This being Egg Bowl week, the braggadocio is in full effect for Mullen and his Mississippi State team, which hosts Ole Miss on Saturday. The third-year coach established a tone for this rivalry in 2009 and has backed up every word.
With a win on Saturday night, MSU can have three consecutive Egg Bowl wins for the first time in nearly 70 years - coach Allyn McKeen led the Bulldogs to four straight from 1939-42.
Following last season's 31-23 triumph, Mullen said in the locker room, "We're never losing to this team again." His players believe him.
"I think that's true," senior right tackle Addison Lawrence said. "I know we're not going to lose this year; we're not planning on it."
While such talk is not uncommon to rivalry games, Mullen has made it a point to distinguish Egg Bowl week from every other game week. One way of doing that is how he talks about it, and how he talks about Ole Miss - or as he calls it, The School Up North.
It's an approach similar to that of Jackie Sherrill, who used to refer to MSU's chief rival only as Mississippi. It's a departure from the style of predecessor Sylvester Croom, who understood the rivalry but didn't talk it up in the manner Mullen does.
"The reason we do it is because we have to make sure our kids know that this game is different and our approach has to be different to this game," Mullen said. "... Within our program, by how we refer to their school and having a (countdown) clock in our locker room and all of those things, it changes the mindset of the players when you get to this week.
"They know this is not just the next game on the schedule. This is a different game."
The players have embraced Mullen's brash approach. They talk like him, speaking of how the Bulldogs will win this game.
"It's a matter of swagger, confidence, and if you have that, it kind of translates and trickles down to your team," said Lawrence. "If we can catch onto that, that's fine."
He later added, "I think heating it up can only make it funner. It just adds to it, makes it more exciting."
Lawrence's brother, linebacker Cam Lawrence, said Mullen's verbal sparring adds no extra pressure on the players to win the Egg Bowl.
"That's part of a rivalry game," he said.
Sense of history
Melvin Smith has been on both sides of the rivalry. The cornerbacks coach is in the sixth season of his second tenure at MSU - he also coached here from 1995-2001 - and he was an Ole Miss assistant from 1992-94.
The 53-year-old, who is from Magee, is as familiar with the rivalry as anybody. This will be Smith's 16th Egg Bowl to coach in, and he has seen up close how different coaches approach it.
"I think everybody takes on their own personality of this," he said. "All I know is our message, and coach's message to us, (is) this is an important game. We talk about this game all the time."
Smith went on to talk about how big the game is to fans every day of the year, and of households and families divided by the rivalry during this week.
"It's important at breakfast, it's important at lunch, and it's important at night. That's just the way it is. If you don't understand that, you've really got a problem."
Mullen has understood the rivalry from Day 1, even though he's from New Hampshire and was only in the SEC four years before coming to State. After arriving from Florida, where he'd been offensive coordinator, it didn't take Mullen long to start the smack, using the term The School Up North and classifying Ole Miss as a curse word.
Smith said Mullen did a lot of research to attain a sense of history regarding the rivalry. He's aware of the stretch of dominance Ole Miss had a half-century or so ago, when the Rebels went 14-0-2 against MSU between 1947-63.
Ole Miss leads the overall series 60-41-6, but the teams have split the last 10 meetings, which is what Mullen is more focused on.
"That to me is what makes it a great rivalry, that it's not a one-sided deal," Mullen said. "If it's one-sided, it tends to be maybe not as big a rivalry."
He was then asked if he wanted to keep the Egg Bowl one-sided. Mullen grinned and gave a cryptic answer.
"I'll keep it one-sided. I'll make sure we keep it a rivalry."
What might Mullen say if MSU were to lose to Ole Miss? When asked that question, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was taken aback.
"That's not in my thought process," he said. "As a Mississippi State football player, we don't lose."