Thanksgiving, along with the week leading up to it, is easily one of my favorite times of the year.
There's the cool, heavy air of Mississippi's late autumns. There's deer hunting with the family. There's me taking a week off work and spending that time at my mother's house (hence the laziness you've seen out of me as late - I've been sleeping in, eating "free" food, watching Cops marathons, and doing everything else it is that lazy, white 20-somethings from Mississippi do when not burdened by major personal or professional obligations) in exceptional comfort. There's turkey, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, cornbread dressing and pecan pie. There's family, old friends, football, and America's greatest holiday.
And then there is the annual battle for
SEC SEC West Magnolia State college football teams north of I-20, west of Alabama, south of Tennessee, and east of Arkansas supremacy: The Egg Bowl.
It's one of America's most underrated college athletics rivalry. Unlike the Iron Bowl, the WLOCP, the Michigan/Ohio State game, the Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh, and a handful of others, rarely, if ever, is anything on the line when Ole Miss and Mississippi State face each other in, well, anything. Undeterred we are, by this fact, though, because to the people of Mississippi and those who call her SEC institutions their alma mater, this game carries some real significance. In a state where, for the longest time, people didn't have things like careers, incomes, or possessions to bolster their already poor self worth*, victories could be vicariously had through the performance of a football team.
But more than that, this game represents so well an antiquated cultural divide amongst the people of Mississippi (and, by extension, the South at large) which continues to linger in our collective mindset. This game represents the struggle of the yeoman, rural worker against the wealthy and entitled. It's "the people's university" versus "we're not snobs, we're just better than you." And while the economic successes of the New South have largely transformed the majority of both of our school's students and alumni into middle class suburbanites - with few superficial differences between any one particular group over another - the idea that we are just so different from each other cannot and likely will not die.
It is this idea that makes this rivalry so great. It is the persistence of Ole Miss fans that this game is one we're supposed to win juxtaposed against the constant effort of Mississippi State fans to prove themselves as peers and worthy foes. It is entitlement versus insecurity.
This season's Egg Bowl, though, won't have the same oomph as season's past. Sure, Mississippi State fans are pumped at the prospect of beating Ole Miss to secure a bowl berth (WHOOO 6-6 Y'ALL! BEATING NOBODY BUT OLE MISS AND KENTUCKY IN THE SEC!) and will most assuredly get that satisfaction come Saturday evening, but we Rebels, like our football team and coaches, checked out weeks ago. We're gonna lose and we really don't care all that much that we will. This isn't to say that we don't hate losing to State - we do - but we will be largely unaffected by whatever it is that they dish out to us this weekend.
Hell, we were beaten by LSU by the largest margin in the 100-year history of that rivalry game just a few days ago. Les Miles had his players kneeing the ball with five minutes to go. And, yet, we were largely unaffected by that.
Have your victory State. Have your hashtags and your maroon and your trophy for another season. We really don't give a shit at this point.
Just know that we still think we're better than you, and there is literally nothing you can do to change that.
*This doesn't apply to me or any of you fine readers because you're all awesome and stuff.