Take it easy.
Pump the breaks a little bit.
Yes, we have a great team this year. Yes, it may be the best we’ve ever had. Yes, it’s easier to get excited when Ole Miss gets beat like a Cherokee drum at home.
But we all have to calm down. Breathe. We are yet to enter SEC play. We’ve played one power five opponent. Two of our games have been at home. None of our opponents rank in the top 25 in any meaningful category. We’ve performed exceedingly well against foes which we’re expected to perform exceedingly well against. We’ve been productive and dominant, but against lesser competition. I’m not saying we haven’t been tested…I’m more so saying that there are harder tests. All-night cramming, mental breakdown-giving, students begging for extra credit kind of tests. We welcome the one man that knows our roster as well as we do into Davis-Wade Stadium in two weeks’ time. We follow that up with a visit from Malzahn’s men of the plains. After that, Geaux Tigahs and RTR loom on the horizon. We have a long way to go. There’s reason for optimism, and there’s cause for excitement—but we’re only a quarter of the way there, and it would be wise to walk back the exuberance.
But when has watching college football ever been about doing the wise thing?
What kind of fans would we be if every time we had a good team, we stood around the water cooler talking about how good everybody is that appears on our schedule? Darn boring ones. The kind of fan that even fans of the same team don’t want to be around. We don’t have a good team, we have a great team. MSU leads all of college football in 20+ yard plays. Yes, that includes a game against Stephen F. Austin, but the golden boy in crimson just down the road hasn’t even led Nick Saban’s prolific offense to nearly the same amount of deep shots and long runs as our boys in maroon and white. In a time when most teams are getting some action against so-so programs, we’re the biggest deep play threat in America (eat your heart out nasty wideouts). We are number one in touchdown efficiency. Numero uno. In the whole country. We were the last team in the SEC to give up a sack, and the O-Line still leads the league in that category. The only criticisms of our team were a less than accurate passing game and a plethora of penalties. Our Bulldogs responded by drawing a mere three yellow handkerchiefs Saturday night to compliment a 67% completion percentage from our fearless leader Fitz. We’ve played three teams who have schemed to take our dominant front four out of the equation as much as possible, yet we’ve still racked up eleven sacks. We’ve given up two touchdowns—one on an extremely short field and one in garbage time after a fluke play.
Sure, we had a similar start last season, and there were a few games later in the year that we’d like to forget. But we didn’t have a dynamic one-two punch from the tailback position last year. We didn’t have half of the entire previous season’s first-team defensive linemen. We didn’t have one of the most brilliant and innovative offensive minds in college football. We didn’t have a secondary capable of competing with the best of them. We didn’t have 12 pass catchers per game routinely making receptions. In fact, we didn’t have much production from the wideout positions at all. And we still should have won ten games. Our coaches aren’t settling for less anymore; our offensive line is deep, talented, and experienced; our receiving corps is so deep that the wideout we cried and begged to return from injury last season has only played a single snap; our front seven is nasty; our back end is aggressive and experienced. We need to get better in the kicking game, but by George don’t let anybody say you shouldn’t be pumped. Let your emotions kick in. We do have something to be excited about. Why can’t we win the SEC? Somebody has to. Why can’t we make the playoff? Somebody has to—four of us do actually. We have the pieces. We have the motivation. And we have a chance. I’m not predicting anything. I’m not chanting “we want Bama” (I ain’t scared of ‘em, though), and I’m not handing us the college football playoff trophy. But it’s no fun if you don’t dream.