In 113 years of Mississippi State football, no coach has ever led his team to four consecutive bowl games.
Dan Mullen has an opportunity to be that guy.
Mullen and Jackie Sherrill are the only coaches at MSU to lead teams to three bowl games in a row, and another bowl win would give Mullen the most in school history.
Sherrill went 3-8 in 2001 when attempting to reach a bowl in four consecutive years. State sits at 2-3 entering the midway point of the season facing Bowling Green and Kentucky the next two games.
The Bulldogs can ill afford a letdown on homecoming this weekend.
Another important thing to consider is that Mullen hasn’t really lost a game he seemingly shouldn’t have. Sure, there have been several times where Mississippi State had a chance to come out on top and didn’t and a few games against top opponents where things got out of hand. But there have not been any losses to teams like Troy or Maine on his watch.
For the most part, Mullen has made the Bulldogs a formidable opponent each week. But for the Bulldogs to go bowling for a fourth straight year, there is plenty of work that still has to be done.
MSU should win its next two but would need to get two more during the month of November to reach that magic number. The November schedule is brutal for Mississippi State going on the road for three of their final five SEC games. Road wins at South Carolina and Texas A&M will be hard to come by and beating Alabama anywhere is highly unlikely.
The next two home contests to close out October could go a long way in determining if the Bulldogs keep their bowl streak alive.
Looking at the slate coming into the year, I predicted MSU going 4-5 with toss up games against Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs have already dropped the Auburn game 24-20 and those last two could very well make or break the season. That loss to the Tigers could loom large late in the year.
Wins over Bowling Green, Kentucky, Arkansas and Ole Miss would even State’s record at 6-6 for the season and should put it into another bowl. It would not be a banner year by any stretch of the imagination – but again, reaching four straight bowl games is something that has never happened in Starkville.
Logan Lowery (logan.lowery@ journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal.