There’s a memorable scene in the 2011 film “Moneyball” where Brad Pitt’s character, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, is mulling a historic $12.5-million contract offer from Boston to rebuild the Red Sox.
It reminds me of new Florida coach Dan Mullen and how some in the Gators’ fan base view him.
Beane doesn’t want to leave the A’s, despite their incredibly low payroll, but almost feels compelled because of the money Red Sox owner John Henry is offering him.
Beane says to his assistant general manager, played by Jonah Hill, the most poignant line in the movie: “I really wanted to win here.”
Hill responds with, “I think you won pretty big here, Billy.”
No, Oakland never reached the World Series under Beane. But the A’s reached the playoffs each season from 2002-06. Beane managed to make them relevant, despite substandard resources compared to their competitors.
Mullen reminds me of Beane, except instead of staying at Mississippi State, he’s ready to work among the haves and leave behind the have nots. Who can blame him?
Some Florida fans see Mullen’s 69-46 record and 33-39 mark in the SEC and are upset with the hire. Florida fans 25 and younger only know Mississippi State from Mullen’s nine-season tenure. Those of us who are older know what Mississippi State is: It’s one of the worst jobs in the SEC.
The Bulldogs won 33.5 percent of their SEC games before Mullen’s arrival. They have a single SEC title (1941). Under Mullen, Mississippi State had a 45.8 percent SEC winning percentage. That’s substantial overachievement.
Mullen is 15-6 against the SEC East.
He survived nine years against an SEC West that included:
* Nick Saban’s Alabama, one of college football greatest dynasties.
* An LSU program consistently loaded with first-round talent that had won the national title two years before Mullen’s arrival in Starkville.
* An Auburn program that won the national title in Mullen’s second season at MSU.
* A Texas A&M program that joined the SEC in 2012 and instantly produced a Heisman-winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel.
* An Arkansas team that had momentum with coach Bobby Petrino and won 29 games from 2009-11.
* An Ole Miss team that the NCAA says cheated to lure elite prospects under then-coach Hugh Freeze.
Mississippi State is the Oakland A’s. The Florida Gators are the Boston Red Sox. Look at the roster construction of both programs.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.