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MSU A.D. Stricklin Defends Pastry-Filled Football Schedule

You know how you know you’ve got a week football schedule?  When your school’s athletic director has to constantly defend it.

Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin has been clear about his desire to avoid a ninth SEC football game because it might hurt the Bulldogs’ chances of becoming bowl eligible.  This year, he’s used his non-conference openings to line up Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama and MTSU.  Several national media outlets have called out that lineup as being one of the biggest laughers in all of college football.

But Stricklin doesn’t sound like a man who wants to make Dan Mullen’s schedule much tougher moving forward:


“We have an incredibly tough conference schedule,” Stricklin said. “Our overall strength of schedule, if you look at the computer rankings, I think is usually pretty high…

We’ve had 16 straight sellouts and we have a waiting list for tickets, so whatever we’re doing right now seems to be working from a fan perspective.  And we’ve been to two straight bowl games, so it’s working from trying to produce a consistent winner perspective.”


Fair enough.  If State fans will pay good money to see the University of North Carolina at Winston-Marlboro come to town, why not keep playing teams of that ilk?

Oh.  That’s right.  The new strength of schedule factor which is to somehow be weighed by a selection panel when it comes to college football’s new playoff and its biggest bowl games.  We used MSU as an example when discussing that issue earlier this week.  Well here’s what Stricklin told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal about that situation:


“When the day comes when strength of schedule is used to determine – I guess it’s kind of used right now in the BCS formula – when we get to the point where that’s a concern for us, we’re going to make sure we take care of that piece of it.”


Until then, State fans will just have to continue to overpay for four big, delicious cupcakes every fall.



Say, was'nt it Mississippi State that BEAT Michigan in a bowl just last year, or was it the year before ??


I think Missisippi State is doing ALRIGHT, and I do notice THEY DO SELL OUT at their stadium......  To me, that says something.....




I am a fan of another SEC school, by the way !!



John, there is a difference between the haves and have nots in the SEC. Most of the major have schools in the SEC try and schedule at least one high profile game OOC. I was one of the upset at buying out UNC group. It reeked of us running from a team. In hindsight, that game was winnable - which made it worse. Of course I was also one of the UT fans that understood how low the program was and that this up coming season was the best option for success over the past couple of years. Miss St. is one of the have nots in the SEC. As long as they have to climb over Bama, LSU, ARk, Auburn and now TAMU, they are going to schedule for a winning record. They are not going to be concerned with winning championships. That attitude would not fly at UT, Bama, UF, and the other big dog schools, but it does at Ole Miss, Miss St., KY, and Vandy. I would love to see Florida and UGA play outside of the Southeast sometime in my life.

Marwin 1 Like

So john...... stricklin admits he adds cupcakes to get bowl eligible, us fans dont have a problem based on continued sellouts, and u claim he's constantly having to defend the schedule. Its not adding up - how much more defense is needed when u admit the reason u do in? Maybe u should let it go - there's nothing to see here.......move along.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



I find it interesting that -- as usual -- non-State fans think I'm giving State too much credit and State fans think I'm bashing them and having fun at their expense.


Someday people will realize that I just give my opinions.  Depending on the issue making news, I've backed and criticized every school in the SEC a thousand times each.  There's not one school in the SEC that I like more or less than another.  I truly don't give a hoot who wins and loses (though I usually pull for a good upset when I sit down in front of the TV).  I've dealt first-hand with wonderful people at each school.  And I've also had to put up with ugly comments and emails from a few rabid fans at each school, too.


Trust me, you're all the same.  


Also if a State fan can point out to me how this particular post is not factual, I'd love to see it.  Stricklin has admitted on numerous occasions that State has to have more bad teams on its schedule in order to get bowl eligible.  End of story.  If some/most/all MSU fans are proud of that fact, fine.  


But at Alabama and LSU, fans want to see some foes from good conferences on the docket (even if they're so-so teams from those good leagues).  Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina all face in-state rivals from former BCS-leagues year-in and year-out.  Heck, Tennessee fans almost revolted when their Vol athletic department bought out a road game with North Carolina to put Buffalo -- a surer win -- on UT's home schedule.  Win or lose, it seemed that most Tennessee backers wanted to see their team -- which isn't very good at the moment -- play better opponents.


Judging by the comments here, though, that's that not the case for many in MSU's fanbase.  I find that surprising.  But as I said in the post above, if Bulldog fans are satisfied with cupcakes then there's no reason for Stricklin to change his scheduling policy.


Thanks for reading,John 


Like State is going to be in the running for the play-off and the SEC needs to save them from themselves by forcing another conference game on them.  The legitimate contenders in the SEC will strengthen their schedules on their on, they're not idiots.


Jon, you always seem to enjoy to have fun at MSU's expense. 




I think we'll see a real scheduling divide open up over the next few years as teams separate into two tiers based on what the state of  the program is.


1. "We're going for a NC tier"- teams with tough OOC games to boost SOS for a playoff


2. "We're just happy to get to a bowl game" tier- teams with cupcakes galore on their schedule



Personally, I love going to USC-Notre Dame games, as ND is USC's biggest rival.  Can't wait to get A+M, Texas and the BIG teams in upcoming years.  I love the big OOC games.


USC's games in Auburn and Fayetteville a few years back were some of the most memorable of the last 20 years.  I miss the OOC games vs the SEC.



But if the MSU fans commenting here are representative of the fanbase, it sounds like they're happy with the way they are doing things, so I guess it makes sense for the program to feast on some cupcakes for a while to consistently go to bowl games and build some momentum that will allow them to get to the next level.



What will be interesting is if there is an RPI-type of calculation used to determine SOS (as there should be), where the opponents' winning % is factored in, as well as the opponents' opponents' winning % is factored in.  There might also be a deduction for playing FCS teams.  If those type of factors are in place, a team like MSU's SOS is going to hurt teams like Bama and LSU, as it will bring down their SOS.


Exactly. No State fan on here is denying the fact that we have one of the easiest OOC schedules in the land. Believe it or not, Mr. SEC was not the first site to point this out. But, as a program, State has only been to 15 bowl games period. We are not at the point to where we can just go out there a schedule another big non-conference school and expect the outcome to benefit our this point. We still have only beaten TSUN from the West. Let us take a couple more of the Western Division schools down first before we start to reach out for big OOC games.


And just how many non-conference schools are chomping at the bit to put us on their own schedule? Playing in Starkville might not be like playing in Tuscaloosa, or Death Valley, but it for sure ain't easy. And Starkville ain't exactly a tourist attraction itself.  Again, this is the way things are at this current time. Of course, if State continues to improve under Mullen, then eventually we will be able to secure those big OOC games like LSU and Bama.


Lets see bbq, a few brews, miniskirts at every turn, and a fer-shore win to get the first month of football season kicked off: every State fan i know understands and loves it. The "smart" national media and a few hack websites opinions should only be used to fill that "my" time in the morning following that second cup of coffee and never question a successful athletic departments decisions.


We aren't to that level yet, that's true. Most State fans would agree with that statement. To schedule teams like Michigan, Va Tech, Texas, or even Arizona and also play LSU and Bama on the road in the same season would be suicide for MSU. Not that we couldn't beat these teams at least at home, but to add one or more than one just to improve our SOS would be detremental as of right now. Stricklin is right. For us, we are on a roll with home attendance, and believe it or not, 2 bowl wins in a row for us is a big deal. Why would we not want to continue that success at the cost of our SOS? I sure as to hell would, and have no problem paying extra for my season tickets this year, and plan to be at all the cupcake games as well as the SEC games.


When it comes to MSU, they are probably better off playing some Big East, CUSA, and MWC teams for their OOC games.  Those schools can be decent teams sometimes and MSU will have a reasonable chance of being them.


Other than that, I don't think MSU will have to worry about whether or not their SOS is enough to qualify them for the playoff anytime soon.  Nothing against State, but they just aren't at that level yet.  Unless of course, MSU's SOS affects all the other SEC teams' SOS and in that case they would need to step it up for the sake of everyone else.


  1. [...] in the league to make comments like this.  Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin has said that his school needs pastries, too (though we send kudos to MSU for taking on Oklahoma State this year).  Vanderbilt coach James [...]

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