I have a Mississippi State Baseball tag on the front of my pickup truck. It has the inter-locking ‘MS’ logo on it and all the time people ask me, “Did you play baseball for the Mississippi Bulldogs?”. I have to bite my tongue. It’s nice they think that I actually could play collegiate baseball, so I try to maintain some dignity when I say, “no, I did not play baseball for Mississippi State”.
Outside the state of Mississippi, if you say you went to Mississippi State people almost always respond with this question: “is that the same thing as Ole Miss?”. It’s amazing, you’d think other states around the southeast would know the difference, you know, since we’re all in the SEC. I blame the school up north for that really, they confuse people by calling themselves Ole Miss, so folks think MSU is the university of Mississippi.
I can remember back in 1996 I was watching some coverage of the Final Four. Fox Sports put the Ole Miss logo on a quartered television screen in the background showing the Final Four participants. They didn’t botch Kentucky’s logo, or Syracuse. Even the Atlantic 10’s UMass got their logo on the screen correctly. But not State.
During this year’s Conference USA Championship Game, ESPN broadcaster Mike Patrick said Southern Miss was Mississippi State at one point. And he didn’t correct himself. So after a week of preparing for the game, interviewing the players, and reviewing stats, he couldn’t remember which team from Mississippi he was broadcasting?
After beating Florida Atlantic last week, ESPN put the ‘number 17 Rebels’ on their headline to recap the game. Really? I could name all 120 Division 1-A programs and their mascots correctly in under 5 minutes. Why can’t sports writers and reporters recognize the difference between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs?
I don’t mind when people ask where Mississippi State is located. But it is a little bothersome when they people who think they know say “Starksville”. What’s even worse is when an actual MSU fan calls it Starksville. And then the worse thing is when an MSU fan says “Dan Mullins”. For real? You can’t be serious.
These are just a few examples that came to the top of my head. I’m sure everyone could think of a few more they can remember.
None of this is any reflection on MSU, it’s just other people’s ignorance. One of the great things going on at State right now is Scott Stricklin and Company’s marketing abilities which promote MSU in a positive way. The endzones now say ‘Mississippi State’ instead of ‘Miss. State’ and the basketball court says ‘Mississippi State’ instead of ‘M State’. They are doing a good job of promoting the name of the school, and that will help to distinguish ourselves above and beyond TSUN, or Southern.