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Rebel History: The Egg Bowl hasn’t always been the final game

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The Battle for the Golden Egg has not always been the final chapter of a season for the Rebels.

Ole Miss Athletics — Josh McCoy

Ole Miss and Mississippi State have met on the gridiron 117 times with the Rebels officially leading the all-time series 63-46-6 after the NCAA put its hand in results from both teams.

The game has been fought in seven cities across the Magnolia State (Oxford, Starkville, Jackson, Tupelo, Clarksdale, Columbus and Greenwood) and has always been an important meeting for both fan bases. The Golden Egg was born in 1927 after a brawl between fans ensued the previous year when Ole Miss fans rushed the field after ending a 13-game losing streak to then-Mississippi A&M. If only the Red and Blue faithful had known then its team would have a nearly 20-game series lead after the 2020 season.

It’s obvious this game has always been a heated affair, and it has traditionally been reserved for the final game of the season on or around Thanksgiving Day (because who doesn’t need a little drama with carbs?), but this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, in the early portions of the 20th century, it was an abnormality.

The Rebels haven’t ended the regular season with the Bulldogs on 22 occasions counting this season (assuming the remainder of the 2020 season gets played). Here’s a list of those years: 1903, 1904, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1945, 1970, 1974, 2001, 2020.

Now, as noted historian and radio host Michael Borkey pointed out on Twitter this week, 2020 is different than most of these years because multiple games are scheduled to be played by Ole Miss following the Egg Bowl this season.

So, the majority of these years featured like one game after the Egg Bowl, although there were a few times prior to 1925 when multiple games came after Ole Miss and Mississippi State/A&M played. Also, if you don’t listen to Borkey on SportsTalk Mississippi on weekdays or the Michael Borkey Show on Sundays, you’re missing out. Shameless plug.

Anyway, I decided to look at some of these seasons that I listed above (mainly the ones Borkey found) and see just what was happening in the Ole Miss world during those seasons. Looking at all 22 would take an insane amount of time, and considering Vox doesn’t pay me by the hour, I chose not to do that. Anyway, let’s have a look.

1903 — Later opponents: LSU

College football used to be weird (still is, but in a different way). Ole Miss met Mississippi A&M for the first ever time in Oxford and drew a 6-6 tie, but what I noticed from the 1903 schedule is that Ole Miss played something called the Memphis Medical Hospital College earlier in the year and won 17-0. The Memphis Medical Hospital College later became the University of Tennessee School of Medicine, so it’s no longer its own independent institution which is fun. College football used to be a cross between like universities playing the local YMCA, and that’s something I’m here for.

Ole Miss’ only other game after their meeting with Miss. A&M came in New Orleans against LSU.

1925 — Later opponents: Vanderbilt, Sewanee, Mississippi College, Southwestern, Millsaps

It’s so strange to see that Ole Miss played schools that are no longer Division I members of the NCAA, but like I said before, college football (and college sports in general) were very different back then. Imagine Ole Miss rolling up to Jackson daring Mississippi College and Millsaps to come outside and catch the smoke from Matt Corral. Would be glorious.

1936 — Later opponents: Miami (Ohio), Tennessee

This was the beginning of a stretch where Ole Miss played Tennessee in Memphis in December, which gave me a great idea. Instead of the Egg Bowl being the last game of the year, Ole Miss should play a random game against Tennessee in the parking lot of the Bass Pro Pyramid in Memphis every year the first weekend of December.

You: “But, JMake, Tennessee isn’t Ole Miss’ permanent SEC East opponent?”

Me: “Greg Sankey can’t shoot all of us you narc let’s ride.”

1970 — Later opponents: LSU

It’s fitting that Ole Miss plays its real rival after the Egg Bowl this season and in 1970, although the Tigahs curbstomped Johnny Vaught and the Rebs 61-17 in Baton Rouge in this rendition of the retroactively-named Magnolia Bowl. Ole Miss would then face Auburn in the Gator Bowl and lose 35-28.

Even though Ole Miss and LSU should always play on Halloween weekend from now till the return of Christ, I grew up used to the Rebels and Tigers squaring off the week before the Egg Bowl, but the week after feels right too, so I’d take it.

1974 — Later opponents: Tulane

Speaking of real rivals, Ole Miss played founding-SEC-member TULANE in New Orleans to end this season. After dropping a 31-13 Egg Bowl, Ole Miss knocked off the Green Wave 26-10 to end on a strong note.

Also, Ole Miss should play Tulane every year. Let them come to Oxford. Let us go to NOLA. Home-and-home every year. Do it @KeithCarterOM.

2001 — Later opponents: Vanderbilt

This game was originally scheduled for the week of Sept. 11, but the SEC pushed all of those games to the end of the season, giving Ole Miss a random date with the Dores on Dec. 1. For the record, this is the only time before this season that Ole Miss has played a game after the Egg Bowl in the regular season in my lifetime, and I don’t even remember it. The Rebs did pick up the win, however, with a 38-27 final score.