While Ole Miss will look up at Mississippi State in the SEC standings for the fifth consecutive year, the Rebels have made some headlines on signing day under the direction of head coaches Ed Orgeron, Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze, but that has not always translated into on the field success, especially against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State has been "out recruited" by the Rebels for most of the last decade according to industry wide standards, but on the field, Mississippi State holds a 6-3 advantage over Ole Miss during the those three coaches tenures.
Dan Mullen will look to add to his 4-1 record against Ole Miss as the Mississippi State head coach this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Oxford for the annual grudge match.
The Bulldogs are in a must win situation if they expect to remain in contention for the SEC Western Division crown and the first ever FBS national playoff. No matter the outcome of this weekend's game, Mullen is not sure that many prospects will be swayed by the final score.
"I have been here for six years and I don't know that the game has a huge impact on recruiting," said Mullen in a one-on-one interview. "I really don't.
"I mean we've won the game more than we've lost. We've lost the game before and we still got players."
Mullen's one loss in the series came in 2012 and the Bulldogs were able to land a top 20 class, while Ole Miss pushed into the top ten. During his tenure as the top Dawg in Starkville, Dan Mullen has only been able to claim signing day superiority over the in state rival just once.
While State fans have to sort of grin and beat it at the water cooler when talk of four and fives stars takes place around the water cooler at work in early February, the Bulldogs can do their best boasting in November when the games are played.
Recruiting is a means to an end and that end is winning football games and the 2014 Dogs are doing their share of winning.
Mississippi State will roll into Oxford with ten regular season wins under their belt and a lot more to play for, while the Rebels are relegated to playing spoiler.
While fans and pundits alike suggest the the outcome of the "big game" may have some level of influence on a prospect's college decision, Mullen believes that the total body of work and the effort that goes into recruiting a prospect for the better part of two years means more than what may or may not happen on one Saturday afternoon.
"I think kids look a lot more into what type of program they want to be in," Mullen shared. "I think they want to find the program that fits them better. I think that means more to them than who actually has the trophy in any given year."