Viva Stark-Vegas

I'm not at all surprised to see Dan Mullen get a head coaching job. With his football background, successful offenses and personality, Mullen has a lot to offer any program. But I am surprised to see Florida's offensive coordinator decide to launch his coaching career at Mississippi State.

It's not that the Bulldogs' job doesn't have some positives. Mullen gets to coach in the best conference in the country and in the weaker of the SEC's two divisions. He won't have difficulty getting his players into school and he has a loyal and vocal albeit smallish fan base. I have always found the people in Starkville to be incredibly pleasant and the cost of living is another plus.

That said Mississippi State is one of the two toughest jobs in the league. There's a reason why Sylvester Croom was named coach of the year for going 8-5 in 2007. Only Vanderbilt has a smaller stadium than David Wade Stadium at Scott Field, and you can't exactly sell prospects on the entertaining night life.

Mullen takes over a team desperate for offense. The Bulldogs were held to 17 points or less eight times this season, five times not even reaching double figures. Quarterback Tyson Lee (1,519, 7/5) returns as does their top runner Anthony Dixon (869, 4.4, 7) and receiver Brandon McCrae (51, 10.2, 3). State scored just 23 offensive touchdowns last season.

Mullen's new team will have to rebuild defensively as well. Five of the top tacklers on this year's Bulldog defense were seniors.

The one thing that does work in Mullen's favor is the level of interest major schools will have if he does have success in Starkville. Let's face it; Mississippi State has had one winning season in eight years. In that time the Bulldogs have posted a record of 29-65.

So the bar is set pretty low in Starkville, and while State is what I would call a "low ceiling" job, it's a head coaching job in a BCS conference. There are only about 64 of them and they all pay really well. Mullen served the Gators well in his four seasons at Florida and I have no doubt he will out-perform his predecessor at Mississippi State.

Fightin Gators Top Stories