That’s the number of days until the Egg Bowl.
That’s the last Saturday of the college football season. It’s also the annual regular season finale between the Bulldogs and Rebels. This year it’s at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ole Miss.
Hotty Toddy! Hail State!
Oh my… the Grove will be rocking.
These two programs have collectively played 240 years of college football. But there has never been a year like this for them.
Dan Mullen's Mississippi State is coming off two huge wins, one on the road in Baton Rouge and they beat a very good Texas A&M team at home on Saturday afternoon. A few hours after the Bulldogs whipped the Aggies, Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss shocked Alabama with a huge fourth quarter comeback victory. The Rebels and Bulldogs are both unbeaten and join Auburn atop the SEC West standings. Funnily enough, these two bitter rivals are both tied for third in the latest AP Poll.
There’s always has been chatter about these programs breaking through but talk is cheap in the SEC. You have to earn it and that means winning on the field. To do that you have to knock off the big boys of the conference who typically rule college football. Since 1996, Florida (three times), LSU (twice), Alabama (three), Tennessee, and Auburn have each have won national titles.
Mississippi State has only won the West once (1998) and Ole Miss has never made it to Atlanta the first Saturday in December. They each have had a large mountain to climb, especially playing in what has become college football’s best and deepest division, the SEC West.
This season could be different… much different if you are Ole Miss and Mississippi State. They have both made it over a hurdle or two already this fall. But more land mines lie ahead.
The Bulldogs host No. 2 ranked Auburn this weekend. This will mark their third consecutive monster game. If they can get by Gus Malzahn’s Tigers they still have much improved Kentucky and Arkansas on their schedule before they head to Tuscaloosa in mid-November.
The Bulldogs are red-hot and playing well on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dak Presscot is having a Heisman-like season and he leads this team. He can beat you running the ball as well as with his arm. Mississippi State can ground and pound with running back Josh Robinson. What I like best about this team is the way they play defense, especially what they bring up front. Of course, this Bulldogs club is pretty deep on experience, too.
The Ole Miss schedule is just as tough, as they travel to A&M for a Saturday night tussle with the Aggies. Then the Rebels close with games against Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Presbyterian, and Arkansas before they host Mississippi State.
The Rebels will go as far as Bo Wallace can take them. If he plays well and avoids turnovers, this club becomes so difficult to defend. Ole Miss has weapons and they can get after it defensively. In fact, they are No. 2 in the conference in total defense.
We have seen state heavyweight title fights in the past. There have been some unbelievable games over the years with huge ramifications in states like Alabama between the Tide and Tigers, and in Florida between the Gators and Seminoles and FSU and Miami.
Oh what could lie ahead between Ole Miss and Mississippi State?
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to disrespect this rivalry. This game always means something, especially to the players and fans of each proud program. But this one is a little different because something so much more could be at stake.
First things first, Mullen and Freeze have to navigate their respective teams through the bloody SEC West waters in what is the deepest rivalry this side of this conference has ever been. It’s likely that they beat up each other. No one will go unscathed.
If Mississippi State and Ole Miss keep playing the way they have been playing then a trip to the SEC Championship Game could very well be at stake in the Egg Bowl. That puts the winner in position to win the conference which most likely means a ticket to the first-ever college football playoffs.
It’s a magnificent year in the Magnolia State.
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