are a team that has a lot of talent, they're strong, you know Rece, we covered them (Mississippi State) earlier this season (Auburn game), this Michigan team that has a lot of speed and athleticism, they are gonna get down there and they are going to be challenged (by Mississippi State). Its going to be one of those games where Dan Mullen, if he's still the coach....(interruption by others on panel)
Mark May: "he's still the coach today".
Then Rece basically says that Rich Rod is on the hot seat and Dan Mullen is a hot commodity and that Mississippi State is going to step up and make sure that Dan stays in Starkville for a "long, long, time".
Rece continued: (Mississippi State) They are 8-4 and had a great opportunity to beat Auburn and Arkansas, two teams playing in BCS games, Mullen is about this close to a 10 win season.
Lou Holtz: And why did they get close? Because they are physical and tough, and they will hit Michigan, I'll tell you when Michigan gets off that bus, Mississippi State will be waiting on them. They (Mississippi State) just play physical and they are very well coached.
Mark May: Mississippi State really doesn't have a dynamic offense, but they can run the ball with Vick Ballard. But here's the key, Michigan's defense...Anybody can score on Michigan's defense. And if Rich Rod is back (next year) the defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will not be back.
Craig James: Ok, let me ask you guys a question. If Cam Newton had gone to Mississippi State, what do you think their record is right now?
Rece: I think they are playing Oregon for the National Championship.
Mark May: Yes (agreeing with Rece)
Craig James: Thank you very much. That's how good they are, there is a supporting cast there at Mississippi State, they (Mississippi State) just missed that trigger (Cam Newton) guy. So Michigan better show up with a lot of umph.
Mark May: Not only that about Mississippi State, you said the close games at 8-4, not only in the SEC but in the SEC West, the best division in college football. That's being competitive every week. He (Dan Mullen) changed the culture.
Rece: It's better than the NFC West (SEC Western Div).
Mark May: It is, it really is... Dan Mullen changed the culture at Mississippi State, that's why he is such a hot commodity as a head coach.
Lou Holtz: And he should be.
Rece: Yeah, no question. He comes from the background, having been with Urban Myer at Utah and Florida, and he's really built a great program in a short amount of time in Starkville and has Mississippi State going to the Gator Bowl on New Years Day to face Michigan.