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Ole Miss vs. Cal preview: This game is going to be wild, so you should mentally prepare

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CHAOS TEAM VS. CHAOS TEAM LATE NIGHT.

NCAA Football: Utah at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve said this many times before, but Ole Miss and Cal will couple for perhaps the most insane game of the 2017 college football season on Saturday night. This is nothing to be frightened of. Relish it. Bask in the glory of two teams lacking basic defensive principles in the interest of pure, unbridled, offensive fireworks. This is what they do, and they do so quite well. We’re in for a laser show.

So we’re here, as the premier Ole Miss air raid blog on the web, to help you prepare yourself mentally for how to handle the inevitable swings of fortune that this game will undoubtedly deliver. Two high-powered offenses getting together out on the west coast for some late-night clubbing is never predictable, after all, and you will be in such a properly stupendous state of drunkenness that you won’t want to embarrass yourself in front of family, friends, or maybe your date for the evening. We’re nothing if not a decorum blog, anyway.

So let’s set down some field guide, uh, guidelines for how you should comport yourself when the inevitable shit hits the inevitable fan on Saturday in glamorous Berkeley.

HYDRATE

This goes without saying. You need to fill up on water or Gatorade or whatever throughout the day, afternoon, and evening to get yourself through this thing. That hangover will be real on Sunday morning, but you can at least mitigate that future suffering with an overabundance of non-alcoholic liquid on the front end. Will you be running to the bathroom every five minutes during the CHAOS EVENT? Sure. But that’s well worth the only slightly less painful morning you’ll have on Sunday. Water. Lots of water. More than you think you need. Early and often. Then you can drown yourself in bourbon.

EAT SOMETHING, DAMMIT

In keeping with this theme of pregame prep, you need to eat something. Preferably something hearty, like fried chicken or meatloaf. It’s going to be a slog. You’ve already watched 10 full hours of college football and then THE EVENT will happen. Establish a solid base in your stomach for those necessary 16 bourbon and gingers that will snake their way into your system. As the premier Ole Miss food blog on the internet, trust us when we say EAT SOMETHING. Eat throughout the evening and night. Eat throughout the game. You’ve absolutely got to force things down your gullet to offset the full-on submarine of booze you’re pouring into your body.

IMBIBE REGULARLY, BUT PATIENTLY

This is also important. We know that the urge to just rip the cap off that bottle of Jack and go hammer-and-nails at that thing will arrive at some point, but slow down. This is a marathon, not a sprint, as they say, so you’ve got to arrive at the proper level of howling-on-the-front-lawn drunkenness gradually. Throw in a beer here and there. Cut that bourbon with a little more soda than last round. Sneak in a glass or liter of water. Eat a drumstick. ANYTHING to slow the ineluctable progress toward total oblivion. After all, you NEED to remember this game. You NEED to know where and when and how and why you were when Ole Miss and Cal left the earth’s atmosphere for bigger and better things.

DON’T FREAK THE HELL OUT EARLY

We’re dealing with a duo of CHAOS TEAMS. This confrontation will spin off the rails early, and you need to wait. Slow down. Don’t overreact. Let it slither its way to its eventual conclusion. It won’t slither, though. It will kangaroo sprint through various intervals of defensive incompetence and offensive WOW. It will crash into walls and hug the groove and provide the nastiest, fastest pit-stops known to man. They’ll probably crucify a human pharmakon at halftime, because that is what this ritual exercise needs. Cal will be up, then Ole Miss will be up, then someone will be up by more at the end of regulation. Or maybe they’ll be tied by that time and play on into Tuesday. That’d be just great, because you need to EXPECT that nothing expected will transpire here. It’s weird out there, and also there’s this:

FIRST DATE. BLIND DATE. Ole Miss’ players will react however they will react. You, dear college football fan, should react accordingly. Which is to say, react with the level-headedness that you demonstrate in Tuesday afternoon faculty meetings the world over. Whatever happens, this isn’t the end. IT NEVER IS.

DON’T TRUST ANY LEAD WHATSOEVER

You may have gleaned this from the previous sub-head, but you need to be prepared for serious swings and lead changes here. These are two of the most unpredictable, explosive, stagnant clubs in modern CFB, and THERE WILL BE POINTS ALL OVER THE PLACE IN UNCONVENTIONAL WAYS. Cal lost Tre Watson, its best running back — which frankly sucks, because this game is all the better with him participating — but that doesn’t really matter, because POINTS POINTS POINTS FOR EVERYONE. Just don’t go throwing your television off the roof because Ole Miss finds itself down, like, 86-78 at halftime. THERE’S STILL TIME, TRAVELER.

#PAC12AFTERDARK

Do not think we are not serious and deliberate with any and every single word written herein. Your arrogance — your hubris, mortal — will trick you into believing that you have an idea of what you are in store for.

You are not.

When those of us on our side of the continental divide have endured the drudgery of 11:00 a.m. CT kickoffs, cruised through whatever overhyped SEC matchup CBS airs mid-afternoon, and watched whatever ABC and ESPN have decided is their marquee game, the dumbest shit on the planet is just getting started on the west coast. When you’re good and drunk, and either burned out of college football for the night or too busy getting ignored by attractive people at whatever watering hole you’re posted up at, people out in Pullman, in Corvallis, in Berkeley — they’re just getting started. That game you were stumbling around at when you looked up and thought “oh shit it’s the third quarter already?” They were watching that over breakfast. That high-profile ESPN game full of Brent Musburger gushing over some slow white linebacker? That was background noise at their tailgate.

Our main events are their appetizers, because they’ve got the wildest, weirdest, wackiest football that nobody east of Denver is awake or sober enough to watch. Need proof? Let me take you in our time machine to a little era known as last week. LOOK AT THIS FUCKING BOX SCORE! WASHINGTON STATE 47! BOISE STATE 44! THREE OVERTIMES! SEVEN TURNOVERS! The only reason Wazzu was able to tie the game with a minute-and-change to go in the fourth quarter was because a Cougars punt bounced off of the back of a Boise State player’s helmet. And about eight minutes of game time before that, the Broncos had a 21-point lead — on the road.

It was everything football should and should not be. It was beautiful, weird, stupid, brave, dangerous, and hellaciously fun. That’s because all of #Pac12AfterDark is played that way, and the Ole Miss Rebels, America’s most consistently inconsistent football program, get to be a part of it.

Have mercy.

IF OLE MISS WINS

DOESN’T MATTER, GET DRUNK.

IF OLE MISS LOSES

DOESN’T MATTER, GET DRUNK.

EVER REMEMBER: THERE’S NO BOWL GAME THIS YEAR

THE GAME DOESN’T RING IN AT EVEN A 1.0 ON THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL RICHTER SCALE. NADA. IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNIVERSE THIS GAME SIGNIFIES NOTHING. SO THE REBS LOSE. BIG DEAL, Y’ALL. NO SUGAR BOWL. OH WELL. EITHER WAY, WE WENT OUT TO BERKELEY AND BRAVED THE ANTIFA AND PUNCHED A FEW NEO-NAZIS AND THREW FOR SOME YARDS AND SOME POINTS AND CAME OUT ALIVE. IT’S ALL MEANINGLESS. THIS IS A WILD, WONDERFUL, INSANE, CHAOTIC SCREAM INTO THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL VOID. THIS GAME WILL GO INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS AS A FOOTNOTE TO A FOOTNOTE. SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL WILL LOOK BACK AT THIS THING AND WONDER WHY IT EVEN TOOK PLACE. THIS IS A GAME FOR THE AGES, ONLY BECAUSE IT WON’T LAST INTO THE AGES. GOTT IST EIN LAUTER NICHTS.