Everyone knew going into the 2012 season that Derek Dooley, Gene Chizik, and Joker Phillips were in need of strong seasons to keep their day jobs as coaches in the nations best football conference. Now that all 3, along with interim Arkansas coach John L. Smith have moved on and there are 4 new coaches in the SEC heading into the 2013 season.
Fans of Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, and Arkansas are all fired up about their new coaches but will certainly give them time before expecting SEC titles. Here is where other coaches in the league stand when it comes to their fanbases.
1). We have the greatest living coach (Bama, SC)
2). We have the next Saban (A&M, Ole Miss)
3). We are happy with our guys results but he's not the greatest (Mizzou, UGA, Florida, LSU)
4). He's won at a better rate than anyone we've ever had, please stay (Vandy)
5). He better win this year or I'm done (Miss St)
There's your hot seat ladies and gentlemen. Dan Mullen was the next big thing in college football in 2010. Gator fans wanted him to replace Urban Meyer. Georgia fans wanted him to replace Mark Richt. After knocking off #22 Florida and destroying mighty Michigan in the Gator Bowl, Mississippi State fans were thrilled their team was relevant again and saw bigger things in years to come.
However, 2011 was a disappointing 7-6 with only 2 SEC wins and after a fast start last year,
the Bulldogs limped to a 8-5 season by dropping 5 of their final 6, capped off by a 2 TD loss to Northwestern.
So Coach Mullen has found himself in that spot where he has a lack of signature wins or won/loss improvement, and the feeling in Mississippi that the Rebs are about to be leaps and bounds ahead of the cow bell ringin' Bulldogs from Starkville.
Another fast start isn't likely, with an opener against Oklahoma State, a trip to Auburn, and a home date with LSU in the seasons first 6 weeks. But Coach Mullen may need that again to help offset a stretch of at South Carolina, at A&M, and vs Alabama in November.
I don't think Dan Mullen gets fired this year as I expect the Bulldogs to be much improved this year and his recruiting class is in good shape being led by monster recruit Chris Jones. However, there are a lot of fans wanting to take that next step and the pressure will certainly start to mount without another fast start.
Losing that opener to the Pokes won't cost Mullen his job, but it can definitely make it more secure.