Revisiting Egg Bowl Civility


Nov 1, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; A general view from the end zone during the game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Auburn defeated Ole Miss 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Egg Bowl Week. Last year, I wrote about how we needed to take a civility lesson for the upcoming Egg Bowl. Last year’s Egg Bowl didn’t have a ton on the line. Sure, Mississippi State was seeking bowl eligibility, but we didn’t forsee that helping launch Mississippi State into a 12 game win streak. Even with what appeared to be a small amount riding on the game, things were certainly chippy before and after the game.

This week’s game is different. The game is being played on CBS and will have SEC West, SEC Championship, and possibly College Football Playoff implications. The rhetoric between the two fan bases has been fever pitch this season. The only real break in the intensity of the rivalry came during the first weekend of October when the nation was mystified by the things Mississippi State and Ole Miss did on that day. Mississippi State got the day started with a thumping of 6th ranked Texas A&M. Ole Miss followed it up with a shocking win over the Crimson Tide, Alabama’s only loss to date. Since that date, fans of both schools have been engaging in a constant back and forth of barbs and insults.

Asking people to be civil about the game is going to be a futile endeavor. I would ask that people not get carried away when they engage fans of the opposing side. There isn’t anything wrong with this either. Smack talk can be fun and lots of people engage in it every day. People have created accounts on Twitter with the sole purpose of engaging in different degrees of smack talk. It can be a lot of fun.

People can also get carried away. If you proudly wear your Mississippi State or Ole Miss pride on your sleeve, you are going to get people who feel the urge to say something to you about this week’s game. It’s only natural to some people. My plea to the citizens in the state of Mississippi that side with one school in the Egg Bowl Rivalry is two fold: practice moderation and pick your targets wisely.

Practicing Moderation: When I talk about this topic, people often think I don’t condone trash talk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason I don’t engage in too much of it is simply because people get too carried away with it. I know I am the type who could easily have that happen as well. The easiest solution for me is to just abstain from the practice.

That isn’t the case for every one. When practicing moderation in everything, you have to know your limits. If you overindulge in anything, it can be unhealthy. Some of the nicest, most cordial people I know will often turn in to the most bitter and hateful people I know when discussing their love for Ole Miss or Mississippi State. With the stakes being so high, it will be only worse this week. If you feel like you are getting carried away, you probably are. Take a step back and bow out for a moment, even if it might mean you “lose” the argument.

Pick Your Targets Wisely: Lets be honest, some people just know how to push our buttons. They know how to get us riled up over things that we normally wouldn’t give a second thought to. As we get ready to play one of the most significant Egg Bowls in the history of the series, make sure you are avoiding the people who can make your blood pressure boil the most. If those people seek you out, simply walk away. Sometimes we have to let our ego take a hit. The last thing you want or need is to have someone goad you in to making a statement on Facebook or Twitter that could damage your relationships with friends and family or even causing you to get fired.

This week could be one of the most fun in the history of the Egg Bowl, but it will also be one of the most heated weeks in the series as well. Ole Miss fans are going to be testy because their team is reeling right now. Mississippi State fans are going to be brash because they are entering the game in a position we have never been in before with 10 regular season wins. Add to it all the social media sites out there and the ways in which we go about engaging other people, it will be even worse. It’s fun to engage fans of other schools, but just don’t get so caught up in the fun that it gets the best of you.