People aren’t sleeping on Dan Mullen and Mississippi State anymore. Not when the Bulldogs are viewed as a dark horse contender in the SEC West this season, given his quarterback situation and a promising defense.
Mullen, heading into his ninth season with a 61-42 career record, received a four-year contract extension from the school in late February. Mullen’s name has been linked to a number of jobs over the years, such as Georgia in 2015 and Oregon in 2016. This extension likely quells any rumors for the time being.
“We just want to continue going in that same direction,” Mullen said on the extension. “We’re always striving to be better, striving to win a championship here at Mississippi State. It’s great for me, and I’m excited to be here for many years to come.”
Mullen found a capable replacement for Dak Prescott last season, as quarterback Nick Fitzgerald emerged as a budding star and the Bulldogs reached a bowl game. Fitzgerald returns this season and figures to make a big leap.
And in the Bulldogs’ spring game, Mullen’s new-look defense, led by former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, had a strong performance, as the unit hauled in 5 interceptions. One analyst called Mullen the second-best coach in the SEC, behind only Nick Saban.
Mullen’s chief rival, Hugh Freeze, is in some hot water following the NCAA’s latest Notice of Allegations levied against Ole Miss. In the previous SEC Country approval poll, Mullen had an 89.1 percent approval rating, good for third in the SEC. Freeze, meanwhile, came in at 81 percent.
Mullen’s contract extension bumped his salary to $4.5 million per year. The Bulldogs open the 2017 campaign against Charleston Southern on Sept. 2.
Vote on Dan Mullen’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.