Death, taxes and Nick Saban.
They're staples in Dan Mullen's life, and things that he can't do much about. Not at Mississippi State, and still not back at Florida.
No one has faced Saban more at Alabama as a head coach, and the outcome has always been the same. The setting, situation and circumstances always change, and so does the how, but not the result.
This time the score was 31-29.
"When we play big games, the margin for error is going to be small," said Mullen who slipped to 0-11 as a head coach against Saban. His last win against the Crimson Tide goes all the way back to 2008 when he was the Gators' offense coordinator, and his quarterback Tim Tebow.
Since then, zilch.
The games have often had a feel of inevitability, and so did this one at first. Even though Alabama had replaced five consensus All-Americans on offense, and also had a new coordinator, the Crimson Tide initially carved up the Gators like they were a mid-afternoon appetizer.
The Crimson Tide had won 42 straight games when scoring a touchdown on the opening drive, and before the first quarter ended was already ahead 21-3.
No. 11 Florida eventually came roaring back and really got the offense going in the second half, but to no avail. Alabama held on by a two-point conversion, the closest Mullen has been yet.
It's tempting to say "Poor Dan," until you remember that his latest contract extension is paying him $7.6 million per year.
He's now lost to Saban in four different venues (at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State, Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium).
He's lost both blowouts and close games, including last year's SEC Championship Game, 52-46.
He's lost when both the opposition was ranked No. 1, and his own team.
It almost sounds like the college football version of a Dr. Seuss book:
2009: Alabama won 31-3. While Mark Ingram Jr. had 149 rushing yards, the Crimson Tide defense held the Bulldogs to 83 first-half yards and 213 total. Mississippi State had three turnovers.
2010: Big plays were the difference as Alabama won 30-10. Greg McElroy passed for 227 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown reception to Ingram and 45 yards to Marquis Maze against the No. 19 Bulldogs.
2011: Coming off the Game of the Century, a 9-6 loss in overtime, Alabama got back on track with a 24-7 victory. Trent Richardson had 127 rushing yards and a touchdown, while the Crimson Tide defense yielded just 131 total yards.
2012: Although Mississippi State was ranked No. 11, Alabama scored on its first three possessions. AJ McCarron threw for 208 passing yards. Although the Bulldogs came in averaging 36.7 points, they didn't score until the final minutes. MSU had also been leading the nation in turnover margin but lost two fumbles and an interception.
2013: T.J. Yeldon ran for 160 yards and McCarron had two touchdown passes for a lackluster 20-7 victory.
2014: The No. 1 Bulldogs, led by quarterback Dak Prescott, outgained Alabama 428-335 but Alabama didn't have any turnovers and rallied for the 25-20 victory. Blake Sims completed 19 of 31 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown.
"We should feel awful," Mullen said. "You should have a sickness in your stomach. We should embrace this feeling to make sure that this feeling doesn't happen again. We'll feel sick tonight but then we'll get over it."
2015: Derrick Henry ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns and the defense notched nine sacks as Alabama crushed No. 11 Mississippi State 31-6.
2016: Jalen Hurts passed for 347 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 100 yards in the 51-3 rout.
2017: Jalen Hurts hit freshman DeVonta Smith for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining to give Alabama the 31-24 victory at No. 18 Mississippi State. Calvin Ridley had five catches for 171 yards. With the Crimson Tide missing numerous injured linebackers Mississippi State's running game gained 172 yards.
"We did enough," Hurts said.
This isn't to pick on Mullen. Being the Dean-in-Waiting, or Dan-in-Waiting in his case, while being up against the greatest dynasty in the sport's history only helps show just how good of a coach he is.
He's coming off career win No. 100, compared to 45 losses against everyone not named Saban, and getting closer and closer to beating him.
Moreover, this was the fifth time Mullen's had the fun of facing Alabama when ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Only once was the Crimson Tide not ranked in the top 5 at the time, and that team in 2010 still had Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr. and Julio Jones.
No. 1: 2012, 2013, 2016, 2020, 2021
No. 2 2009, 2015, 2017
No. 3: 2011
No. 5: 2014
No. 12: 2010
Any coach would have a tough time getting a win in those games.
However, this might have been his best shot because it was at The Swamp, one of the toughest, loudest venues, with Alabama having a young offense including both a quarterback and center making their first road starts.
"Crazy environment," said sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, who repeatedly had snap issues with Darrian Dalcourt, who couldn't hear the snap calls,
Mullen, who may be the most dangerous with a running quarterback, stuck to his plan and eventually saw his offense carve out 429 yards. The defense did enough to keep the Gators in the game. Florida had the momentum for most of the second half.
Yet the coach could only get another confidence-building near miss.
"Outstanding win for our team," Saban said. "Tough place to play."
Consequently, the winning streak is even more telling and reflective of Saban's dominance, as he has always found a way to repel everything Mullen has dreamed up and attempted, regardless of the circumstances.
That's why he continues to be unmatched in college football.
Christopher Walsh's column regularly appears on BamaCentral.