Mississippi State director of athletics Scott Stricklin discusses the Bulldogs bowl bid to the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech.
“On behalf of Dr. (Mark) Keenum and our university, and obviously our players and our coaches and staff, students and alumni, we’re very excited to be going to the Capital One Orange Bowl. Mississippi State has been there before, but it’s been a few years, like 74 years. We’re excited to head back down to South Florida and let a new generation of Mississippi State fans experience what is one of the premier bowl experiences in all of college football, and really one of the premier experiences in all of college athletics. The current stadium where we’re going to be playing is where the Miami Dolphins play. They’ve hosted five Super Bowls there. There’s a lot of history there. They’ve hosted two BCS National Championships, one of which Coach (Dan) Mullen helped the Florida Gators win a national title in. I actually had a chance to go down two years ago at the BCS game and got to see first-hand their unbelievable hospitality. And just the way that the Orange Bowl runs their operation is really impressive. It’s hard to be in a better location than Miami in South Florida around New Year’s. It’s a wonderful setting, and we’re awfully excited about that.”
“I know that we’re going to have a lot of fans. Mississippi State fans have taken over Jacksonville. We took over Nashville a few years back. Last year in Memphis, we covered up Beale Street and I know that we’ll do the same in Miami. I know it’s a little bit farther, but for comparison’s sake, it’s nearly the same distance as Omaha (College World Series) — 15 miles difference than the trip from here to Omaha. We took Omaha over when we were there for a national championship in baseball the year before that. I know that we’re going to have a great turnout.”
“This is a special group of young men, and they deserve to have a great crowd there and a great bowl experience. Our coaches and staff have done an unbelievable job of getting us to this point and our fans are a huge part of our success and why we’ve won 10 regular season games for the first time in school history and finished second in the SEC West. Our fans are a huge part of that and I know that Dan [Mullen] will speak to that as well, but we’re very excited. And since I have to introduce him, I’m just going to say that I haven’t seen any of the national coach of the year awards come out yet, but there’s no question in my mind that the job Dan Mullen has done here at Mississippi State deserves every one of those awards. He deserves SEC Coach of the Year awards. He can’t get enough credit for the unbelievable things that have happened in our football program under his leadership. It’s the first time that we’ve ever been to five straight bowl games. We’ve continued that streak. The consistent success that he’s brought and the expectations that he’s changed are a huge credit to him, his talents, and his abilities.”