Two Trophies

So it looks like the magnolia blossom came loose from the Magnolia Bowl trophy after the game last Saturday. Somebody in Oxford can probably fix it since it looks like the two-year-old trophy will be here on a permanent basis.

I haven't heard how the mishap to the magnolia happened. Somebody probably knows. Or maybe it just broke off and landed in the hands of a player or a coach and there is no explanation.

Sort of like the game itself. Was there a real explanation for that one? Was there any need for one?

LSU fans are looking to Les Miles for one. He doesn't have one.

And if it hadn't been for a couple of calls against the Rebels early in the game, it might never have come down to it that Miles would be on such a hot seat all of a sudden.

Then again, what's worse for the fifth-year LSU coach? The way it actually happened or the way it might have happened?

Either way, the 25-23 loss for LSU at the hands of Ole Miss hasn't gone over very well among Tiger faithful.

You've heard the punch lines:

"Hey, Les, got a second?"

And "LSU wants another coach, one with less miles."

It seems LSU fans are the ones spewing the jokes as much as any. A little laughter among the frustration.

For the Rebels' Capital One Bowl future, it would probably be in Ole Miss' best interest for Arkansas to put another loss on Les. And, of course, for Ole Miss to take care of business in the Battle for the Golden Egg in Starkville.

The Egg Bowl is always significant, even in those seasons when it means nothing more than one of two teams with losing records will win it so its fans can brag a little. And there's always recruiting.

But this year, at least for the Rebels, it means a whole lot more. There's a bowl game out there somewhere waiting to sign the Rebels up. A win over State would mean the Capital One should have an easy decision to make: Ole Miss vs. the Big Ten opponent invited to Orlando for New Year's.

For Ole Miss until mid-afternoon this Saturday, all that matters is maroon. All that other Mickey Mouse stuff can wait.

So how is it that the Golden Egg can first be presented to the victor of the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game in 1927 and it's made it more than 80 years without falling apart like the Magnolia Bowl trophy has in two years?

The old egg does have its dents. It's been smoothed out over the years and a new base was added. But it still looks pretty good, all things considered, especially when it's housed in Oxford.

The Rebels had a walk in the park last year to get it back after Ed Orgeron made his last call as head coach at Ole Miss two seasons ago. He lost the game and his job in less than 24 hours after a memorable fourth quarter, fourth down decision.

State wasn't competitive in last year's 45-0 loss to the Rebels in Oxford. It was the most one-sided Egg Bowl since Ole Miss won in 2003 by a 31-0 margin in the rain. That was Eli's last regular season game at Ole Miss and Jackie Sherrill's last game as head coach at State.

Most of the battles over the last several years have been close and competitive. Saturday's will likely prove to be that way. Ole Miss (8-3 overall, 4-3 SEC) is playing its best football of the season. The Bulldogs (4-7, 2-5) are markedly better than last season.

MSU has won four of the last five Egg Bowls played in Starkville. Since the game moved back to the respective campuses from Jackson in 1991, the home team has prevailed 12 of 18 times.

Ole Miss last won three games in a row in this series from 2002-04. Mississippi State last won three in a row from 1940-42. Yes, you read that right.

Ole Miss does well in these trophy games. The Rebels lead the overall series with MSU 60-39-6 since it began in 1901. Since the Golden Egg was first presented in 1927, Ole Miss claims a 54-22-5 edge.

The first two times the Golden Egg trophy was at stake, the Rebels won it. But I'm guessing it made it through a little more unscathed than the Magnolia Bowl trophy did its first couple of seasons.

On Saturday the Rebels will see if they can keep both trophies in Oxford for another year and lock up a reward of major proportions during the holidays.

One thing is all but a certainty in this one. It won't be as easy as last season.

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