As the basketball gods raised us from the ashes of a smoldering wasteland and the baseball gods unabashedly flipped us the bird while riding mud-caked tricycles through our living rooms, we’ve been put on notice by the sycophants scurrying about the feet of the football gods. Their multitude of lists, which people devour in the doldrums of the off season with ravenous boredom, portend our imminent doom. The potential has been reached. The talent is gone. The coach is a man among giants. And the lack of returning starters—Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick!—where are all the starters?!!
Thus spake the internet:
Was last year MSU’s ceiling? A team with all of that talent still lost to SEC West kingpin Alabama, still lost to rival Ole Miss and still couldn’t win a major bowl game.
Sporting News – Ranking Dan Mullen 11th on a list of the SEC’s head football coaches
A near unanimous choice as the SEC’s biggest letdown coming off a second-place finish out West, we’re not convinced the Bulldogs have the depth along the offensive line to hang and there’s still crippling issues that need to be solved in the secondary. Dak’s back and that will help, but replacing 15 starters in the starting 22 is quite worrisome.
Saturday Down South – Ranking MSU 10th in a "Post-spring SEC power ranking"
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is charged with maintaining the program's position near the top of the SEC West in 2015, but he must do so with some significant roster attrition, which will be challenging to overcome. Three starters are gone off an offensive line that was vital to last season's success, as is bowling ball/running back Josh Robinson and five of seven starters on a defensive front that was one of the best in the SEC in 2015 . . . . Mississippi State is bound to take a step back in 2015.
Bleacher Report – Ranking MSU 10th in a spring power ranking
Mississippi State enters the season with the SEC’s top quarterback in Dak Prescott, but the senior will be without three of his offensive linemen that were a crucial part of the Bulldogs’ success in 2014. Starting wideout De'Runnya Wilson is back, but Prescott and company will also be without the services of running back Josh Robinson. After losing five of seven starters from one of the nation’s top defensive fronts, how much of a dive will the Bulldogs’ defense take this season?
AL.com – Ranking MSU 10th in a spring power ranking
With so many key members of the 2014 squad gone -- Ben Beckwith, Bernardrick McKinney, Preston Smith, Jamerson Love, Blaine Clausell, Josh Robinson, etc. -- Mississippi State might be the onlySEC West team that has regressed from last season. Already there's talk in some corners the Bulldogs could regress all the way to the division cellar, and if that may be premature -- Mullen has earned more of the benefit of the doubt than that, hasn't he? -- it's fair to say that without the stars of 2014, this is the least-talented team (on paper) in the West.
CBS Sports - Ranking MSU as the most overrated team in Dennis Dodd’s preseason Top 25
The Bulldogs have the best quarterback in the conference (Dak Prescott) and they have the confidence that comes with spending a bunch of time at No. 1 last season. But here are the important numbers: 15 letter men were lost from last season’s 10-3 team. Of that total, 11 of them had lettered for four years. Dan Mullen and his staff have recruited well and are known for developing their players. We’ll see if they have done it well enough to keep Mississippi State as a contender in 2015.
Tony Barnhardt - Ranking MSU 7th in the SEC West in his preseason rankings
Well, folks, I guess we're screwed.
Never mind that all that "talent" we lost arrived on campus a few years ago as part of what the media at the time dubbed a laughably bad recruiting class. Never mind that the "least talented team" in the West is replacing those two-, three- and no-star nobodies—most of whom are in the NFL now—with players that, "on paper," are more talented. Never mind that most defensive "starters" from last year that we lost rarely played more than 60% of any given game because of our (at times ill-conceived) strategy of wholesale lineup changes. Never mind that the defenders who caught 11 of our 16 interceptions last year return. Never mind that the two-star and walk-on offensive lineman that we lost—to the NFL—are being replaced by more highly recruited upperclassmen, or that the blue-chip JUCO offensive tackle we signed last year may enter the season as a backup for one of those upperclassmen. Never mind that players responsible for over 70% of our receiving yards and touchdown receptions are back, including our top two receivers. And never mind that our returning running backs were all more highly recruited than Josh Robinson, that the two who got playing time in every game last year each averaged over 5.8 yards per carry, that every starting running back Mullen has coached at State has made it to the NFL, or that our "other" 1,000 yard rusher last year (some dude named Clack Wainscott or something) is back.
Yep, it’s all over, people. Expect regression, but prepare for complete and utter disaster.
If you need a shoulder to cry on this fall, come back around. We'll be converting our site to a whisky review database, but we'll leave open a message board for former football fans with anxiety disorders.
Both of State's 2012 and 2013 classes were ranked in the Top 25 nationally by 247Sports, well above the obvious train wrecks in 2010 and 2011 that yielded a bunch of bums like Kaleb Eulls, Matt Wells, Malcolm Johnson, Vick Ballard, Jay Hughes, Dillon Day, Blaine Clausell, Ben Beckwith, Benardrick McKinney, Dak Prescott, Josh Robinson, Justin Malone, Darius Slay, Preston Smith, Justin Cox, and Taveze Calhoun. (For the uninitiated, every one of those dudes is either a starter right now or in the NFL.)
Dak actually had 986 yards rushing last year, not 1,000. Whatever. Numbers are just funny-shaped words, man. Back off.