The frost is on the pumpkin and football season is coming to a conclusion. Speaking of pumpkins makes one marvel at the unexpected transformation of Nick Saban’s royal coach to just another gourd. The undefeated Auburn Tigers turned the momentum in Alabama completely around. Now it’s time to complete the trifecta and take care of the Old Ball Coach and the University of Oregon.
The rest of the Western Divison of the SEC had decent seasons with the possible exception of those frisky Black Bears in Oxford. Five teams in the top twenty five ain’t too shabby. I suppose the biggest disappointment to all the Yankee sportswriters was the stunning upset of America’s most beloved also ran, Boise State, at the hands of that perennial powerhouse the University of Nevada.
As the bowl season approaches with ten SEC teams bowl eligible, everyone is going somewhere with the exception of the previously mentioned Black Bears and the currently coachless Vanderbilt Commodores.
Notes on the Egg Bowl: My Bulldogs held off a frantic fourth quarter rally by the Bears, and I have to admit, I was scared until the final whistle. My son, Sam, commented that the older Mississippi State fans are a heck of a lot more worried about losing than they are happy about winning. I believe I can explain why this is so. You can lay the credit for this attitude at the feet of one man, John Howard Vaught.
I saw my first State – Ole Miss game in 1950 (at age 11) and spent the next fourteen years waiting until next year. I was conditioned to expect Ole Miss to win and State to lose. Today, my universe seems out of balance to see Ole Miss in the loser’s bracket; it just doesn’t feel right. To realize the dynasty of Ole Miss quarterbacks from Charlie Connerly to Eli Manning has been reduced to picking through the NCAA reject list just violates everything that I’ve been taught. Dan Mullen is retraining me, and I believe I will be able to recalibrate my expectations, but last Saturday night was starting to look a lot like déjà vu.