I remember being a kid and going on youth retreats or playing games in school and one of the games we use to play was Chinese whispers.
Chinese Whispers is a game played around the world, in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group.
Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said to guarantee a changed message by the end of the line.
Mississippi State and Mississippi fans seem to argue over anything. Who has the best quarterback, tailgate area, who can make the best tailgate food and more.
It seems though, over the last five years, Mississippi fans have been playing a continued game of Chinese whispers when it comes to Mississippi State’s football strength of schedule.
If you are the “average” college football fan and got to discussing Mississippi State’s football schedule, you would think the Bulldogs have simply played bottom beaters, when this is hardly the case.
So where is the truth in all of this and why has Ole Miss fan been so adamant that the Bulldogs never play anyone and have said this so much, that they truly believe it to be true?
Well, let’s answer the second part first.
Mississippi State is on one heck of a run under Dan Mullen. Four straight bowl games, four straight winning seasons and Mullen is, as we know 4-1 against Mississippi.
If you dive into the mind of an Ole Miss fan, this is simply not and I mean NOT supposed to happen. They are the football school of choice in Mississippi, they are “recruiting U” and they have a street named 18.
For Mississippi State to have football success it has to be something other than they are a pretty darn good team.
They have tried trashing Mississippi State’s recruiting rankings but, that has just about played out. How can you trash a team’s recruiting when they beat you on a regular basis?
So – it has to be the schedule right? I mean the Bulldogs play Alcorn and Jackson State for God sakes. That’s what it is! The schedule, they might as well be in the SWAC!
Well – actually that’s not true either. Yes, Mississippi State has played Alcorn and Jackson State, multiple times but, every SEC school schedules down to some degree in their non-conference scheduling.
You may schedule Idaho, Jacksonville State, Troy or even Samford and LA Monroe.
The fact is, nobody plays four strong out of conference games in a given year and Mississippi State has actually played their fair share of non-conference powers in the past.
So how have the Bulldogs fared since Mullen has been in Starkville on the schedule front, since all you hear, is how weak their schedule is, you might ask?
His first year the Bulldogs finished the year, with an SOS (strength of schedule), of 7th in the nation per BCSToys.com – All of these can be seen here by the way.
In 2010, the year the Bulldogs beat Michigan in the Gator Bowl, the Dawgs ended up with the – 7th hardest schedule in the country – again.
2011 saw the Bulldogs again go bowling and again play an impressive schedule that ranked 11th in the country.
2012 was the “We Believe” season that saw State start off 7-0 and BY GOD IT WAS THE SCHEDULE BECAUSE YOU LOST FIVE OF SIX TO END THE YEAR AGAINST REAL TEAMS!
Again, the Bulldogs played the 13th hardest schedule in the country.
2013 saw the Bulldogs again make post season and play the 4th toughest schedule in the good ole US of A.
So again, I pose the question, why has Ole Miss fan been so adamant the Bulldogs schedule is weak, over a period where the Bulldogs have a composite schedule ranking of 8th versus the Rebs composite ranking of 15?
Because there has to be a reason; there has to be a reason these guys in Starkville are winning.
This fall, the Bulldogs actually play the weakest schedule they will have had under Dan Mullen. The Bulldogs have the 12th hardest schedule in the SEC and as I previously state here, Bulldog fans should not apologize for their schedule strength as it’s about time things fall their way on the schedule docket.
But – even after all of this, there will still be those who truly believe the Bulldogs just don’t play anyone.
They have played this game of Chinese Whispers at nausea and truly believe it.
Just look, they are already convincing themselves of it again and we haven’t even played the first game of 2014.