W hat makes college football so great is the passion of its fans. Passion coupled with blind loyalty…the kind of loyalty that will take you over a waterfall of hope if you’re not careful.
Enter Mississippi State. A perennial loser whose fan base has had to settle for Bama’s castoffs both on and off the field (State, again, NOBODY wanted Sylvester Croom as a head coach until we interviewed him. NOBODY. Bama’s interview gave him the cred he needed to land your discounted job).
MSU is a program that looks at an 8-4 year and says to itself, “Hey, that was a great year”, with a fan base that calls the Chick-fil-A bowl a noble goal for any football season.
Utter the word “championship” in Starkville and the locals will think there’s a new kid on the block to give Frito Lay or Golden Flake a run for their money.
Sitting at 7-0, the Mississippi State Bulldogs had achieved nominal success in 2012. Enough success to have them perched just outside the top 10, at #11. Enough success to make their fans believe. Enough belief, in fact, to make them do stupid things like this:
And inexplicably, this:
But as Dan Mullen made his way across the field to shake hands with the author of the butt-whipping his team had just received…a trek that saw him make his way onto the field even before regulation had ended (as if to say, “no mas”)…that belief died a grisly death.
The only thing that separated the Bulldogs from a shut-out was Bama’s third team defense. Had the Tide wanted to deliver a goose egg to their Starkville friends across the way, they could have.
But 38-7 was enough. Enough to stop ridiculous talk of empty beliefs. Enough to end silly tweets with MSU fans holding signs all around the world. Enough to stop another fan base (for now) taping things to our statues while telling themselves they’re really doing something.
38-7 said we’re better than you, and will be for quite some time. 38-7 said shut up and go back to your state that still ranks #1 in obesity and #50 in education. 38-7 said you can hoop, holler and make dog noises all you want, but nothing can save you when Nick Saban has you in his sights.
As our friends across the state are learning the hard way, there is no substitute for doing things the long and arduous way. Cultish beliefs and efforts to convince yourself you’re something you’re not are of no use.
38-7 said shut up and go back to work if you really want to believe you have a chance against us. And 38-7 said, in unison from those wearing maroon Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium:
“We don’t believe anymore.”