Those of us who derive a major part of our self-esteem through the vagaries of college football, are loath to admit just how much winning or losing effects our lives. We understand that it’s a sad commentary that a grown man or women doesn’t have enough innate sense of value to keep such things in perspective. The fact remains, we can’t. College football is not just a game. It’s a life style that we grew up with, and we cannot escape it.
This thought was triggered by two events—one that happened last night, and one that will happen next Saturday. I sat in front of the TV and watched every agonizing minute of Mississippi State’s 51-50 win over Arkansas. The game was in doubt until the final Arkansas possession, which ended with a blocked field goal. Both teams led big and blew those leads. Both teams made impressive defensive stands, but mostly, both teams scored, and scored and scored some more.
When it finally ended with State on top, I was exhausted and an emotional wreck. Sleep evaded me until the wee hours of this morning, and my mind kept coming back to the same thought,
“Damn, we won the game.”
That was my last thought before sleep and my first thought upon awakening. Today, I feel good, and I hate to admit it, but it is all because MSU won. Was it a pretty game—no. It was a defensive disaster. But guess what? This morning it is in the win column, and my Dogs are 8–3, and not sitting in the SEC West cellar. I managed to enjoy this almost all morning until the second event got its nose under my tent. Next week is the Ole Miss game.
The gain or loss of winning or losing during the regular season has an effect that lasts no more than a week. The outcome of the Ole Miss v Mississippi State game lasts for a whole year. 365 days of waking and having your first thought be either, damn, we won, or crap we lost, and the rest of the day following that lead. The Egg Bowl is not just another game; it is the ONLY game that really matters.
I’ve been berated by most of my MSU friends for my optimistic predictions for Ole Miss this year. I may be a die-hard State fan, but I also like to think I have some understanding of the game of football. This allows me to respect the superb recruiting efforts by Ole Miss over the last few years, and to acknowledge that this has resulted in a team filled with talent. It doesn’t mean I want them to win even a single game.
So let there be no doubt next Saturday. I hope Mississippi State mops up Scott Field with the Red and Blue. If what I want made any difference in the outcome of ball games, then MSU would be perennial National Champs and the Rebels would be in the same league as Wofford and Elon. The sad truth is that what I want is irrelevant. Ole Miss has as good a team as money can buy, including a very good quarterback. On paper they ought to win.
Mississippi State is far better coached and should have all the motivation needed to win. They also have the best football player in school history in Dak Prescott. When the dust clears next Saturday, my fate for the next year will have been decided, and I’m hoping for a good 2016. GO TO HELL OLE MISS!
Now, I feel better having gotten that off my chest. There were other games played yesterday, and some of them held national importance. Such was the Michigan State win over Ohio State’s highly overrated Buckeyes. In spite of now having one loss, OSU is still in contention for a slot in the final four. Maybe Michigan can finish the job next week and send Urban back into self-imposed exile.
The Baylor Bears outlasted Oklahoma State to reduce the field of unbeaten teams to #1 ranked Clemson and #6 ranked Iowa. Clemson will catch South Carolina coming off a close loss to The Citadel and should cold-cock the Game Cocks, while Iowa will have to get by a dangerous bunch of Cornhuskers.
Ole Miss clobbered LSU to keep its slim hope of an SEC West title alive. They will need to beat Mississippi State and have Auburn upset Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Could happen, but I doubt both outcomes. In the annual Clash of the Catholics, Notre Dame pulled out a slim win over Boston College in a game that rattled the Sistine Chapel widows. Next week the Fighting Irish will need to whip a Cardinal to keep in the running for the marbles.
I have been remiss in talking up the Oklahoma Sooners, and my friend Frank in San Antonio called me to task. Okay, Frankie, y’all need to take care of business next week in Stillwater and you may have a shot. Good luck!
In closing, let me say one more time,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND GO TO HELL OLE MISS!!!
Categories: Football, Uncategorized
Well said. Good thoughts. I agree with them all.
Oklahoma is in Norman by the way.
God knows my credentials on football may or may not be at least as good as yours. You and I played for an inaugural high school team that went 2-17-1 over the first 2 years; you were a starter and, alas, I wasn’t even that! After the McNease shoulder separation at Vicksburg in our last game, I came onto the field (thankfully not soiling my uniform) and threw an A-set 26 pass to Buddy Buster that covered about thirty-five yards and went right through his steely fingers into the end zoned(granted we were down 0-33 and the Thanksgiving turkey.) Nonetheless, I was pissed!!! My uncle (who was listening on the radio) told me later that a radio announcer said (after an earlier play that “Thompson had ‘smeared Richard Price'”!)….I, as a misnomered “safety”( but, by God, I loved that position [they let me play it!]) had hit the future All- American from the back precisely as the ball reached him! Oh God it felt good! The ball flew out and I begged my uncle never to relate the radio account to anyone else lest there be retribution! From there, came Vanderbilt for 9 years. We won (before I got there) the Gator Bowl vs. Auburn in ’55 (we never seem to let that go) and did well against Alabama when I started school there until they fired “Ears” Whitworth, and hired a coach, named Bryant who brought had a Ky. team to Oxford in ’49 who beat the Rebels in Oxford at Homecoming 49-0 with a QB named Babe Parelli from the coal fields of Ky. or Penn. State senators, dad was one, got free tickets. At any rate, I moved on to Columbia U. for my residency in NY. Columbia was in the midst of a 47 game losing streak in 1966 (do any of you sense a trend here?!) I went to a Columbia – Brown game at Baker Field and mused “Hell, I could have played college ball here, and maybe I still could!” The next year I went to a Dartmouth – Yale game and saw a Yale running back pile up yards but said he was OK for the Ivy League…his name was Calvin Hill! So much for hubris!…never again! While I was in NY the Giants lost, the Knicks were a year away from a winning season (each year,) and the Rangers were the pits. When I left NY the Giants started winning, so did the the Jets (sort, of,) so did the Rangers, The Knicks won the NBA, and the Mets won the pennant and World Series and the Rangers vied for the Stanley Cup! Mary Fitz. was the queen of NY, and none of us knew of Rial O. My friend, I love you, but I do need a playlist/scorecard to keep up with the roster; I periodically run into Nancy, but one would not expect her to be a whole lot of help. I want to know more about your family! Bob
Yes, I’m aware that U. Oklahoma is in Norman, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the OU v OSU is in Stillwater. See you Wednesday.
For many decades we’ve watched the Bulldogs try to give away football games and they succeeded on way too many occasions. They again tried to give one away Saturday night but didn’t pull it off. Thank you Dak and thank you Beniquez.
As previously mentioned, State and Arkansas are about even this year – both pretty good, but not great teams. I realize that Hugh Freeze is the greatest recruiter in the history of college football but how can you take this much talent and lose to Memphis with the NC on the line? They lost to the Razorbacks too, I might add. As to the Egg Bowl, the Rebels have far more talent than State in the trenches, little running game and a very good qb. State has a good defense (most of the time) and most importantly – Dak Prescott. I think State will rally to Dak’s last home game and play above their heads. I think they will win the game although there are not many – including the boys in the real Vegas that don’t believe so. Sometimes heart wins out over ability. This Saturday will be one of those times. Go Dogs! – Bill Harvey
Keep them coming.
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Enjoyed your commentary during the season. Agree that it’s part lunacy that grown ( and old) men agonize over the results of games being played by men 50 years younger. But, yes I’ll be in knots Sat when my son and his Auburn wife join us in Orange Beach for Thanksgiving and of course the game Saturday. Yes Bama should win but l’ll be a nervous wreck until it’s fate accompli. The Miss State/Ark game was incredible. I really think Dak Presscott should win the Heisman. He’s an incredible talent and appears to be an equally fine person. Have a great Thanksgiving and beat Ole Miss. JIM
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Some things never change-thank God!