The Egg Bowl rivalry has been looked at through a handful of different prisms. There's the obvious if not a bit cliched - although true - dichotomy between a flagship liberal arts-centric university and its agricultural, engineering-focused counterpart and the cultural divide that entails. There's the callously wielded and tragically insensitive racial angle, or the wild idea that Mississippi State is some sort of paragon of diverse virtue and that Ole Miss is deliberately the opposite. There's the more pragmatic, football-centric rivalry of competing for recruits, fans, and resources in a state that can't boast a bevy of much of anything. But the greatest source of Mississippi State's contempt and Ole Miss' feigned indifference isn't rooted in strong cultural divides or troubled histories. It's simpler than that.
We're cool; they're not.
Ole Miss is Proud Larry's, Thacker Mountain Radio, Fat Possum Records, the Southern Foodways Alliance, Square Books, James Beard Foundation winners, The Blind Side, The Help, a Nobel Prize in Literature and a two-time Superbowl MVP. Ole Miss has been featured prominently in the travel and culture sections of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, as well as on the Travel Channel and Food Network. Ole Miss is routinely tops on national lists highlighting the more enticing extracurriculars of college life, such those celebrating America's top party schools, most beautiful campuses, and attractive students. Oxford and the Grove are destinations for countless college football fans, with our gameday scene as a main fixture on a lot of fan bucket lists.
Mississippi State is none of that, and couldn't shake a stick at any of it if they wanted to.
We're Double Decker; they're Bulldog Bash. We're Katy Perry; they're Jon Papelbon. We're Big Bad Breakfast; they're a Hardee's biscuit. We're the "Cultural Mecca of the South;" they're known for ringing cowbells at football games. We're "The Season," and they're embarrassing, campy silliness like this:
It's plainly obvious that Mississippi State is an unremarkable school in a terribly unremarkable town supported by painstakingly unremarkable people. Even when they try to be cool, they just come off as tremendously unimaginative dorks.
Here's what we already know and they're too afraid to come to terms with: Mississippi State could (will?) win this year's Egg Bowl and the ten subsequent matches on top of that, and nothing short of a handful of titles and a cultural offering more interesting than watching college baseball from the back of an old RV would change the fact that they're an uninteresting, forgettable institution about which, were it not for this year's football season, nobody outside of the South would have a second thought.
There is nothing cool about Mississippi State, nor will there ever be. Deep down inside, they know this, and very visibly on the outside they resent the hell out of us for it.
That's just one of the many reasons why...