It’s Thanksgiving day, and the one family member who makes your skin crawl for one reason or another enters the dining room.
You can choose at this point what direction this is going to go. This family member likely knows you don’t care for them, and maybe they even thrive off of it. And so is life as a fan of Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, which stupidly continues to be played on Thanksgiving.
Maybe its just me, but the State fans I know seem to love the rivalry more and taking jabs in public or on social media. There are definitely Rebel fans who do the same, though it just doesn’t seem like the same volume or level of hate.
For me, I just don’t think the game matters as much as it should. The greatest rivalries always have more at stake than just a state championship for the next 365 days. Fans can debate which program is better and use whatever stats and facts they choose to bolster their argument, but when fans say they want Ole Miss or State to lose every game, it makes no sense to me.
What I want is the winner of the Egg Bowl to go to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game - let’s see 11-0 Ole Miss vs. 11-0 Mississippi St. instead of what fans will watch this year, which is two good teams battling for a trophy and a better bowl spot. If the Rebels win, fans can probably expect a trip to Orlando and the Citrus Bowl, and with a loss, it’s likely the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa.
Most of the hay is in the barn on this season. There’s eight wins, top 25 victories, some let downs late in the season, but most importantly the rise of one of the best running backs in Ole Miss history in Quinshon Judkins.
For MSU, the Bulldogs are headed to a bowl game as well, maybe Music City or Gator Bowl. Again, there’s seven wins already in the books, and an eighth would be massive for the fans who hate Ole Miss but moreso for head coach Mike Leach who has yet to beat the Rebels.
It’s tough to grasp why this year’s Egg Bowl doesn’t seem to have the same juice, but most likely its the ongoing uncertainty around head coach Lane Kiffin and his prospects for next season. Now, I’m not sure if Kiffin making a statement about wanting to stay at Ole Miss would even help at this point - either sign the contract or let the noise continue.
So as it sits on Monday with a few days until kickoff all signs point to another distraction-laden football game, which could mean a three game losing streak to close out what was a very promising season. Or this team can see the Arkansas loss as a reality check and that one more win would change how everyone in Mississippi views them and potentially changes the trajectory of next season.
Whatever amount of wine, beer or hard liquor you’ve got stashed away for Thanksgiving might need a good top off. For better or worse, it’s Egg Bowl week. Drop some hate in the comments!