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I'm Not Happy About This Either

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The Southeastern Conference has rivalry games that span from the mundane Third Saturday in October and the now-non-existent Cocktail Party to the Tetanused Iron Bowl and the ridiculous Egg Bowl. We trade Golden Boots and Governor's Cup, and, despite Auburn and Georgia's claim, have a boatload of Old Deep South Football Rivalries.

Have we now stooped so low?

Perhaps this is no Platypus Trophy, Illibuck, or Telephone Trophy, but there's something about flowers that betrays a sense of fierce competition.

"Southern Showdown," "Southern Shoot-Out," "Duel Under The Oaks," "Magnolia Classic" or "Magnolia Bowl" were the options presented to the various student bodies for the name of this 97-time meeting. All of the options were fairly non-descript. And, so, I submit to you the name I wrote in when the student body was given the option of voting:

The Battle for Billy Cannon's Heisman

Followers of The Cup need not be taken back to Halloween Night 1959 when the Rebels' perfect season was ended on an 89-yard punt return by that year's Heisman Trophy winner - Running Back Billy Cannon, as the Tigers won 7-3. I was not alive in 1959, much less was I a Heisman balloter, so I cannot make a good judgment about whether or not Cannon's game-winning run sealed his trophy-win. And I need not remind the true faithful in the Order of Vaught that Ole Miss returned the favor on New Year's Day of 1960, blanking LSU 21-0 in the Sugar Bowl.

These two games are the most important in the 114-year history of this rivalry. Halloween was the crowning moment of Billy Cannon's Heisman campaign; New Year's Day knocked the shine of his recent honor.

Now, obviously, we cannot have Billy Cannon's actual Heisman (it's been on loan to T.J.'s Ribs in Baton Rouge since 1986, where Billy Cannon, obviously, eats free). Rather, the universities ought to seek the permission of the Downtown Athletic Club to create a replica. The replica will be placed on a large wooden base, and the results of each game since 1894 would be inscribed onto plates on the base. The interesting wrinkle - instead of the actual score of each game, every Ole Miss win would be indicated by 21-0; every LSU win would be indicated by 7-3, thus honoring the two most important scores in the history of the series.

I know it's over now; sour grapes and all that. Nevertheless, this recent development in tradition suffers from the same top-down imposed enthusiasm that doomed "The Rebel Express," that stupid motorcycle, and the campaign to replace Colonel Reb.

Of course, had there been blogs in 1927, some know-it-all bloggeur like myself might well have sat down to bemoan the stupid new trophy to share with the Cow College down the road that, ridiculously, looked like an egg. They might well have hurled insults at William Hemingway and wondered why out university felt the need to create a trophy game with a team against whom we had, to that point, mustered only five wins, ever.

Then again, the fine students who took it upon themselves to engage in a violent riot after the 1926 exchange between the Flood and the Maroons would never have christened their heated rivalry with LSU after a flower.