My Spring Game Apathy


Dec 31, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen before the game against the Rice Owls at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs beat Rice Owls 44 – 7. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend is one of the best weekends of the year on the Mississippi State campus. It’s Super Bulldog Weekend. There are typically lots of great things going on around campus, and the entire weekend is centered around two things: a home baseball series against an SEC opponent (this year, it’s Ole Miss) and the Spring Football game.

I loved Super Bulldog Weekend when I was a student at Mississippi State. It was always one of the things I looked forward to each year. The one thing that I don’t understand, and I know I am in the minority, is how much people look forward to the Spring Football Game.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the importance of the game. It’s the closest thing to real game action that we will see of the team that will play next year, except for the Freshmen that will arrive on campus next fall. But there are things about it that I just don’t get.

Who to Cheer For?

Seriously, who do you cheer for when it is your favorite team playing itself? I have no clue.  Do people just pull for the team that has their favorite player or do they just cheer when ever something good happens for one team? Some people have told me that they just enjoy watching the game without cheering for anybody, but I’m not wired that way. When I watch a sporting event of any kind, even if it involves teams I don’t care about, I always end up pulling for one of them. I can’t ever figure out who that should be when it is the Bulldogs vs. the Bulldogs.

How do we Interpret it?

It’s always interesting to see how people try to interpret the results of the Spring Game. I don’t know how you can actually do it. If the offense looks great, is it because we have a high powered scoring machine, or is it because the defense is going to struggle mightily the next year? The opposite is true as well. Finding legitimate analysis is tough. That being said, I will be right here on Monday or Tuesday of next week trying to do the same thing.

It’s also interesting to see what happens to the “breakout player”. Almost every year, there is a player that has a stand out game, but it doesn’t always result in a stellar performance the next year. Last year, the player that made an impression on so many people was Brandon Holloway. He displayed a ton of speed and ability to get the ball in the open field and make plays. We didn’t see him do that this year. Maybe he will next year, but we haven’t seen the player we saw in the 2013 Spring Game.

Overshadows the Baseball Game

The football game is the marquee event of Super Bulldog Weekend, but the baseball series is by far more important. We could approach record crowds this Saturday at Dudy Noble Field because it just so happens that our opponent for SBW is Ole Miss. Because we are playing Ole Miss, it might make people remember the baseball game a little more, but many years all people want to talk about is the football game. The baseball game is a regular season game that is right in the middle of the SEC schedule. The football game is a hyped up scrimmage. A well organized scrimmage, but still a scrimmage.

The best example of this came two years. ago. The 2012 baseball team had gotten off to a rough start in SEC play entering Super Bulldog Weekend. They were 5-10 and coming off an embarrassing sweep at the hands of South Carolina. Tennessee was coming to town and the Bulldogs were in desperate need of a win, and possibly a sweep to get the season back on track. Because SportsSouth wanted the first game on TV, it was moved to Thursday night. That meant the Saturday game would be the final game in the series. Mississippi State won the first two games and looked to finish off the sweep. The football game was scheduled to be played about an hour after the baseball game should have been over. As baseball games sometimes do, this one went into extra innings when the Bulldogs knotted the score at two apiece in the sixth inning. As the extra frames began to mount up, the crowd began to dissipate because so many people were more interested in the football game as opposed to the baseball game. The game ended on a walkoff wild pitch, much like last night’s tilt with Southern Miss, but a lot of people weren’t there to see it.

That scenario won’t play out this weekend because the football game starts at 11:30 and the baseball game starts at 3:00. But it still will overshadow what the team does against Ole Miss. It may also cause the crowd to be thin when the game gets started.

Don’t take this the wrong way, and think I don’t understand the importance of the game, it’s just a n event that doesn’t excite me the way it does for so many fans of college football. If you are headed down to Starkville this weekend to catch the Spring Game, I hope you have a great time. Just don’t forget about the baseball team while you’re there.