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MSU’s Dan Mullen makes a good point about the SEC…and soccer

Dan Mullen

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is a big soccer fan, as evidenced by the question to him at SEC media day about Liverpool’s chances this season without Luis Suarez. And he’s apparently as big a fan of the Premier League (and NBC’s coverage of it, which is outstanding):

“I don’t mind waking up early and turning on the Premiership early on Sunday mornings and Saturday mornings if you happen to have a little bit of a break before the day gets going,” Mullen said.

Mullen, though, made a great point: The closest thing to the Premier League in America is the SEC. The fierce, localized fan loyalties, the fans traveling with the teams, the century-old rivalries/derbys, the competitiveness for recruits/transfers, the sniping between coaches and teams all make Mullen’s argument a sound one.

“I do think that SEC football could be compared to European soccer,” Mullen said. “The passion our fans have is equal. Now I’m sure I’ll have a lot of European nations very upset with me saying that and teams throughout the world upset, but that is one of the things that makes this league so fun is the passion that our fanbases have for football is similar to watching the passion these European soccer teams and followings have, which is a pretty neat deal.”

If you’re an SEC fan and caught soccer fever during the World Cup, do yourself a favor and pick a Premier League team to follow. It’s similar in the sense that there’s quite a bit of parity and some darkhorses can make runs, but only a handful of teams have actually won the league.

Plus, it’ll help soften the blow when there’s no more college football on Saturdays.

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18 Responses to “MSU’s Dan Mullen makes a good point about the SEC…and soccer”
  1. vols84 says: Jul 15, 2014 12:18 PM

    He’ll have plenty of time to keep up with the Premier League after this year.

  2. seminolez says: Jul 15, 2014 12:51 PM

    the century-old rivalries?

    The SEC was founded in 1933…

  3. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 15, 2014 12:52 PM

    Just for fun… Let’s pair SEC teams with Premier League teams

    Alabama – Man United – Historically the kingpin of the league

    LSU – Chelsea – A team that has won it all on more than one occasion and is loaded with talent and great coaching

    Auburn – Man City – Stole a league title at the last second from Man U a few years back, reminds me so much of the Kick 6. Also current league champion.

    Tennessee – Liverpool – Used to be great, still pretty good, insanely devout following

    Florida – Arsenal – Haven’t won a league title in a few years now, but loaded with talent

    Texas A&M – Tottenham Hotspur – Loaded with talent, but every one always wonders why they never seem to win at the highest level though.

    Georgia – Everton – Haven’t won the big one in a while but always seem to be lurking below the surface.

    Ole Miss – West Ham United – Always good never great, their fans called “Hammers” like Ole Miss fans… are usually hammered.

    South Carolina – Southampton – Historically never that good, but recently have competed at a very high level.

    Mizzou – Aston Villa – Lots of name recognition, from time to time they will knock on the door of winning it all, but haven’t been over the hump in quite some time.

    Arkansas – Newcastle United – Extremely devout local following, Haven’t won in quite some time.

    Miss St. – Queens Park Rangers – Name recognition, devout following, never really wins big games.

    Vandy – Crystal Palace – Came from relative obscurity to win some pretty big games over some pretty big teams and become a fairly respectable team.

    Kentucky – West Brom – Probably should be relegated….

  4. auburntigers34 says: Jul 15, 2014 1:12 PM

    (and NBC’s coverage of it, which is outstanding)

    if you didn’t work for NBC, this might not sound so pathetic.

  5. Deb says: Jul 15, 2014 1:32 PM

    All I caught from the World Cup coverage (overcoverage) was a desperate desire never again to hear the words “World Cup.” But I did enjoy 8to80texansblog’s post. Maybe he should have been covering the games.

  6. manik56 says: Jul 15, 2014 1:59 PM

    Ohio State can be Real Madrid

  7. thraiderskin says: Jul 15, 2014 2:13 PM

    Hey 808… I know nothing of soccer, but based on your breakdown, shouldn’t Vandy and Mizzou be flipped?

  8. raysfan1 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:26 PM

    Calling rivalries a century old even the the SEC itself wasn’t founded until 1933 is not incompatible. Georgia and Auburn, for example, have played football against each other 117 times with the first meeting in 1892.

  9. tigersfandan says: Jul 15, 2014 2:27 PM

    seminolez says:
    Jul 15, 2014 12:51 PM
    the century-old rivalries?

    The SEC was founded in 1933…

    Yeah, but the teams go back much farther than that. Florida is the only SEC team that didn’t play their first game in the 1800s.

  10. tigersfandan says: Jul 15, 2014 2:31 PM

    Heh, raysfan1 and I posted almost simultaneously.

  11. JJ Stankevitz says: Jul 15, 2014 3:27 PM

    AuburnTigers — have you actually watched NBC’s coverage of the Premier League? Because I’d say that regardless of my status as an NBC employee. Rebecca Lowe, the Robbies, Arlo White, Kyle Martino, etc. are an outstanding, insightful team.

    8to80 — I’d say Florida would be Chelsea. Recent titles, no offense, great defense.

  12. auburntigers34 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:37 PM

    to be totally honest, i didn’t watch a second of coverage of the World Cup. NBC probably did a great job. it just seems kinda weird seeing a comment like that in an article that’s on a site owned by NBC.

  13. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 15, 2014 3:42 PM

    Vandy and Mizzou flipped??? I wouldn’t say that Mizzou came out of obscurity, they may have been a perennial also ran in the Big 12, but they were very often in the hunt in the north, Vandy has been a doormat for decades until Franklin revived them.

    @JJ If Florida is Chelsea, then is LSU Arsenal? I don’t think I can see Arsene Wenger eating grass…

  14. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 15, 2014 3:49 PM


    That seems obvious since NBC didn’t show a second of the World Cup as ESPN and ABC showed every game. NBC does on the other hand show EPL games….

    I know that I am a soccer fan and probably biased, but how do real sports fans not watch the World Cup… in my opinion, its one of the greatest sports events in the world.

    I mean you missed things like the national elation when Brooks scored the game winner vs Ghana or the national heartache when Portugal tied the game on the last kick, and of course the national pride when Tim Howard become the US Secretary of Defense.

    I love the World Cup, I can’t wait for 2018!

  15. auburntigers34 says: Jul 15, 2014 4:28 PM

    I’m not really a “sports fan”. I love college football and the NFL, but that’s about it. I grew up loving MLB but haven’t watched a single inning since they didn’t finish out the season back in the early 90s because of yet another strike/lock out.

    I liked the NBA as a kid in the 70s and 80s but kinda lost interest in the league when Jordan and the Bulls seemed pretty much unstoppable for most of the 90s.

  16. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 15, 2014 4:47 PM

    Hey don’t forget about my Rockets in 94 & 95!

  17. Deb says: Jul 15, 2014 6:36 PM

    @8to80texansblog …

    I’m a diehard football fan–both college and NFL. Otherwise, I watch the Olympics and Triple Crown races. But I learned enough about the Premier League when living overseas to appreciate you equating Bama with Man United :)

    Like auburntigers34, I’m just not interested in other sports. My only problem with soccer and the World Cup was the over-hype this year. It’s a bit much when the Today Show–and American program–spends the first eight minutes of its morning newscast having its hosts blather nonstop about soccer during a crisis in the Middle East. They don’t devote that kind of time to the Super Bowl or World Series. Priorities.

  18. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 16, 2014 11:15 AM

    I feel like it’s almost impossible to “over hype” the World Cup. To me, it’s bigger than the Olympics, or any single sporting event in the world.

    Now if we had a 16 team CFB playoff… it probably couldn’t beat that.

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