The 2010 football season is one that Bulldog fans will not soon forget. It's been a while since we've enjoyed success of this kind and everyone that wears maroon and white are already dreaming of what lies ahead in 2011. Now that the season has concluded, all that is really left to do is reflect on a year that was one to remember. Although there were many, many great things about 2010, of course one can always find low points as well.
It would take a while to reflect on it all in one sitting so we'll split this up into three different sections. The good, the bad, and the ugly of MSU football in 2010. We'll reflect back upon the stories that captured headlines and if I miss one, by all means, let me know about it. Let's get started:
1. What better place to begin than the big win in Gainesville? The main story heading into that glorious night was Dan Mullen's return to "The Swamp". There was very little talk about the Bulldogs pulling an upset and winning that game. To be fair, the Bulldogs hadn't given anyone much reason to believe otherwise. Although MSU had pulled upsets on Florida multiple times, those games were all played in Starkville. Circumstances were far different when the contests were played in Florida. That Gators hadn't allowed an MSU victory in "The Swamp" since 1965. The score was only 10-7, but that was all the Bulldogs needed to secure a win and finally earn a top 25 ranking in the AP and Coaches Polls.
2. As big a relief as the win against Florida was, one could argue that the victory over the Georgia Bulldogs earlier in the season was just as big, if not bigger. The Maroon Bulldogs headed into that game fresh off two back to back losses against Auburn and LSU. If that wasn't enough of a bummer, it was also a well-known fact that the last time MSU beat the Georgia Bulldogs was in 1974. However, as we later discovered, 2010 would be a season for the ugly streaks and trends to end. This victory started it all. The win over the Georgia Bulldogs began a winning streak that would last six games.
3. Solid defense. What else can be said about the fantastic job defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has done this season? It didn't take long for opposing quarterbacks to find out that Manny would have linebackers in their faces play after play after play. Almost every play saw the opposing quarterback under serious duress and more times than not it resulted in hurried throws and sacks. Chris White, Pernell McPhee, and K.J. Wright were the usual suspects in those quarterback's faces. MSU's defense allowed the fewest points Auburn would score in a game during the season with 17. Furthermore, no team did a better job of containing Cameron Newton than MSU did (he only rushed for 70 yards). Auburn was unable to score a single point in the second half of that game. If it weren't for all the dropped MSU passes late in that game, the outcome would've certainly been different.
4. State wins the Egg Bowl....again! Back to back Egg Bowl victories are about as sweet as it gets. Of course Ole Miss loves to hear Mississippi State fans express that joy because in their warped minds they see this as more evidence that we're obsessed with them. The sad and pathetic thing is that the only reason they say this is because lately it's all they have. Unfortunately, they're now grasping at straws to simply be relevant. Their now pitiful existence hinges on our hatred for them so they can continue to be involved in any college football discussions. If the Egg Bowl is mentioned you'll find that Ole Miss fans quickly jump up and make it known that Mississippi State cares about the Egg Bowl more than they do and the Bulldog's obsession with them fuels and inspires their victories. Enjoy this years Egg Bowl victory Bulldog fans! Let's hope we keep the Egg Bowl Trophy at home again next year, and lets hope that Ole Miss continues to "not care as much" about the Egg Bowl as we do. Whether they care or not, it's an SEC game and every single SEC game is important. Hopefully Ole Miss will never discover that.
5. Dan Mullen sign's a four year 10 million dollar deal. Unfortunately, with college football success comes a lot of unwanted attention on your team's head coach. No better example can be found from the 2010 season than Dan Mullen. At different points in this season Mullen's name was attached to head coaching jobs at Minnesota, Miami and Florida. Particularly, it was an extremely unsettling time for Bulldog fans when Urban Meyer suddenly stepped down at Florida. Mullen's name sprang up immediately as the sure replacement. Dan continuously denied that he was talking to anyone...Scott Stricklin begged everyone to stay calm...and it wasn't long before Coach Mullen received a nice raise and a four year contract extension. Here's hoping we keep him around a long while.
6. Of course there's no way I can leave off the Gator Bowl victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Arguably college football's most storied program, Michigan entered the game as the underdogs, but not by much. Apparently someone forgot to tell the Bulldogs that it was supposed to be a close game. The Bulldogs destroyed the Wolverines 52-14 and probably destroyed Rich Rodriguez's job in the process.
There are lots of other good things that made headlines in 2010. What about Vick Ballard? What a bright spot he has been after the departure of Anthony Dixon. Derek Sherrod was an SEC Offensive Lineman Of The Week four times in 2010. Chris White won the Conerly Award. Every home game was a sell out in Davis-Wade Stadium. We could go on, and on with the successes of the season. Did I miss something? Let me know about it!
Look for some highlights on the BAD headlines of the season...coming soon!