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How to watch Ole Miss football in a house divided

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Saturday is when we draw a line in the proverbial sand in the living room.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday not only marks a marquee opportunity for first-year head coach Lane Kiffin to get another conference win for Ole Miss as they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at 6:30pm CDT.

But it’s also a chance for yours truly to see a streak snapped that is held near and dear to my heart. Yes, I’m referring to the three-game win streak that Will Muschamp’s bunch will boast when they walk into Oxford, Miss. this weekend.

As a man who has married into this rivalry that is currently gridlocked at 8-8 all-time, I haven’t tasted victory since 2004 when Ethan Flatt outgunned Syvelle Newton en route to a 31-28 victory in Williams-Brice Stadium.

Football - NCAA - Ole Miss Cheerleaders Photo by Sean Meyers/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Adding to that pain, my wife and I attended the contest in 2018 when the Rebels blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and effectively rendered me speechless as we exited the stadium, me begrudgingly trying to keep pace as she popped her proverbial jersey at any and everyone that was in her path.

This all brings us to this weekend. If you’re in this kind of relationship you know the struggle that comes with gameday. How do you act? How do you talk? Do you make eye contact? All of that is something that you have to consider with your significant other when Saturday approaches.

But, have no fear, I have a how-to guide to help you along the way as you embark on this journey with me.

Start the day off with a complimentary gesture.

In our house, we love coffee, so that’s easy. Go ahead and get that cup ready for your significant other. If they like cream and/or sugar, have that added and go ahead and turn on College Gameday for them.

We also enjoy a nice bagel and shmear here at the Berry House, so I’m going to give you another freebie: always add more cream cheese.

You can never have too much and she will thank you for it.

If bagels aren’t your thing, a half dozen of donuts or a nice, hearty breakfast that you made yourself can always set the day off to a fantastic start.

Be courteous at all times.

I mean, after all, this is a game. It’s not life or death, right? Sure, there might be some smack talk here and there thrown your way, but take the high road here and don’t initiate. Stay the course.

Because, let’s be honest, there’s going to come a point in the game this weekend when Ole Miss makes a huge play and things are really looking promising for the team, but you mustn’t boast.

Keep those celebrations to yourself and wait for that final whistle before exhaling and slumping in your chair. Exchange pleasantries and congratulate your wife and her team on a valiant effort before embracing and moving on with life together as partners in love.

Handle adversity internally.

Now, if things go South for Ole Miss and the Gamecocks start, strap in to your mind palace and batten down the hatches. This is when verbal vitriol is most likely going to be hurled your way.

This is where, as an opposing fan, you have to stay strong and do not engage. Sure, the offense is sputtering and USC has somehow figured out a way to score four-straight possessions with their third-string quarterback, but you’re better than that, do not take the bait.

Just simply shake your head and get another beer. Let the alcohol cool the fire that is burning within. And if you want to fight fire with fire, again, do it inside. Pour a bourbon. Make it a three-finger pour, too, so your throat and nose burn at the same time as your ears from hearing all the shit talk.

Make small talk that is unrelated to the game.

Sure, he/she might want to talk through the game. Maybe it’s something they do to make themselves feel better if their team is underperforming or it could be a smoke and mirrors tactic before they land a punchline that is just devastating and will send you to the bathroom, gazing into the mirror trying to figure out how you didn’t see it coming.

And, hey, if they want to be brash and celebrate a first quarter turnover, let them. It’s a 60-minute game and there’s a lot of football left. But, we aren’t going to do that.

You’re going to bring up re-organizing the guest room. What about moving the bed over to that corner that you both know will efficiently optimize the space more and effectively give your guests more natural light? That’s the stuff.

“Hey, babe, remember that mantle you saw at the antique mall? I think we should pull the trigger if it’s still there.” There you go, a Sunday activity, that’s brilliant.

Or, what about the welfare check on the kiddo if you have one, that is always a crowd pleaser. Offer up a diaper change, go ahead and get that dinner ready, take the trash out, breakdown those Amazon boxes, all of that. The key here is that you are talking and doing anything and everything that does NOT pertain to the football game going on.

If they want to trash talk, let ‘em do it. Remember, the key is to deflect and redirect.

Stay hydrated.

This one is a given. You want to maintain optimal levels of hydration because you’re going to be drinking regardless of how the game is going, but also to keep the vocal chords fresh for when you inevitably forget everything I’ve just told you and you start either yelling at the television because Ole Miss is only rushing three on a third and long or when you want to start talking shit about Collin Hill and how he looks like he’s still in his Stephen Garcia Halloween costume.

But, lest we forget. We hydrate now so we can drink more on Saturday. Go ahead and start drinking those water bottles today. Fill up that Nalgene. Make sure to take that Hydro Flask with you to the store.

Keep. Drinking. Water.

There’s no better feeling than a well-timed fist bump and loud exclamation of “HOW YOU LIKE THAT?!” to your opponent’s face.

Perfect the art of silent contemplation.

Whether it’s after the game is over or during the action, you must be able to stare at the pixels on the screen and quietly assess what you’re viewing in a delightfully-arranged posture that is not only soothing to your equilibrium, but psyches them out.

It will have their mind racing, trust me.

“Is he mad?”

“He hasn’t said anything in 27 minutes.”

“Wait, how many seltzers has he had?”

“When did he bring that decanter out here...he’s going to break that.”

“Did he just wake the kiddo up with that four-letter outburst???”

All of these questions that have started an internal monologue with your spouse are once again deflecting and redirecting from the ass-whipping that is almost certainly going on.

Be humble in victory and defeat.

If Ole Miss wins this weekend, you just have to call it like it is.

“We scored more points than y’all did, plain and simple.”

“It was a great game!”

“Hey, that third down defense Muschamp has is something else, huh?”

Just take a deep breath and go through the Three C’s:

  1. Compliment
  2. Critique
  3. Contemplate

If you do these three in a mature way, there’s no way that you can be the bad guy/girl. Give credit where it’s due, offer up some constructive criticism, and bring it all home with a call to reflection. Your partner will greatly appreciate it regardless of the outcome.


Remember, it’s just a game. A happy marriage/relationship/friendship is far more important than any old contest between two 2-4 teams on SEC Network when the spread has moved form an opening -7 line to damn near -11.5 in just under two days.

Take a deep breath, hug them tight, and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. And by sweet nothings I mean talk mad shit because, like you, I will have forgotten all of this by the end of the first quarter.

Cheers.