Immediately following Ole Miss’s 31-17 victory over Mississippi State Saturday night, I turned away from the television, fist bumped my cousin who’s a rebel fan and walked away. I put my phone in my pocket with it on silent because I didn’t want to see what was coming, thanked the host of the party, participated in some random chit chat and we left the building.
During those somber moments I told myself it’s just a football game, because really it is. There are more important things in life. Mississippi State finished 10-2 in the regular season, something that hasn’t ever been done in Starkville and that’s something to be proud of, but in all these thoughts and emotion the one thing I never did was congratulate any of my friends or family that are Ole Miss Fans, and I never will.
Immediately I know if you’re an Ole Miss fan you’re thinking “what a Jack Wagon this guy is”, or if you’re a State fan you’re probably thinking “dang dude get a grip”, but please allow me to explain and allow me to explain to Johnny Fan Boy State fan why you shouldn’t ever congratulate Ole Miss fan either.
In the world of college sports and particularly football – if this were ancient Rome, Mississippi State would be surrounded in the Coliseum by mammoth gladiators and when the horn sounded, it’s may the best gladiator win. That is the best way to describe the SEC West and the state it is in today.
There are seven teams in the SEC West and all seven are going bowling this year. Did you randomly read over that statement; if so let me put it in all caps like some of you like to do. THERE ARE SEVEN TEAMS IN THE SEC WEST AND ALL SEVEN ARE GOING BOWLING THIS YEAR.
There has never been a tougher place to play football than the SEC West and those teams are going nowhere fast. Every team recruits well, has good coaches and to get to the top and stay on top is something that is almost impossible.
So the last thing you want if you’re a fan of one of those seven teams is for the other to succeed.
This is not cricket, this is not croquet and this is not a friendly game of tennis. This is high stakes college football and every team wants to leave the others in the dust.
This is not a “gee golly” shucks game of horse shoes where you say, “Man! Good game dude and throw in the proverbial LOL with a pat on the back.
I want your team to fail and I want my team to succeed, period end of story and that takes me back to the Egg Bowl.
Back in mid-October when Mississippi State and Ole Miss shared the cover of Sports Illustrated, I sat back and watched thousands on both sides start to proclaim, “this is great for the state of Mississippi”, “man lets cheer em on so we can have an epic Egg Bowl” – and several more comments like this.
I personally did not like sharing a cover with Ole Miss because it meant they got the same coverage State got and I knew at some point this holding hands, let’s sing Kumbaya pipe dream would end.
Ole Miss lost to LSU then Auburn and Immediately Ole Miss fans started talking about State being over-rated. Then State lost to Alabama and you would have thought Ole Miss won the SEC. Smack talk ensued and then Ole Miss ultimately won the Egg Bowl.
Since this past Saturday you have seen thousands of comments like “KEEP DAN MULLET, PLEASE KEEP MULLET SO WE CAN BEAT HIM AGAIN”, photos of Ole Miss fans celebrating Trey Elstons illegal hit on Dak Prescott and more – yet I still see State fans giving the good ole boy “gee golly shucks guys, congrats on the win, you really beat our ass.”
I’ve even heard folks go back to the ole “well it’s good for the state to have both teams now heading to two good bowl games.”
Never is it good for Ole Miss to beat State or succeed and never should you congratulate them. While you’re congratulating them they are mocking your team. While you’re congratulating them, thinking it’s the right thing to do, they have a coach talking with a recruit about how their team is on the rise and state is fading.
You never see Alabama fans congratulate Auburn or vice versa. You never see Coke congratulate Pepsi and you never see Republicans congratulate Democrats. Why -because those people understand the high stakes involved and the severity of losing to the other or their competitor.
I’m not saying you should be rude, crude or an ass hat – what I am saying is, think about what you are doing. When you congratulate Ole Miss on winning the Egg Bowl you might as well congratulate them on seizing some momentum from your team because it’s going to happen. They are going to leverage 365-days of winning every way they can and I don’t blame them. State has done it for several years now.
You might as well go ahead and tell them “congrats man on flipping that 2016 prospect bro. That’s a heck of a steal. Or – congrats man, now shove every E-Card, souped up photo shop and derogatory comment you can think of down State’s throat.”
Because that’s what they are going to do – heck they started it the minute the Egg Bowl ended. Like this guy who wrote –
"“enjoy your gold shoes and helmets and the fall back to where you belong-with Col Reb’s foot on your throat. Oh, and the Black Bears thing, well, you may just wanna call us your daddy, because we just blistered you for the 2nd straight time in O-Town.”"
Or these photos that are going around.
When you congratulate them you are congratulating them on increased alumni support, private funding, positive publicity and that does nothing for your institution.
The SEC West is hard enough without everyone else having immense success. The last thing I want is my rival having success that could end up hurting my school in the end.
I don’t care about the state of Mississippi and “shining a light on our state” because people are going to think what they want to think about the Magnolia State as a whole. Ole Miss or Mississippi State football success will change very few people’s perception.
What I want, is for Mississippi State to succeed in every way possible because they are my people. I want them to succeed academically, socially and competitively and one thing I will never do is congratulate or go out of the way to show appreciation to a group of people I don’t want to succeed.
You can have respect for your fellow competitors, but you don’t have to go out of your way – so stop it.
Some of you might as well plaster this logo on your back window because when you go over the top to be nice to their fans, you’re in essence supporting this logo. I can promise you, they don’t want you to succeed, so stop patronizing their ego.