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Mississippi State Bulldogs: Where they were 10 years ago

In seven seasons, coach Dan Mullen has totally turned around the Mississippi State football program. Mark Zerof/USA TODAY Sports

To know where you are in the present, sometimes you have to look into your past.

For some, that can be a fun, healthy endeavor. For others, well, not so much.

Still, this week we're paying homage to the past and how it's affected the present in the SEC by taking a look at where each program was 10 years ago and where it currently stands. Some programs have made big leaps, some have steadied the course, and others, well, they're yearning for the days of old.

We continue the series now with Mississippi State:

2006 record: 3-9

2006 coach: Sylvester Croom

Notable: Mississippi State made history by making Croom the SEC's first black head coach, but his tenure lacked much on-field success. Croom was hired by a program that was under NCAA sanctions because of recruiting violations made by the previous staff, and there just wasn't enough talent on the field during Croom's five seasons in Starkville. During that span, he went just 21-38 and took the Bulldogs to the postseason only once. That came during an 8-5 season in 2007. Croom resigned a year later during a season in which the Bulldogs slipped back to 4-8 and was capped by a 45-0 loss to rival Ole Miss. In his five seasons, Mississippi State never ranked inside the top 100 nationally in total offense. The 2006 season marked the second straight year in which the Bulldogs went 1-7 in SEC play and the sixth straight year Mississippi State lost at least six conference games. However, there was a special moment for Croom when he led his Bulldogs to a 24-16 win at Alabama, which served as a homecoming for the Alabama alum. Freshman Anthony Dixon led the Bulldogs in rushing with 668 yards and nine touchdowns.

Trending: Croom had his own issues while in charge of Mississippi State's football program, but he didn't create them. Previous coach Jackie Sherrill enjoyed four straight seasons of winning seven or more games from 1997 to 2000, but in his final three years with the Bulldogs Sherrill's teams failed to win more than three games in a season. Croom inherited a program that won just eight games in three seasons. Because of NCAA penalties, the Bulldogs were allowed just 81 scholarships for the 2005 and 2006 seasons -- four fewer than the NCAA maximum of 85 -- and were limited to 45 expense-paid recruiting visits in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years, which were 11-per-year fewer than the max allowed by the NCAA. Heading into the 2006 season -- Croom's third season with the Bulldogs -- Mississippi State had lost four of its last six games to Ole Miss, five straight to Alabama, seven straight to Arkansas, and six straight to both Auburn and LSU. Mississippi State went 0-8 in SEC play in 2002, losing six of those games by double digits.

What's happened since: Dan Mullen has totally turned this Mississippi State program around. In seven seasons, Mullen has the highest winning percentage (.611) at Mississippi State since Allyn McKeen from 1939 to 1948 (.764). Mullen is 55-35 overall and has led the Bulldogs to the most wins during a two-year stretch in program history (19). The Bulldogs have been to a school-record six consecutive bowl games, including their first Orange Bowl berth in 73 years during the 2014 season. The Bulldogs earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2014, and Mullen has made this program a legitimate threat in the SEC West. Mullen has also transformed this roster with excellent development. Remember, record-breaking Dak Prescott was an unknown recruit when he arrived in Starkville. The loss of Prescott will be felt in a major way, meaning Mullen's development ability will really be put to the test.