Nov 28, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs players hold up the egg bowl trophy after winning the game against the Mississippi Rebels at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat the Mississippi Rebels with a score of 17-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi State and Ole Miss will renew their annual rivalry this week with The Battle for the Golden Egg. There are lots of beliefs that the fans of each school cling to when discussing the coveted Golden Egg. But are these beliefs fact or just good old fashioned myths? It’s time to take a close look.
The Rivalry is One Sided
The Basis: Ole Miss leads the series 61-43-6.
Fans that cling to this: Ole Miss fans
Breaking it down With an 18 game lead in the series, you could make the argument that the series between Ole Miss and Mississippi State is one sided. The key to the argument is how much weight do you put on wins that happened before most of the fans for each side were even in diapers. Ole Miss owned the series in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. They built up a huge lead during that time frame. The Bulldogs have been slowly chipping away at it ever since Jackie Sherrill came to town. The Bulldogs have won 13 of the last 23 meetings, and will try to make it 5 of the last 6 this year in Oxford. Is it true? It’s going to be however you choose to spin it. Yes, the Rebels have a big lead in the series, so they will always say that it is a one sided rivalry until Mississippi State ties it up. Since they only play once a year, it’s going to be a while for that to happen. If you’re a State fan, you’re going to constantly point to the only things that truly matter are recent history.
The Rebels Can’t Beat Dan Mullen Consistently
The Basis: Mississippi State is 4-1 in the Egg Bowl since Mullen arrived.
Fans that cling to this: Mississippi State fans
Breaking it down: The Bulldogs haven’t enjoyed the success they have in the Egg Bowl since they won four in a row from 1939 to 1942. Bulldogs’ fans love being able to tout 4 out of 5 to Rebels fans. But does that mean the Rebels will never be able to beat Mullen? Ole Miss fans will often tell State fans that Mullen was 3-0 against Nutt but 1-1 against Freeze. This year’s game might give a little more validity to either side’s case.
The Home Team Always Wins
The Basis: The Home team has won 13 of the past 15 games.
Fans that cling to this: Whoever has home field.
Breaking it down: With the home team winning 13 of the past fifteen games, you can see why people think this. But there have been times that the road team has done well. For five straight years in 1994 to 1998, the road team won every game before the home team started its current domination. I think this has less to do with the teams playing at home, and it has more to do with how capable the road teams were in playing well on the road. Since the game was moved back to each campus in 1991, the only times either team has won on the road, the home team was awful In 2003, the Rebels were enjoying one of their best seasons ever with Eli Manning leading the way. The Bulldogs had begun a complete collapse under Jackie Sherrill a few years earlier. In 2010, the Rebels had started their drastic fall under Houston Nutt. Both years saw easy victories for the road team. This year will be the first time in the last sixteen that the road team will be a top 5 team. Great teams can win on the road. And if Mississippi State can win, it would go a long way to proving they are a great team. And it would also determine just how true or untrue this myth is.
Only Mississippi State Fans care about the Egg Bowl
The Basis: Ole Miss claims LSU is their real rival.
Fans the cling to this: Ole Miss fans, but more so when they are on the losing end.
Breaking it down: Once again, spin is essential to this myth. I firmly believe there is a set of Ole Miss fans that truly hate LSU more than Mississippi State. These are the fans that were alive and witnessed the total domination of the series I referenced earlier. Mississippi State won infrequently, and there wasn’t much for Ole Miss fans to concern themselves with when it came to the Bulldogs. Fans 40 and younger haven’t been able to experience that domination, but they have adopted it into their mantra. At one time, the series between LSU and Ole Miss was pretty close, but LSU has now won 11 of the past 15 in the series and given them a 19 game lead in the series. So while Ole Miss fans might tell you they are on an even level with LSU, they actually have one more game to make up in their series with LSU than we do with them in our series.