Bent’s Bites – Tennessee @ umiss


Can the Tennessee Blueticks run the Mississippi Black Bears up a tree?

Well, here we are with another much needed and much deserved bye week. Nothing really to do except relax and enjoy being ranked #1 in the nation for at least one, maybe two weeks before we have to play again. We can cheer for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to beat Florida State, or at least keep it close enough that they hopefully don’t jump us in the AP during our bye week. We can wear maroon every day and shout, “Hail State!” and high five the other people wearing maroon we pass in Walmart. (I’m not the only one doing that, right?) And… many of us will cheer for the Tennessee Volunteers to upset the #3 Black Bears from umiss this Saturday.

We cannot help it, really. It’s ingrained in the DNA of our True Maroon blood. We cheer for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and whomever is playing against umiss. We just do. Does this game affect us? No, not really, but so what? If umiss wins, and they probably will, they certainly won’t go up in the rankings. If they manage to overlook the Vols, as arrogant and highly talked about teams can sometimes do, looking forward to their Saturday Night in Death Valley date next Saturday and lose, they most certainly would fall in the polls. As all torn up as they are with their panties all in a bunch now about being only ranked third while we’re basking in the adoration of the nation at #1, seeing them fall even further down would certainly be hilarious to the traditional rebel-hatin’ Bulldawg fan. Of course there is also always the perception that any time we win or they lose it helps us long-term with winning in-state recruits.

I’m somewhat torn on how I feel about that. On the one hand, my natural inclination is to hope for them to lose. I naturally want them to lose to Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, and even the Presbyterian Blue Hose. I want my MSU Dawgs to be the only undefeated team in the SEC West. I want to already know we’re going to Atlanta to represent the West before the Egg Bowl.

On the other hand, this new championship playoff has me mixed up. We don’t know, this being the first year, what it’s going to take to get into that playoff. I just can’t help but think, though, that if both State and umiss go into the Egg Bowl undefeated, there’s no way that the winner and perhaps both don’t make that playoff. In other words, the better they are when we beat them, the higher we springboard off that win.

There has been an awful lot of “cheering for Mississippi” and wanting to support both Mississippi schools and apparent goodwill between the two traditional hated rivals, at least publicly. I have a strong feeling, however, that this is neither widespread nor will it be long-lived. It’s just eating them up that we’re #1, and they don’t want us to remain there. We don’t really want them right at our heels undefeated either. Not deep down, not on an emotional level. There may not be all that much goodwill between the two schools and their fanbases, but I do believe that there is right now a certain level of respect from both fan bases for the talent that the other has as a football team. They know that we’re good, and like it or not, we know that they have a good team, too. As I said, though, I’m personally torn. These ambiguous feelings are somewhat uncomfortable and unnatural, too. My gut wants umiss to lose — always. My head, on the other hand, knows that we might need them to keep winning to bump up our strength of schedule for our playoff resume.

Starting last season and continuing thru this one, I’ve been producing these pictures for both our games and theirs. My silly little images, usually involving the mascots of the teams involved, always call for a State win and for a umiss loss. I’m growing a little weary of producing the umiss ones. I didn’t even do one last week. I really only talked myself into doing one for this Tennessee game this week because we have a bye week. It just feels weird to keep making pictures that say I think they’re going to lose, when I really don’t think they will. In some ways, I don’t know if I even hope that they will. But, Hey! It’s a bye week. Go Vols!

Go Vols! and Hail State!