The 2014 football season is over. It flew by quickly but left a memorable trail of defining moments behind. After having a couple of days to digest State's loss in the Orange Bowl, I am not disappointed. I am not angry with Dan Mullen or any of the coaches or players. It was an admirable performance against a talented football team. Some fans seem to have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth after an anti-climactic conclusion to the season and I simply can't understand how anyone could feel that way.
This football season was unbelievable. It went beyond what any of us thought this program was capable of. It changed the way the college football nation views Mississippi State. Take a look at the big picture and there's no way anyone can logically be disappointed with the 2014 Bulldogs.
Ending a 14 year losing streak to LSU in a sold out and hostile Death Valley, a huge revenge win against Texas A&M, and a victory over Auburn that truly commanded respect from everyone in college football, all by the midpoint of the season. Then grinding out wins against Kentucky and Arkansas and giving Bama a run in Tuscaloosa. Everything happened on a grander scale and with more on the line than ever before.
The Bulldogs were the #1 ranked team in America for five weeks after never holding the top spot for the previous 118 years. They were at the center of the playoff discussion all year long and after barely missing the fourth spot in the playoff, notching a 10-2 record, and finishing the year ranked in the top 10, MSU earned a bid in one of the most prestigious bowls in all of college football. Statistically, it was the best regular season State has ever had.
Two things stick out to me more than anything else, though. First, we completely avoided the seemingly ever-present "Mississippi State Moment." You likely know what I'm talking about. When State gets its fans' hopes up and then falls on its face. (i.e. starting 7-0 in 2012 and then losing 5 its last 6 games.)
There was never a time this year where I said to myself "Ugh, of course this happened. It happens every time." Instead those frustrating moments were replaced with moments of complete adulation where I was in a shock of happiness watching this team. I think some texts I exchanged with a friend during the Auburn game sum this up nicely:
A corner was turned in 2014 and I'm not sure exactly what we did to deserve such a change in fortune but I'm glad it finally happened.
And second, over a decade's worth of demons were exercised and laid to rest this year. 14 years of mediocrity were forgotten over the course 12 weeks and hopefully they will never return. We can't think that we're just a one hit wonder or that all we saw was a one hundred year flood. This team can do it again, and I believe they will.
Don't let the last two games of the year spoil such a special season. This was a magnificent and unforgettable year on the gridiron and nothing can take that away. Down the road, we'll look at this year as it truly was, one of the greatest seasons in MSU history, and hopefully we'll also be able to look back at 2014 as the start of a long string of great seasons. But right now all we can do is appreciate the year past and wait patiently for September 5th, 2015.