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"Get Back in Your Place, Mississippi State"

Pardon me while I rant.

Butch Dill

Part I

There is a common theme that runs through the media and permeates the SEC right now, and in recent months. It's that Mississippi State has not only reached it's ceiling, but is the very worst program in the SEC West.

"Miss. State is pretty good, but the SEC West is too tough, and they will never be anything better than mediocre".

I've heard it enough. I hate the term "Miss. State", but that's another issue. I'm tired of folks trying to pass off their opinion as fact and MSU fans taking them at face value.

I'm a realist. I know where we are. I know we aren't one of the big boys. I know our shot at winning the West is extremely long at best. But that doesn't mean we can't get better and challenge for the division one day. We don't have to take a back seat to anyone and just accept mediocrity because we are told to.

Do you remember what the same talking heads said about Steve Spurrier at South Carolina his first five years there? They all said he couldn't win the East because you just can't win like that at South Carolina. They questioned a man who won a ACC title at Duke! A man who dominated the SEC while at Florida winning SIX titles plus a national title. But here he is - he did win the East in 2010 and has followed it up with back-to-back 11 win seasons. Now the Gamecocks are a national title contender.....AT SOUTH CAROLINA.

Is Dan Mullen as good as the 'ole ball coach? No. That's not the comparison. But if it can be done there, at a school where they hadn't won squat, ever, then it can be done. It may take years and years, I don't know. But it can be done. We don't have to settle for good enough. We don't have to let the talking heads 'put us in our place' for wanting more.

These same pundits said Ole Miss was the worst one year ago today. Now they got Bear fever. They fluctuate based on the moment they're in because they have no perspective....they only see what they want to see.

It's all about perception, and perception matters. If folks go on and on about how State can't do this or that because they simply can't do it and those are just the facts, and that is the perception people have then it becomes the truth. It matters because perception is 90% of recruiting. And recruiting is 90% of winning.

Part II

It really grates on me when I see or hear fans from opposing schools make fun of lesser programs. To act like they have superiority over someone because their favorite school is better either at the moment or over history.

I'm not talking about Ole Miss here - they can say what they want. They are our rival, and they hold the bragging rights. I'm talking about fans from schools like Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Florida State, wherever. Or even for a Mississippi State fan who would make fun of Southern or Troy.

I could have gone to Alabama if I wanted to. Could have gone to Georgia. I nearly went to Auburn, but I didn't - I went to, and graduated from, Mississippi State University. I mean, congratulations fan of ____ on attending school there, but that doesn't mean you are better than me because the football team your school puts on the field is better than mine.

What irritates me the most is when I see fans of bigger football programs try to step all over State fans, like 'I don't even know why you care because y'all will never be good'.

Mississippi State fans could have attended your school. It's not that hard to get into a SEC school (other than Vandy). But since we didn't, since we went to a school with a historically mediocre football program, we are a laughing stock for even wanting to be a fan of our football program? God forgive us for wanting to improve and have a better team.

When I was at State I saw folks wearing shirts to class of other schools. The R.A. in my freshman dorm was a huge Alabama fan. I didn't understand that and still don't, but you see how silly this complex is. And person from any walk of life can simply claim to be a fan of any school. If I wanted to, tomorrow I could just become a LSU fan and then I'd have a big time winner to cheer for and my fandom 'would have a purpose'.

It doesn't take much to be a fan of one of those schools. When you perennially win at least 8-10 games it has to be easy to keep buying season tickets and contributing to the athletic department. I consider myself a pretty big Braves fan, and they win a lot (in the regular season that is); but I found it hard to keep watching faithfully through the losing from 2006-2009. It was difficult to turn it on every night and watch until the bitter end. I'm the same way with the Falcons. The last 5 years have been fun, but during the off years it is hard to keep tuning in each week. Winning teams spoil you. You expect excellence and don't like it when there is a down year. I bleed maroon. In my 5 years at State these were our win totals: 3, 2, 3, 3, 3. I was there every week. I went to 10 road games over those years and we lost them by an average of 20 points. I held on to the faint hope that we might win a big one, and I wanted to be there to see it. I still remember going to the Alabama game in 2006 BY MYSELF because none of my friends or my fiancee would go with me - but we won and I enjoyed every minute of it. Never have I been so happy driving through Reform, Alabama. Even though my football team was pathetic, I still loved them and cherished every win.

Don't tell us how to think. Don't tell us how good we can be or how great your program is. We all know where we stand in the SEC and in the country. You are not better than me. I am not better than an Alcorn State fan. I'll root for my school and you can root for yours, but don't you dare look down on me for it or I'll bust you open with my cowbell. CLANGA. HAIL STATE.

rant over.