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Dan Mullen (finally) signs contract extension through 2018


It became a guarantee back when his Bulldogs knocked off then-No. 2 Auburn and ascended to the first No. 1 ranking in program history back in mid-October, but Dan Mullen's extension at Mississippi State finally became official on Thursday.

Mullen, 46-31 in six seasons in Starkville with five straight winning campaigns, is now locked down through the 2018 season. He'll earn $4 million in 2015 and average $4.275 million over the life of the deal.

"Dan has done a phenomenal job in leading our football team the past six years, and we're happy to be in a position to reward his efforts while making sure he'll be able to continue building a championship program for Mississippi State,” said Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin. "Under Dan's guidance, Bulldog football has achieved a level of consistent success unparalleled in our history, during which time we've been ranked No. 1 in the nation and appeared in elite bowl games. We're proud Dan is our coach."

Mullen's long-awaited extension means that $4 million is now the cost of doing business in the SEC West. Thanks to a scheduled raise for Auburn's Gus Malzahn and extensions for Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze and Arkansas' Bret Bielema, the entire division will reach the $4 million barrier this fall. Every single SEC West coach has received an extension over the last 24 months. Les Miles is working on the oldest contract in the division, with an extension approved way back on Feb. 1, 2013.

And one of those seven $4 million (or more) men is destined to finish in last place this fall.

The pedal has hit the floorboard across the entire SEC West, with all seven schools heading straight for one another. It will be one of the most fascinating story lines to follow in the entire sport over the coming years.

But that's a discussion for another day.

For now, it's Mississippi State's time to bask in the riches of a 9-0 start and the second-best final AP ranking in school history.

“We spent five weeks ranked No. 1 last season for the first time, but we have only scratched this surface on what we can accomplish here," Mullen said. "We have created a winning culture both on and off the field and built a program that has sustained success in the nation’s toughest conference. I’ve always said we are going to win a championship here, and I firmly believe that.”

Yep, you and your six best friends.