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.