Column: MSU fans endure tough football year
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
November 1, 2003
All right Mississippi State University fans, it has been a rough year.
Heck it has been a tough three years, but it just might be time to start looking at the glass as half full.
There hasn't been a lot of reason for optimism lately with the Bulldogs winning just eight of their last 23 games, but hey, at least MSU won't lose today.
Sure, the team isn't playing, but there haven't been many weekends when Bulldog fans can say their team isn't going to lose with certainty, so live it up.
When MSU returns to the field next weekend, the Bulldogs will meet a team that has struggled almost as much in the Alabama Crimson Tide.
It is one of two home games left on the schedule for Jackie Sherrill, and you just know he wants to exit Starkville with a win over his alma mater.
Can the Bulldogs turn the Tide? Sure, why not?
Alabama has quickly found out that hiring a coach two hours before the season starts is not a great way to operate. Granted there were odd circumstances leading to the Tide's coaching dilemma before the season, but it certainly didn't help.
But taking on a beat-up and at times confused team isn't why MSU fans should look at the last four games with optimism.
Instead, the Bulldogs need to look East for inspiration.
Specifically, MSU needs to cast its eyes onto the campus of West Virginia. On Oct. 22, the Mountaineers stunned then-No. 3 Virginia Tech in a 28-7 romping.
While the Bulldogs don't have any teams left on their schedule with the hype and record of Virginia Tech, let's face it, nearly every team might as well be ranked third or higher when MSU plays them.
But in present day college football, no matter how lowly a team may seem there is always room to dream of an upset.
Thanks to scholarship limitations, the collegiate playing field has never been more even and more prone to upsets. So why can't MSU be the surprising team in one of its last four games.
Plus, you just have to believe in Sherrill's stretch run his players are going to rally around him one more time and "win one for the Gipper."
A prime spot for Bulldogs to do this will be in primetime at the annual Egg Bowl game against Ole Miss.
The Rebels may be running rampant now and they could very easily have the SEC West title firmly in hand by this game, but you just have to think maybe MSU can pull one out for Sherrill at the end.
Probably not going to happen, but again, we are trying to look at the glass half full.
After the Egg Bowl, the fun really begins for the Bulldogs, as they search for a new coach.
MSU athletic director Larry Templeton has been on the phone more often and longer than most teenage girls since Sherrill announced his imminent departure from the Bulldogs' program.
"I've spent 80 percent of my time every day on the phone," Templeton told columnist Ron Higgins. "Pro coaches, current head coaches, former college head coaches, college coordinators, college assistants…"
If professionals are looking at MSU in a good light, why shouldn't fans?
But most intriguing of all of Templeton's comments recently has been his declaration of a surprise candidate calling him earlier this week.
Not to start any wild rumors, but with the half-glass theory firmly in affect, can anyone say Steve Spurrier?
The former Florida coach or icon, depending on who you talk to, and current Washington Redskins head coach seems to be trying to get himself fired every time he opens his mouth.
The transition for the 'ol ball coach into the NFL from college hasn't gone anywhere near as planned, and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has never been known to be a patient man.
So why not believe that someone as high profile as Spurrier would be interested in the MSU job?
Thirteen years ago, wasn't it a stretch to think Sherrill would come to Starkville?