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!!!