Ole Miss will be out for Bulldog blood as they will fight on Saturday for a chance at the bowl games. A win against their enemy will salvage them from all the damage they have done in the last month in their losses to Arkansas and Auburn.
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The Battle for the Golden Egg, what is now more known as the Egg Bowl, is a Mississippi battle between the Mississippi Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels. How did this game come to be? There are many reasons (other than the obvious that they are the only in-state public schools playing Division 1 football).
The Egg Bowl is the tenth longest uninterrupted series in all of sports in the United States. Their first game against each other was in 1901, and the bickering started between the two even before the first kick-off. The first game was delayed an hour because Ole Miss was accusing Mississippi State of playing non-students. Of course, the Bulldogs denied that being true and whipped the Rebels in that inaugural game 17-0. That kind of rivalry spite has continued to build over 113 years.
The rivalry is known for its periodic brawls in the middle of the games, and sometimes even before the game begins. In 1926, the Rebs finally broke their losing streak they had been on for the past 13 years against Miss State. The fans were so excited that they stormed the field tearing down the Bulldogs goal posts. Mississippi State became furious over the damage to their field and started slamming wooden chairs over Rebels Fans heads and bodies until the fighting was broken up.
This is why the Golden Egg Trophy was invented in 1927. The winner of the game would receive the Trophy and place it on their school grounds for the entire following year. The trophy was a 1920s shaped football on a wooden stand, and in those days, a ball’s design was more rounded and duller on the ends, making for a more egg-like shape. The term “Egg Bowl” was then coined by a sportswriter later on in 1979.
Once you pick a side, there is no going back. Fans would rather die than become allies. C.R. “Dudy” Noble was a Mississippi Alumni, and later on coach at Ole Miss in 1917 and 1918 before returning back to State to become a legend as one of the greatest athletic directors of the university. Upon his return to Miss State, he told a sportswriter, “I already know what hell is like. I once coached at Ole Miss.
One thing fans (as well as odds makers) have learned about the Egg Bowl is that it is almost impossible to predict. This is one of those games where you can’t look at trends, record books, or even matchups. A rivalry like this is fueled on fan electricity, home field advantages, and the ability for players to get their head on straight in what can only be described as warfare on the field.
The game this Saturday has a lot more than just bragging-rights on the line. Mississippi State is still in the running to be considered for the College Football Championship game, and a loss to the Rebs will strip them of their chances.
We are in for a good show on Saturday. May the better Mississippi men win.