Egg Bowl win, volleyball, and hoops

It should have been a happy Sunday morning for church-going Ole Miss fans as they bumped into Mississippi State fans at their chosen places of worship. And this morning the workplaces throughout the state were likely filled with smiling Rebels.

That's the way it is after most Egg Bowls - Ole Miss fans up, State fans down - and has been for four of the last five years.

I don't know how many more classic games Ole Miss fans could have taken this year – the classic losses at Alabama and LSU in overtime, and near-classic home losses to Georgia and Auburn. Another loss like that, this time to State, would have been too much.

Didn't happen. Ole Miss didn't even need help from the wind this time for a Bulldog field goal to drift away at the end like the "classic" UM win in '83.

I thought Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal writer Parrish Alford's last paragraph of his Sunday column summed it up about as well as it could be.

"The game still carries passion and emotion, and for Ole Miss, four wins and a fifth-place (SEC) Western Division finish beats three wins and the cellar," he wrote.

Translation? The Battle for the Golden Egg is important no matter what the records are going in. And winning beats the alternative every time.

So what else did Saturday's victory mean on one of the most perfect weather days in Egg Bowl history? Improvement from year one to year two of this era of Ole Miss football, hope for a greater future, and a significant accomplishment in the "W" column to continue to build on. That's what the win on Saturday was as much about as anything.

And an eagerness for Ole Miss fans to get to work today moreso than anytime this season. Egg Bowl wins will do that every time.


It was a special weekend for Ole Miss head volleyball coach Joe Getzin and his program. The Rebels will play Southern Cal in Los Angeles Thursday at 9 p.m. CST in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It's the first time the program has ever made the NCAA field.

Getzin gave credit to many, including those before him in the program, as helping the Rebels get to this point this season. It hasn't been an easy road. After four losing seasons, Getzin's program was looking for a breakthrough year, and they got it with a 19-12 overall record and a fifth-place overall finish in the SEC with a 10-10 mark.

"It's a great reward for the girls and all of their hard work this year, and that belief in themselves can take you this far," said Getzin, in his fifth season at Ole Miss. "We're excited to go to Los Angeles and play the Women of Troy. We've had volleyball for 30 years (at UM), and there have been a lot of players, coaches and staffs who have put a lot of work in to get Ole Miss volleyball to this point. I am proud this team can represent Ole Miss, and I am proud of all the hard work those who came before us put in to pave the way for this opportunity for this team."

The Women of Troy will be a difficult foe. They are the fifth national seed with a 25-4 record overall and a 14-4 Pac-10 mark. Being able to recruit for college volleyball in southern California is obviously much easier than it is in northern Mississippi due to the number of kids who play, the relative newness of the sport in Mid-South high schools, and overall interest in the sport generally.

Nothing like a bid to the NCAA Tournament to help out with all of that.


Andy Kennedy's team won its sixth game of the season Friday night, and after pulling away from Nicholls State 100-80, the players ran alongside the lower area of the coliseum high-fiving and thanking their fans.

The attendance was listed right at 3,000, best of the home season so far, and Kennedy also appreciated the support.

"I thought our crowd really helped," he said after the win, which moved his team to 6-1. "I was really pleased to see people come out and support the team."

The next action for the Rebels is Thursday night when they host the University of New Orleans. The tipoff is early – a 6 p.m. start – with CSS televising the game live.

Junior center Dwayne Curtis, six weeks after a stress fracture in his left foot, has been cleared to practice today and may play in the game against UNO.

On the women's side, the Lady Rebels play again on Saturday when they host Illinois of the Big Ten at 2 p.m.

Ole Miss went 1-1 this past weekend in the Bahamas tournament, beating Northwestern of the Big Ten but falling to No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Maryland of the ACC.

Coach Carol Ross' UM women's hoops team stands at 5-2 on the season. Following the Illinois game, the Lady Rebs stay with Big Ten competition by hosting Penn State in Oxford on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

After the UNO game, the men don't play again until Saturday, Dec. 9 when they battle the University of Memphis Tigers at FedEx Forum in a 12 noon tip.

After a lot of games in a short period of time, both UM head coaches will have the opportunity to get in some practice time with their teams this week and also next week, while scheduling practices around semester exams.

With only one game for each in the next week and a half, it's time for them to catch their breath a bit, heal up, and get some serious work done – both on the practice court and in the classroom.

"We had five games in eight days," Kennedy said. "Three of those were on a long road trip (to Connecticut). This will allow us to sit back and regroup a little bit and really address some of our problem areas. We have some time to work on some of the issues that have been exposed these first seven games. We can make some improvements. We have some time now to get some things done."

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