Well, Ole Miss did it. They beat #6 LSU. It's something it seems we can't ever do. Beat LSU, that is. For some reason, and it's been this way for 50-60 years, OM plays out of their minds against the Tigers. We play like trash against them. Their win has turned some in the MSU fanbase upside down over the last 48 hours with the frustration that MSU has not won a big game during Mullen's tenure.
It's one game. They won one game. Zach Mettenberger played awful and that is the reason they won. I mean, credit to Ole Miss no doubt, they beat a superior LSU team without many of their horses, but Mett gave them that game. So I'm not going to freak out about it and claim Mullen just can't cut it in the SEC.
Let the season play out. What if LSU loses to Alabama and Texas A&M, then loses their bowl game? They'd be 8-5 and possibly out of the top 25. So, I mean, would that really be a signature win for Freeze? Florida started the year ranked #4 in 2010 when we beat them...they even spent five weeks in the top 10 that year yet our win in the Swamp is not labeled as a big win for Mullen. Can we just wait until the end of the year to determine how big OM's win was?
There are six games to go. Three of them are against teams ranked in the top 20, and then Ole Miss comes to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. They could, and probably will, be ranked in the top 20 for that game as well. That's four chances to get a big win. Let's just wait until the end of the year before freaking out.
I'm fine with setting the expectations that we need to perform better against good teams. I absolutely 100% agree with that, and my expectation for 2013 was to see MSU play a 4-quarter game in all 12 games this season. So far that hasn't happened twice - OSU and LSU. At the same time, however, the team continues to grow, develop and the season is not over. There are more chances for Mullen to prove he can get this team to where they are ready to knock off quality teams.
I believe Mullen has earned every penny he's received from Mississippi State University to this point. He has changed the script as far as how we view our program and he has built a rock solid foundation to build on. The problem is, I'm not sure if he can get our guys to the next level mentality - to where they are performing at a higher level as a team to win big games. That question, for me at least, will probably get answered in the 2nd half of the season.
The MSU/OM rivalry is huge. What Ole Miss does is important because it affects recruiting and everything else. At the same time, though, we're two totally different programs. Who we are and what we're doing are not the same. We are the tortoise, they are the hare - it's been that way for years. They will win some, we will win some. But let's not act like they're about to win the West (something they've never done) just because they pulled off a win after losing three in a row. Good for them, but let's rally behind our guy for this stretch run and make our own memories.