With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.
Bio: Dan Mullen served alongside current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer during his tenures at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. Mullen began as a quarterback coach and was elevated to offensive coordinator upon his arrival in Gainesville.
While at Utah, he developed Alex Smith into a No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft after leading the Utes to an undefeated season. At Florida, Mullen’s offense was crucial in the Gators’ 2006 BCS Championship and in helping Tim Tebow win the 2008 Heisman Trophy.
He accepted the head coaching position at Mississippi State in 2009. The Bulldogs have made five consecutive bowl game appearances and hold a 46-31 (22-26 SEC) record under Mullen.
Notre Dame (GA)
Bowling Green (QB)
Reason For Ranking: Mullen led Mississippi State to its first No. 1 overall ranking in 2014. However, the team’s collapse down the stretch raises questions of whether he was deserving of a shared SEC Coach of the Year Award with Missouri’s Gary Pinkel.
The Bulldogs cruised to a 9-0 record with wins against inflated ranked rivals and small non-conference opponents but Mississippi State dropped three of its last four games, including a 49-34 Orange Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.
Mullen still saw his best finish in 2014, which helps his case for a Top-7 ranking but his lack of consistency places him out of the top-5, despite sharing the conference’s coach of the year honors.
|Texas A&M *|
|Louisiana Tech (HC)|
|Ole Miss *|
2015 Outlook: Mississippi State returns starting quarterback Dak Prescott. The senior is a Heisman hopeful who looks to build on the success of a career season in 2014.
However, the Bulldogs are returning an SEC-low seven starters — four on offense and three on defense — according to Phil Steele. Mississippi State also finds itself facing a tough SEC West schedule , but holds homefield advantage against Alabama and Ole Miss — the two teams responsible for its regular season losses.
Mullen’s legacy will be judged on the upcoming season. He needs to prove his legitimacy by adding another successful year to his tenure in Starkville, despite the challenges of turnover and tough competition.