Bulldog fans, the wait is finally over. I have risen from hibernation mode these past six months anxious and ready to assist my fellow bloggeurs in providing you with as much Mississippi State Football information as you can possibly stand.
The 2012 season is here and if you're even the slightest bit as excited as I am, you're bound to be filled with hopes and expectations regarding the upcoming season.
Let's explore that shall we?
After the jump is a list of The Top Ten Things Bulldog Football Fans Want To See In 2012--in no particular order I might add...
#1. Nine or More Wins
Folks, it hasn't happened since 1999. Speaking of nine wins, nine was Tyler Russell's age the last time it happened.
I certainly don't mean to sound greedy or ungrateful for the recent improvements Coach Mullen has brought to the Mississippi State football program...BUT, for the love of God and all that is holy, can we please get over the hump and notch at least 9 wins this year? I wouldn't even bring this point up if this year's team wasn't capable of achieving this goal--but I am, and they are.
#2. Triumphant Tyler
Tyler Russell was recruited by Sylvester Croom. That fact has always worried me, and not for the reasons you're probably thinking. The thing that's always worried me about Tyler isn't Tyler's fault at all. I just can't ignore the glaring fact that Tyler Russell is not really the type of quarterback that is built for the type of offenses Dan Mullen is accustomed to having. He is built for the style of offenses Sylvester Croom was accustomed to having. If that experienced offensive line can stay healthy this year and give Russell time to throw, he's going to be dangerous. On the other hand, if Russell has to spend a lot of time scrambling--well, let's just hope that offensive line stays healthy. Let's all hope Tyler is able to rack up a lot of passing yards this season and give Croom something to beat his chest about.
#3. Auburn Victory
The bulldogs haven't beaten the East Georgia Tigers since 2007 under Sylvester Croom. The Auburn game is always very important because it seems as though the tone for the rest of the season is dictated by it's outcome. There is no better example of this than last year. Expectations were so high for last year's team and although the Bulldogs were clearly the better team, Auburn somehow found a way to keep Chris Relf out of the end zone. It felt like the entire 2011 season derailed on the one yard line in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Thankfully, the Bulldogs have the Tigers at home this year. Had it not been for
expensive talented Cameron Newton (and about a hundred dropped passes from Bulldog receivers), MSU could've pulled off a win the last time these rivals met at Davis-Wade.
Here's hoping for a Bulldog win...I'll even take a 3-2 victory!
#4. LSU Victory
What the hell, while we're wishing for victories, I'll throw the other Tigers in too. The Bulldogs haven't beaten these foes since 1999 and you have to go all the way back to 1991 to find a 'W' in Death Valley. The Bulldogs have a tough row to hoe as this year's schedule has them on LSU's turf, but I'm sure they--you know what, forget it. This win ain't happening. As a matter of fact, Wesley Carroll probably has a better shot at becoming the starting quarterback for the Patriot's next year.
#5. Pass Defense
This is a big area of concern and there has to be improvement here. The Bulldogs ranked eleventh in the SEC in pass defense last year and that was with the beast known as Fletcher Cox rushing the opposing quarterbacks. Johnthan Banks is the man to keep an eye on in this department as last year saw him tally five INT's, 14 passes defended, and 8 tackles for a loss. If another guy steps up and helps Banks out (I'm looking at you Corey Broomfield), then all will be well.
#6. LaDarius Perkins
Vick Ballard left some pretty big shoes to fill. While Mississippi State has traditionally been a "run-first, pass-second" type of offense, this year that trend seems to be shifting. Tyler Russell, unlike his predecessor, is not a running quarterback. While Vick Ballard enjoyed the guessing games he and Chris Relf made the opposing defenses play last year, Perkins unfortunately will not have that luxury. One would think this factor would discourage Perkins, but not so fast...
“I feel like throwing the ball more will open up the run easily. It will give us more space to run and that’s fine with me.”
I like his perspective.
#7. No Mullen Rumblings
I'm tired of the "Mullen's leaving MSU for _____" rumors that Bulldog fans have to put up with every December. There are some really big projects coming up for the Mississippi State football program and it's all been because of the hiring of Dan Mullen. This may not be the year that MSU returns to where it was in the late nineties, it may not be next year either, but if Mullen sticks around, it's going to happen. I suppose the annual rumors are to be expected with the price of success, but we can still hope right?
#8. Cowbell Responsibility
The Cowbell Tradition is alive and well this 2012 season. However, much like last season, the fate of the beloved cowbell for 2013 and beyond depends on all of us. Let's hope that all fan's continue to clang those cowbells responsibly...no matter how stupid and ignorant the cowbell usage rules are.
All joking aside, ring 'em responsibly folks.
#9. Continue The Bowling Streak
Going bowling is something a lot of SEC teams have just come to expect each year. Mississippi State fans are usually just thankful to be going to a bowl...any bowl. However, I've begin to notice that my thankfulness for a bowl bid the past two years is beginning to dwindle and slowly become replaced with something more. This is probably a feeling many other Bulldog fans are beginning to feel and, call me greedy, but I want something more than the Music City Bowl this year.
Nevertheless, a bowl seems likely with this years schedule.
#10. Another Egg Bowl Victory
Of course this is something all MSU fans hope continues in 2012. The TSUN fans love to suggest that we're obsessed with beating them and that it means more to us than it does to them. I tend to agree with them. Why the hell else do they think we've won it three times in a row? The end result is we continue to keep the trophy and count them as another victory during the regular season.
Seems to be a pretty good strategy to me.
Enjoy the 2012 season Bulldog fans, it'll be over before you know it!