I'd been to both those games. It had been a long season. The Rebels had lost six games. I figured MSU would be the seventh.
So I didn't go back to Jackson. I watched on TV. The Rebels rolled 24-3. I didn't kick myself. I just thought how much fun I'd missed not being there. It was one of those lessons learned deals, that if you don't go, you never know what you might miss.
I didn't skip another one until Ed Orgeron's first trip to Starkville in 2005. Chuck said he would handle covering that one as I got ready for basketball and baseball seasons. I said, "Gladly."
This isn't really about any kind of streak, although the 1984 Battle of the Golden Egg was the only one I missed attending from 1969 when Archie was a junior until Coach O met Coach Croom five years ago. My mother and grandmother went to Starkville for that one in ‘69, along with my dad and me. I remember the exact words a relative said to us just days before. He was an MSU student at the time.
"Y'all going down for the slaughter?" he asked us. And it was. Ole Miss headed to the Sugar Bowl with a 48-22 win over the arch-rival in its hip pocket.
A couple of years later a carload of us, including that same MSU cousin, went back to State College, Miss., as it was called then, for what proved to be another slaughter. It was nothing to nothing after one quarter; 42-0 Ole Miss at the end of two. The Pride of the South and the Famous Maroon Band played their halftime shows to a near empty home side of Scott Field.
The Rebels took their foot off the gas and coasted to a 48-0 win that day on their way to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. But none of us had ever heard of Chick-Fil-A. Back then it was the Peach Bowl. I still call it that most of the time.
Ole Miss and State getting together brings it all back. Sometimes on Thanksgiving Day; always, it seems, on Thanksgiving weekend. Some have suggested through the years it might be better to play this one earlier in the season. While it's always a long winter for the loser, bowl game or not (remember the last 12 months?), it just wouldn't seem right playing Mississippi State in late September and Arkansas this weekend, or some other SEC foe.
So we gear up for another Egg Bowl. The Rebels have dominated through the years. But the past 20 or so, it's about all even.
When State moved the game out of Jackson (where it was played since 1973) to Starkville in 1991 with its new head coach, Jackie Sherrill, things changed, and that included for me. It was my first one to cover.
Home field has proven to be quite an advantage since the move back to each campus. Sherrill also started this business Dan Mullen continues of poking at the arch-rival by either name-calling or the lack thereof.
Sherrill decided Mississippi was the way he would refer to Ole Miss, which is actually OK since that is the name of the place – THE University of "Mississippi." So he might have thought he was taking a verbal swipe, but he wasn't since that is the name of the flagship university in the state.
This new TSUN deal, now that's a new twist on attempting to get under the skin of an opponent while rallying a success-starved fan base, following its leader's every move.
Just something else we see from time to time before it eventually passes.
So the Rebels try to do what they did in 1992, the second year of Sherrill, after he claimed the first Egg Bowl in his tenure at MSU the year before: go out and get it back.
The '92 Rebs were unlike this year's team. They were defense-oriented. That's why The Stand, as it's known, was pulled off late, as Ole Miss stopped State in the red zone, inside the 10 actually, time and time again to preserve a 17-10 win on a day when snow flurries actually greeted fans into the stadium in Oxford.
It had been alleged Sherrill told some MSU supporters that as long as he was at State, the Bulldogs would never lose to, ahem, Mississippi. He lost six times. Eli and company gave him one last beat-down 31-0 on a cold and rainy night in Starkville seven years ago.
There've been some bitter pills for Ole Miss fans in the series lately, most of them in Starkville. None more distasteful than last year's game. Ole Miss coaches and players say they haven't forgotten. But the question remains, after 11 games, are they good enough to beat a bowl-bound Bulldog team that has played solid football all season?
There've been some memorable ones in the series that went Ole Miss' way. None moreso than when Cory Peterson caught a two-point conversion from Stewart Patridge to win at MSU in 1997 and send Ole Miss to the Motor City Bowl to face Marshall with Chad Pennington and Randy Moss.
And in 1981 when Rebel quarterback John Fourcade kept it from the 1-yard line and scored on the game's last offensive play for a 21-17 UM upset of a bowl-bound MSU. The Rebs weren't going anywhere, but the Egg found its place back home that day. And the winter was shorter for Ole Miss fans.
And in 1983 when Ole Miss had to win to restart its unmatched bowl tradition that lay dormant for 11 seasons after a national record of 15 straight postseason games ended with no bowl in 1972.
Bulldog Artie Cosby lined up for a chip-shot field goal on the overcast, blustery day in Jackson. If it's good, State wins. If he misses, Ole Miss heads to Shreveport, and at that time a trip to the Sugar Bowl wouldn't have been any more special.
I saw an old Mississippi State man in my hometown a couple of days after a gust of wind blew Cosby's kick straight up and to the left, never even reaching the goalposts and preserving the 24-23 UM win.
"So Ole Miss people say God did it," he said, distaste for the Rebels evident in his gravelly voice with the Immaculate Deflection already etched in UM-MSU lore. "But I'll tell you who did it. It was the devil, that's who."
Egg Bowl 2010. It's here. It's time. Be sure and be here. You never know what you'll miss if you aren't.