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Mississippi State's Dan Mullen wasn't bullish on playoff chances

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Thomas Graning / Associated Press
MSU coach Dan Mullen said selection committee members probably breathed a sigh of relief after the Bulldogs' loss.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen wasn't sure his Bulldogs would've made the College Football Playoff even if they had beaten Mississippi on Saturday.

Well, he sort of thought that, anyway.

Mississippi State was ranked fourth in this week's College Football Playoff rankings, but after Saturday's loss Mullen told CBSSports.com, "I didn't think we were getting in the playoff anyway."

Mullen then talked more about it -- and didn't seem nearly as sure.

"Maybe a lot of committee members breathed a big sigh of relief," Mullen said, explaining that the members now no longer "have to consider" bumping Mississippi State out of the top four had the Bulldogs won.

"If we had won ... I think there would have been some really interesting conversations that would have shaped the future of the playoff," he said.

Had the Bulldogs beaten Ole Miss and finished 11-1, they would have tied for the SEC West title with Alabama. But the Tide would've won the tiebreaker, thanks to their win over Mississippi State, and gone to the SEC championship game.

That Mississippi State would've been dismissed outright by the committee because it didn't win a league title? Well, no one knows now. It is worth noting that the Bulldogs were ranked ahead of three other one-loss teams in this week's poll: TCU, Ohio State and Baylor. Those three teams had far better chances at winning their respective leagues than did the Bulldogs -- and still the committee had the Bulldogs ahead of them.

Perhaps Mullen said he didn't think the Bulldogs would make the playoff anyway was merely a way to blow off some steam after the loss. His other comments were more in line with the truth, though, especially that there probably were some committee members who "breathed a big sigh of relief." In addition, a Mississippi State win over Ole Miss certainly would have led to "some really interesting conversations."

Too bad they won't happen.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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