Thirty-three wins over the last four seasons. The No. 1 ranking in both the AP and Coaches Poll. The No. 1 ranking in the first ever college football playoff poll. A berth in the Orange Bowl, and bowl eligibility all four seasons that they played. The accomplishments of the Mississippi State senior class that will be honored tonight speak to their talents and special place in the history of Bulldog football.
The 33 wins are tied for the second most for any class in Starkville. The 2000 seniors reached this mark, and only the senior class of 1942 had more wins with 34. A victory tonight puts this squad into a tie with that team, and an additional win in a bowl game would move the squad of seniors into first place all alone.
The Bulldogs had not played in one of the top tier bowl games since the 1940 season, but these players powered Mississippi State to the Orange Bowl in an amazingly exciting 2014 season. That season provided many memories to all Bulldog fans. Who can forget knowing that Mississippi State would ascend to the top spot as they were beating Auburn? Who can forget how awesome it was to see Mississippi State take the field as the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time when they took on Kentucky? How awesome was it watching everyone break out flashlights while singing Don't Stop Believin'?
These players helped give Bulldog fans things they had never experienced before. They also helped put Mississippi State on a level that the program had not been before. Only a couple of times in history had people mentioned Mississippi State playing for a national title, and they were usually only mentioned in wild scenarios. Not so last year. The Bulldogs were legitimate title contenders.
The players all bring their own stories and accomplishments to the celebration today. Dak Prescott thrust himself into the spotlight during his sophomore season with his heroics in the 2013 Egg Bowl. Will Redmond will leave with many feeling that he may have been one of the most wronged players in terms of punishment in the recent history of college football. Who didn't enjoy watching Taveze Calhoun take someone to Suplex City on a tackle.
While those seniors will be celebrated, there is a good chance that some juniors are playing their final games in Starkville. De'Runnya Wilson has been one of the most exciting big play receivers ever at MSU, and he could leave after this season. The same might be said for Fred Ross. Chris Jones might move on to the next level as well after this season. Those decisions will be played out over the following weeks.
In the end, Bulldog fans can only applaud the efforts of all of these players. This crew helped to place Mississippi State on the road for continued success like the program has not seen in some time. The challenge is now on the younger classes and incoming players to move the Bulldogs further down that road.