Egg Bowl Tensions will be High


Oct 10, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA; Hail State on the end zone as the Mississippi State Bulldogs hosted the Troy Trojans at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 17 – 45. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The Egg Bowl is always a heated rivalry and the 2015 version will be no different.

This will be the third time I spend my time watching the Egg Bowl as a blogger. I always thought I had a pretty good grasp of what the Egg Bowl and its rivalry was before I started blogging. But I’ve learned I wasn’t nearly up to speed on the rivalry as I am now.

Rivalries are fun. If people keep their cool and stick to sports, the banter between fans can be entertaining even if it is rarely informative. Unfortunately, people don’t always do this, and the end result is people saying terrible things simply because they lose proper perspective on the rivalry all together.

It was because of this I wrote about Egg Bowl Civility two years ago. I covered some basic things people needed to remember when engaging people from the other side of the rivalry. Last year, I tried to be a little more specific. Tensions were pretty high between the two fan bases because the spotlight was on the state in ways that it had never been before. There was a belief, though we know it to be false now, that Mississippi State still had a chance at the College Football Playoff if they had won. Ole Miss worked their way to a New Year’s Six bowl because they won the game.

Circumstances have been different surrounding each of the past three Egg Bowls, the three coached by both Dan Mullen and Hugh Freeze. In 2012, Freeze needed to win to get to bowl eligibility and complete a rather remarkable turnaround. In 2013, Mullen needed a win for bowl eligibility and to erase what little heat that had started to surface around him. We’ve already discussed what was on the line in 2014.

So that brings us to this year. Unless Alabama were to lose to Auburn on Saturday, there won’t be any real SEC West implications on the line. Most people don’t see that happening, so this will be for pride. It really won’t even impact bowls because there is no longer a pecking order in the SEC bowls. But tensions are likely to be high again for different reasons.

Staying Relevant
Mississippi State and Ole Miss play in the most difficult division in all of college football. For these two programs to keep up with all of the teams ahead of it, beating their in-state rival is almost a must. The two schools have enjoyed a lot of success the past few years, but neither has been able to breakthrough and get to Atlanta.

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And since neither team has been able to make that breakthrough, being the better program is highly important to fans of both schools. The winner will try to show there is a significant gap between the two, but it really isn’t the case. Try to remember when dealing with the other school’s fans that no matter what they say to convince you otherwise, both schools have made a ton of progress. And if some person you’ve never met on Facebook or Twitter is getting you so angry over telling you that their school has made a lot of progress but yours hasn’t, it is time to step away from the keyboard.

The Egg Bowl will make or break the season for both schools
Mississippi State has already won more games than a lot of people thought they would in 2015. Many won’t view a loss to ole Miss as that significant from a national perspective. But a win over Ole Miss this season changes the entire dynamic of the season for the Bulldogs. They would have done far better than anyone thought possible at the beginning of 2015, and they beat one of the most talented teams in Ole Miss history with a bunch of guys who are still learning how to play together as a team. The difference between a ho-hum season and one Bulldog fans will remember for years to come is riding on this game.

For Ole Miss, the Rebels need something to salvage from a season that had much higher potential. If Ole Miss lost the Egg Bowl in 2015, they would have gone from the favorite to win the SEC and make the Playoff after their win over Alabama to a tie for second with the Bulldogs, and possibly others, plus a possibility of not even being ranked after their bowl game. It would be a devastating blow. But a win would put them closer to where they wanted to be. It would at least make some of the disappointment sting a little bit less, and they wouldn’t have to deal with Mississippi State fans giving them grief.

People are going to be a lot more sensitive about defending their school this week. Try to keep that in mind when dealing with the fans from the other side.

The quarterback debate
I really didn’t want to see the Dak versus Bo debates carry over into Dak versus Chad. Debating quarterbacks has never really been a debate Mississippi State fans have wanted to have simply because our quarterback play has never been very good. And Dak Prescott has been arguably the best quarterback in the SEC and one of the best in the country in 2015.

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  • Chad Kelly has been really good as well. The reason his name hasn’t been mentioned is due to the fact he hasn’t taken very good care of the football. If Chad Kelly were to significantly outplay Dak Prescott in this game, the narrative might change. As of right now, Dak Prescott and Brandon Allen are the likely 1st and 2nd team All SEC quarterbacks, but if Kelly went off, he could conceivably knock Prescott off either team, though that his highly unlikely after Prescott’s performance last night in Fayetteville. Both fans are going to be really amped up about their quarterbacks this week.

    Sending legends off as winners
    Ole Miss made waves with the 2013 recruiting class. Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell, and Tony Conner headlined a star studded recruiting class. And all four were as good as advertised. That is almost unheard of. And even better news for that class, They found stars in Evan Engram and Quincy Adeboyejo. The 2013 class helped accelerate what should have been a 3 to 4 year rebuilding process. Ole Miss is likely to lose the four 5 star players from this class to the NFL. They could come back, but most people project all four to go in the first round, so the likelihood of them doing so is small.

    Mississippi State is getting ready to prepare for life without the most iconic player in the history of the school. Dak Prescott has given Mississippi State much more prominence in the national landscape than any player has ever done. The Bulldog fans want their most beloved player to go out with a win over their most hated rival.

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    Both fans have players who have meant as much to their program as any other through the history of their school. Expect fans of both teams to be enormously sensitive about those beloved players.

    It’s Thanksgiving week. Mississippi State and Ole Miss both have a lot to be thankful for this year as fans, but whoever loses the Egg Bowl in 2015, expect the fans to forget all that in a heartbeat.