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Ole Miss and Mississippi State issue parallel calls for 'civility and respect' ahead of Egg Bowl

Rivalry is about civility. That’s what those words mean.

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Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Welcome to Egg Bowl week.

On Monday afternoon, Ole Miss’ and Mississippi State’s athletic directors issued a joint statement at the same time on Twitter. They called for civility and respect during Thursday’s proceedings in Starkville.

Please note the timestamps, and please also note that Ole Miss’ tweet ran out one minute before CLANGA’s, so who’s disrespecting whom, here? JUST ASKING QUESTIONS.

This rivalry has apparently become too ‘toxic’ for certain Mississippi sports beat writers.

Last year, former Clarion-Ledger Ole Miss beat man Hugh Kellenberger wrote that the Egg Bowl rivalry had become “never ... more toxic.” The rivalry is certainly disproportionately hateful, given that it has virtually no bearing on the national conversation in any given year, but to dub it virtually poisonous to the point of telling everyone shut the hell up is probably a bit over the top.

It’s here we pause to note that a peculiarly hirsute Ole Miss compliance blogger has made it his singular life mission to bring down Rebel football’s “blind faith culture” that resulted in Ole Miss’ 80-year death penalty or whatever (per sources). And let’s also never forget that CLANGA’s baseball team once sported batting practice shirts featuring F**K TSUN.

The Egg Bowl rivalry is solely about who you think you are, and that’s it. Sane people should write it off as the last game of the season and nothing more. For Kellenberger was merely citing his Twitter mentions between rival fans, and a journalist’s Twitter mentions are not the pulse of the internet. Never forget that.

Either way, a joint statement like this does say a lot.

The Golden Egg was in fact born of violence. In 1926, Ole Miss students initiated a violent encounter with authorities and CLANGA fans as they tried to rip down the goalposts following a 7-6 victory over State. I’ll let Alex McDaniel take it from here:

The postgame scuffle inspired a plan to award a trophy to the winning team each year “with the primary purpose of creating a better spirit between the two institutions and preventing any fistic encounters which may occur at the end of the game.”

Though some accounts infer the trophy wasn’t called the Golden Egg until after it was made and fans realized it looked more like an egg than a football, that was merely a coincidence.

Ironically (and fittingly), the Battle for the Golden Egg, born from the desire to find common ground and avoid future fights, has evolved into one of the nastiest rivalries in college sports.

The rivalry inspires a lot of internet shouting, these days, that’s for sure. But it’s internet shouting in this single, marginalized corner of the web. Again, Ross Bjork’s Twitter mentions are not indicative of the collective pulse of this rivalry, however fierce it may seem to the everyday fan.

Ole Miss’ NCAA investigation and impending COI decision loom large over this year’s Egg Bowl, not least because Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis spoke to the Committee on Infractions about his recruiting experience with Ole Miss in Kentucky back in September. He may have tanked CLANGA, he may have tanked Ole Miss — depends on who you ask in Starkville or Oxford. It ultimately doesn’t matter for Thursday night’s game, because plenty of bad blood fuels these team’s players against one another.

Dan Mullen did dump 55 points on Ole Miss in Oxford last year, so there’s that.

Oh yeah, that happened. Relentless attacking with first and second team guys to rip off an Egg Bowl record, in Oxford of all places. Sure, why not.

Surely all the Ole Miss players present for that humiliation are feeling anger over that experience, especially Ole Miss’ seniors. The Egg Bowl is always a squirrelly one, given that this is the case over the last 30 meetings between State and Ole Miss.

Either team might show up on any given year, regardless of who’s favored. There should necessarily be overtimes. Let loose these two pit vipers against one another for as long as possible and see what happens. Especially if the weather is terrible.

But please practice civility and respect, please.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.