It's been a frustrating couple of weeks.
After the largest victory over LSU in program history, Mississippi State has fallen victim to Georgia and Auburn by a combined 67 points the last two Saturdays.
These shellackings the Bulldogs have taken have been an extremely discouraging sight for State fans. Furthermore, statistics from major media outlets across the country are piling on to the frustrations of many.
Not great pic.twitter.com/1mIyXdZNPS— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 1, 2017
That one has been thrown around a plethora of times since Saturday.
Two weeks ago, Dan Mullen was heralded as the second-best coach in the SEC, one of the most underrated coaches in the country, and he will get up and leave Mississippi State in no time.
This week, however, he is considered overrated.
State fans are annoyed by the fact that MSU seemingly can't get over the hump. We can string together 8-9 win seasons and finish in the top half of the SEC West, but we have never been able to compete with the best teams in the land. Because of this, there have been people calling for the heads of many Bulldog coaches — including Dan Mullen.
Those fans need to realize something. The reason why we can't compete for national titles is because we're Mississippi State. We have never been able to compete for national titles. These sudden struggles that Mullen has faced over the last nine years against ranked opponents are obstacles that every coach in the history of Mississippi State football haven't been able to conquer.
This isn't new at all. This is just a continuation of the norm, except on a much more successful level.
Dan Mullen is, without a doubt, one of the greatest coaches in program history. Currently, he is two wins away from surpassing College Football Hall of Fame member Allyn McKeen as State's second-winningest coach ever. Among coaches who have led the Bulldogs for at least five seasons, he has the third-best winning percentage ever (.592), only behind W.D. Chadwick's .698 and McKeen's .764.
Those two men coached during both World Wars.
Furthermore, Mullen has the most bowl appearances (seven) and bowl victories (five) of all-time.
Probably the most revered coach in Mississippi State history is Jackie Sherrill. "The Kang" is the winningest coach in program history, with 75 victories to his credit, during his 13 years in charge. He inherited a program that had been in the gutter of college football over the entirety of its existence and turned into a winner.
Many have criticized Dan Mullen for his "inability" to win big games. That 2-15 record in ranked matchups comes to mind. But, if you do a little research, Jackie Sherrill wasn't much better. JWS boasted a 4-15 record in ranked-versus-ranked games, just two contests better while facing a much worse SEC than what Mullen has dealt with the last nine seasons.
Moreover, Jackie Sherrill never had to face Nick Saban-led Alabama. Four of Mullen's 15 losses in ranked contests have come against Alabama, and he has faced a number-one ranked team four times during his tenure. On the other hand, Sherrill faced the number one team in the country once in his 13 seasons, against Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game.
My point for saying this is that the level of competition against which Dan Mullen has coached is exponentially more difficult than what Jackie Sherrill and past Mississippi State coaches have seen, and Mullen is leading one of the most successful periods in Bulldog football history.
State fans have every right to be irked by the last two weeks. 28 and 39 point losses are downright disappointing. However, don't let these losses fool you.
Georgia and Auburn are flat out better than State. Their programs are superior, in addition to talent on the rosters. It's extremely rare when a Bulldog team can defeat teams that are talented to the extent of those two, especially on the road. Dan Mullen has difficulty accomplishing it, but so has seemingly every coach that has preceded him.
The Mississippi State football program is still as high as ever. In terms of getting to the postseason, it is one of the most consistent programs in college football today. Dan Mullen is still leading State to heights it hasn't seen in years, regardless of how we fare against the nation's elite.