Can Mississippi State Really do Better than Sylvester Croom?

Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror, be honest, and ask yourself, “Can I really do better than that?” If Mississippi State were to ask themselves that question regarding their head football coach, my answer would be “No.” I don’t know who Mississippi State thinks they are, or what they expect to be in a football sense, but I thought Sylvester Croom did a pretty good job with the program. From what I remember, he inherited a program on NCAA probation with scholarship reductions, one that had gone 7-27 in the three previous years. Sure, it took a few years before Mississippi State was no longer a punching bag, but they had reached that point.

Croom scored a big win over Florida in his first year as the Bulldogs’ head coach, helping launch the fire Ron Zook movement. In 2005, Croom’s squad obliterated rival Ole Miss 35-14. Finally by mid-season in 2006, his third year with the program, Mississippi State started to play at a respectable level. The Bulldogs kept all of their games in the second half of that season close, proving to me that Croom was getting Mississippi State to a respectable level.

In 2007, everything came together for Mississippi State as they got SEC wins over Auburn, Bama, Kentucky, and rival Ole Miss en route to an 8-5 season that ended with a Liberty Bowl victory against Central Florida. Honestly, the folks at Mississippi State probably should not be expecting more than that. Croom thrice contributed to the firing of a fellow SEC coach; Ron Zook, Mike Shula, and Ed Orgeron were all axed in years Croom beat em. The way I look at things, Croom did a good job by making a crap team competitive, and even a winner last year.

This year the team took a step back going 4-8, but if you look at their schedule, what would have been realistically better, five wins? They play in the toughest conference in America and have some of the worst talent. What do they expect to happen? Furthermore, the Mississippi State defense struck me as legit this year, but their offense was crap. They weren’t completely outclassed until the Egg Bowl because of the defense. And to be fair, Ole Miss is one of the hottest teams in the country, and the only team to beat Florida, so we know they’re good. If Mississippi State could just get one or two strong play-making recruits in on offense, I bet they would have been a .500 team next year. And really, can they expect to do much better? I don’t think so, and that’s why I think they’re going to have a hard time finding a coach who can do more for them than Sylvester Croom did.

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  • Gene

    Why is Croom leaving? Maybe he agrees with you that he has taken the program as far as it can go and he anticipates a better job offer. On the other hand, maybe he was going to be fired. My guess is that it is the former, because he has done a very fine job there.

  • hailstate


    “but if you look at their schedule, what would have been realistically better, five wins?”

    Auburn sucked this year
    Tennessee sucked this year
    UK was mediocre
    LSU was down
    La Tech sucks every year

    A good coach could’ve easily won three of the five. You’ll never see a more manageable SEC schedule again at State. Croom blew it big time.

    “Furthermore, the Mississippi State defense struck me as legit this year, but their offense was crap. ”

    Guess who controlled the offense, moron. Expecting a coach to win 6-7 games in his 5th season is reasonable. Excuse State fans for wanting more out their football program than the 3-4 wins Croom normal gave us.

    A 21-38 record is not doing a “very fine job.” Only an idiot would think so.

    Also, expect State to put our next coach in the top 20 nationally in coaches’ salaries. That will get a lot of people interested.

  • joel

    you are an idiot…. you know nothing about MSU football. Your condescending attitude toward State shows you only notice the big programs and “little programs” just can’t win. Tell that to Boise State. And it seems there is a little team called Ole Miss that is having a pretty good year. You are an arrogant jerk who’s only insight is what you saw on sportscenter. What a joke….

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    You guys better ante up top 20 money for a coach if you want to be as good as you think you should be.

  • Gene

    Those guys already tried the “top 20″ money route without success. They paid bigtime for Jackie Sherrill and it didn’t make too much of a difference. Maybe they didn’t have a bull to castrate in Starkville, Mississippi.

    Anyone who thinks that MSU can be Boise State is out of touch with reality. Boise State doesn’t play in the SEC and had no competition to recruit against when they made their move, and certainly not SEC competition to play against.

    Maybe MSU should follow the TCU model and withdraw from the SEC and play in a lesser conference. That seemed to work for the Horned Frogs, who have had a number of winning seasons and bowl appearances since the breakup of the Southwest Conference.

  • http://www.tehstyleguide.com $nave

    You’ve never watched a down of MSU football. The man punted from the 30 of the other team only to have it roll into the end zone for a touchback on a 4th and 1. That stuff hurts my brain when I think about it.

    He lost to Maine.

    Croom is a great man, but a horrible head coach. He would be perfect for a Division III team where the kids are true student athletes.