Category Archives: Mississippi State Football

ole miss hate

EGGBOWL 2015: Tailgating at Starkville – A Primer for Ole Miss Fans

So you want to see Ole Miss play in Starkville this year do ya?  Are you sure?  Is it really that important?

Fine.  I won’t stop you, but here are five things you need to know before you make the trek to the “Town that fun forgot.”

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1.  Bring your own food and drinks

SEC football tailgates are nationally known for having ridiculous spreads of food, drink and hospitality.  Mississippi State does not fit in that mold.  Here you will find mostly spreads of hoop cheese and crackers (made on campus) and at a really fancy tent you might find stuffed deer meat or subway catering.

I would recommend you bring your own food and nice bottle of liquor or wine.  Otherwise you will be stuck drinking cheap lite beer if you are lucky enough to find a bulldog willing to share.

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2.  Don’t dress up too much

One thing I can say about MSU fans, is they are not pretentious.  Comfort over fashion is the rule here and this late in the year with possible freezing temps and precipitation, expect to see more camouflage hunting gear than team colors.

If you wear slacks and or a sports jacket or a scarf you will be a dead give away that you are not “from around here.”  You might as well wear a #10 Chad Kelly jersey with a target on the back of your head.

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3.  Bring ear plugs

Mississippi State has worked hard over the last 10-15 years to upgrade their gameday experience.  Ole Miss fans may find their pre-game festivities very familiar.  That is because they have actually carbon copied the Ole Miss pre-game.

They built a miniature version of The Grove and called it the Junction.  They have the players walk through a crowd of fans just like the Walk of Champions (They call it the Bulldog Walk).  They even have a fairly new cheer called Maroon and White that ends with a hint of profanity, just like our own Hotty Toddy cheer.

But the one thing State has that no one would envy is the fan’s tradition of ringing cow bells.  How this got started or why it is continued is a head shaking wonder.

Just understand it is annoying , so be prepared.

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4.  Have a few deer hunting stories

Don’t be afraid to interact with the natives.  If you are dressed comfortably or maybe you have a few friends that are MSU fans, feel free to have a seat with the dogs and enjoy the day.

Make them feel comfortable by talking about deer hunting or what you planted in the winter garden.  Even if you don’t do either of those things, you will be more easily accepted.

Talking about business or stock options is another dead give away you are a Ole Miss fan.

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5.  Get out of town as fast as possible after you win (or lose) in Starkville.

The MSU fan base is very unpredictable.  They are as likely to bail before halftime as they are willing to stand in the middle of the street after the game and swat at people with their cowbell like a country boy battle sword.

No matter the outcome, my best advice is to just have your things gathered up and ready to bolt to the car right after the game.

You can enjoy gloating from a distance for the next 365 days until the next Battle of the Golden Egg.

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HAS THE EGG BOWL RIVALRY GOTTEN OUT OF HAND?

(This article originally featured in RebelNationMagazine – Pick up a copy at your local magazine rack!)

The “Battle for the Golden Egg” has always been a hotly contested battle between two bitter rivals. Even if the game rarely has wide ranging implications, in the state of Mississippi it is a cherished tradition.

The game has only decided a division or conference champion a handful of times in it 100 plus years in existence. Most years, the egg-shaped trophy is the only reward for a long, hard-fought season.

The most successful coaches at each school found a way to win the egg bowl. Playing down the importance of this game or overlooking the in-state rival is not advised. That is, If you plan to stick around very long.

As fans, we always hoped and prayed that one day this game might mean something. It’s natural to feel a little jealous of our neighbors to the East in Alabama where the game always seems to have larger stakes. They certainly have a larger national media draw.

The Iron Bowl has only been supplanted by the Egg Bowl once on the TV broadcast pecking order and that was last year due to licensing issues because CBS was unable to televise a sixth Alabama game, or they probably would have.

In the last 20 years, the winner of the Iron Bowl has been split 11-10 in favor of Auburn. Alabama has six SEC western division titles over that time with three national titles. Auburn has five divisional titles and 1 national title with one undefeated season not resulting in a national title for Auburn (2004).

In the Egg Bowl in the last 20 years, the games are split evenly 10 to 10.  There has only been 1 divisional champion between the teams and neither Mississippi team has gotten to the promised land of a national champion in a long, long time.

With the addition of Dan Mullen over the last few years, we have seen a glimpse of the high stakes poker that is normally reserved for the state of Alabama.

Dan Mullen successfully jump-started what was a dead rivalry in 2009 by pulling out all the stops. He put the entire focus of his program on winning the Egg Bowl. He claimed Mississippi as “Our State” for MSU fans, refused to call Ole Miss by their name and has successful stirred up strong emotions for State fans to Iron Bowl levels and beyond.

Since 2009, the Egg Bowl is now fought year round, on billboards and in the office. You see a battle for the best tailgating area, you see a battle for who can make the best post game video, a battle for who has the most students, best cheerleaders, etc.

The Bulldogs were frothing at the mouth over Dan Mullen’s first three wins in the series, but since 2012 Freeze has flipped the script on him and the despair and negativity of MSU fans are making the rivalry almost unbearable.

It’s not really enjoyable to attend the Egg Bowl in Starkville anymore, not that we ever liked going to a game at MSU but watching the games were so much fun in the 80’s and 90’s, no matter where the games were played.

Now, as an Ole Miss fan you are more likely to get in a fight defending your wife in Starkville rather than Baton Rouge.

The biggest difference in the Egg Bowl rivalry compared to the Iron Bowl rivalry and most other in-state rivalries is there is truly a lack of respect between the teams and it starts at the top. Dan Mullen’s antics when he began coaching at State were sophomoric and unprofessional which is fine and even could be seen as funny except the MSU fans take that as a license to take an even lower step.

In Alabama, the “smack” talk is tempered with the fact that either team can win the game, no matter the record. They respect each other’s talent and accomplishments and the game is more a shared event by the fans. The way things used to be here.

In Mississippi, the State fans and MSU-aligned media don’t even extend platitudes to Ole Miss. Even though Mullen has lost two of the last three games, Freeze is still referred to as a women’s high school basketball coach. NCAA sanctions are hoped and wished for by a fan base that can’t seem to beat Ole Miss in recruiting.

The absolute worst indication of where this rivalry is headed is last year’s anonymous threat to damaging the trees in the grove.

Last November, prior to the Egg Bowl in Oxford, the University Police department alerted the FBI to a hand written note that was signed, “Hail State/Go To Hell TSUN,” and threatened damage to the shrubs and trees on the Ole Miss campus.

According to University news reports the letter read: “What’s going to happen to ya’ll on the field Saturday ain’t nothing compared to what’s going to happen on your beautiful campus. You won’t be the most pretty campus next year. A lot of shrubs and trees are going to die; especially in the Grove.”

The childish threat ended with the sentence, “Can’t stop us.”

UPD Police chief Calvin Sellers reminded everyone of reality. “We encourage everyone to remember that this is a game, after all, not a time for hate. We are hopeful that passions have not escalated to the point that someone is prepared to damage a landmark for which all Mississippian’s take great pride.”

While Mullen and the MSU fans are busy fighting Ole Miss off the field, Hugh Freeze takes the right approach by having a professional attitude and wins the game on the field.

Let’s get this rivalry back to the point where we can look each other in the eye, shake hands like a man and respect our opponents, win or lose.

Photo via Sports Illustrated

Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen Should Never Leave Mississippi

Mississippi football has played second fiddle (or maybe last fiddle) in the SEC since Johnny Vaught hung up his whistle over 40 years ago.  Coach Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings made sure Alabama football was the king in SEC play in the 80s and 90s, and more recently; Nick Saban and Les Miles have kept the under-dogs at bay.

Reports hint that all this may soon change and Hugh Freeze and Dan Mullen could be in a prime position to take over the void left by such legendary head coaches.

After starting the season on a red-hot 7-0 start the wheels have fallen off the Leonard Fornette train and fans have had enough of the one-dimensional offense in Baton Rouge.

Nick Saban, long considered the best “hired gun” in college football is again being courted by Texas and the NFL.

The two young coaches in Mississippi are primed to take a leap forward should Saban and Miles move on from their current seats.

As dominate as the LSU and Alabama programs have been through the years, they are not guaranteed success.  You still have to have the right coach to win even at the school that Forrest Gump built.

Ask Mike Shula or Dennis Franchione about how easy it is to win in Tuscaloosa.  Gerry Dinardo and Curly Hallman had equal struggles with the recruiting juggernaut that is LSU.

The odds of replacing the win totals of Saban and Miles would be quite a gamble for their respective athletic directors.

Freeze and Mullen suddenly have options to consider beyond taking the next step to a bigger football program.

They could possibly stay in Mississippi and become the next big football programs if Bama and LSU struggle for a few years finding the man to replace the man.

Ole Miss and State are recruiting better than ever before and if Freeze and Mullen are some of the better known coaching names in the SEC west in the future, look for that to improve even more.

The difference between winning 10-11 games every year as opposed to winning 8-9 games every year is handling LSU and Alabama.

I hope Freeze and Mullen realize they have a chance to fulfill any goal they could ever want right here in the state of Mississippi.

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MSU’S STAYING POWER AND THE THE MEDIA’S FALSE PERCEPTION’S

 

For several weeks now, I’ve read so many articles that explain why MSU will finish 6th or 7th in the SEC Western division.

I read these same articles last preseason. I’ve read a lot of “MSU just doesn’t have enough to compete in 2014″, and “Mullen has not recruited well enough to win big in Starkville.” Well, we all know how that ended, don’t we?

As I scan over the 2015 preseason articles, it amazes me how they always begin with “this MSU team lost too many starters to repeat the 2014 season” and end with “the MSU staff just has not recruited well enough to lose that much talent and compete again in 2015″

For one, that’s the media being extremely lazy. Last year it was “Dan Mullen could not win big because he hadn’t recruited well enough,” and now it’s “he can’t win because the Bulldogs lost too much talent”.

Well, according to recruiting gurus and the star ranking system, the players replacing last years starters in 2015 are far more talented, aren’t they?

Help me out here. It can’t be both ways, so which is it? Something just isn’t adding up.

Secondly, this MSU team returns the undisputed best quarterback in the SEC, and possibly in the entire nation. That itself should count for something, right?

Nope, not with today’s media, which is either lazy or blind. You make the call.

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Last but not least, when you actually take the time and do a little research, the Bulldogs didn’t lose as many starters as it might seem. At first glance, most don’t realize that. So, I appeal to the media with this: “Dig a little deeper, guys, it’s not that hard.”

Will we win the SEC? Probably not. In my opinion, however, our chances are greater this year than they were last year. Dan Mullen has silently built a program that will have sustained success. I’m going to go ahead and predict that the world will realize exactly that fact in 2015.

And because nine out of ten media members are lazy, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper for you. You can thank me later. Actually, just wait until the 2015 season has come to a close. I’ll accept your, “thank you” then.

OFFENSE –

Starter lost:
Blaine Clausell: 2*

Replacement:
Martinas Rankin 4* or
Rufus Warren 3*

MY TAKE:
Losing a 4 year starter at left tackle normally isn’t the best thing in the world to have happen, but Rankin comes in as a highly rated juco prospect, and Warren had a very solid spring. Rankin was not able to secure the left tackle position during the spring.

Trust me, it’s not because he’s a bust. Rufus isn’t going to go away that easily. The kid has the size and athleticism to play in the NFL. He gained much needed experience last season after moving over from tight end. Left tackle will be a strength in 2015.

Starter lost:
Ben Beckwith 0* walkon.

Replacement:
Devon Desper 3*

MY TAKE:
Ben may not have even started a game last year if Jamal Clayborn had not been injured and hadn’t had a few personal issues on top of that. Don’t misunderstand me. Ben did a fabulous job, but Desper has much more upside and even started against Texas A&M last year. Desper graded out very well in that game. He’s no newcomer to SEC football.

Starter lost:
Dillon Day 2*

Replacement:
Jamaa Clayborn 3*

MY TAKE:
Jamaal has started before so this will not be anything new to him. This guy has tremendous upside. Jamaal will be a stud in 2015, if not an all-SEC performer. Day was a terrific player for the Bulldogs and a tough son-of-a-gun, but his talent level doesn’t compare to that of Jamaal Clayborn. I’m very high on this young man.

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Starter lost:
Robert Johnson 4*

Replacement:
Fred Brown 3* or
Joe Morrow 3* or
Donald Gray 4*

MY TAKE:
This position is loaded. Actually every wide receiver position is loaded in 2015. Did anyone ever think that they would see the day where the rebels and Bulldogs had the top two wide receiver units in the SEC? I know I didn’t, but that could very well be the case in 2015. Fortunately we have the best quarterback in the SEC throwing it to ours.

Any three of these guys could start here next year. Gray has the most upside, but he’s the least experienced one. Morrow will be the starter much like Robert was in 2015 (only on the depth chart). Morrow came up big the last few games of the year, but Gray and Brown are the future here, and that future is bright.

Starter lost:
Jameon Lewis 2*

Replacement:
Fred Ross 4*

MY TAKE:
This is a massive upgrade. Again, unless you have done your homework, then you wouldn’t know this. Ross is the reason Jameon never gained his normal playing time after he healed last year. Fred Ross is a stud. Do not be surprised if he’s an All-SEC performer and our best receiver in 2015. I know that’s a bold statement with a guy like De’ Runnya Wilson on your team, but it could pan-out to be true.

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Starter lost:
Malcolm Johnson 2*

Replacement:
Gus Walley 3* or
Darrion Hutcherson 3* or
Shelby Christy 3* or
BJ Hammond 3*

MY TAKE:
There are tons of options here, but Malcolm was very good. Walley is a better pass catcher than Malcolm, but Malcolm was a good football player with a high IQ. This is the toughest loss on offense by a wide margin. We “might” lose a little here, but then again we might not.

Starter lost:
Josh Robinson 3*

Replacement:
Ashton Shumpert 4* or
Aeris Williams 4* or
Dontavian Lee 3*

MY TAKE:
This unit will be a strength in 2015. There is a reason J-Rob lost carries at the end of last year. That reason is Ashton Shumpert. He may not even be the starter by mid season. There is tons of talent at running back, and if you’re a die-hard MSU fan, you know that you should never worry about this position. We are always good here. I don’t expect that to change in 2015.

DEFENSE –

Starter lost:
Jay Hughes 3*

Replacement:
Jamal Peters 4* or
Brandon Bryant 3*

MY TAKE:
Safety was a nightmare for the Bulldogs last year. Injuries, inexperience, and suspensions took its toll by year’s end. I fully expect that to change in 2015. Kivon Coleman locked down one safety position in the spring. His inexperience showed at times last year and at other times he looked very good. I fully expect him to be a different player this year.

At the other safety spot, either Peters or Bryant have superstar potential. Both will be freshmen in 2015, but there’s no denying their gift from God. Don’t be surprised if these two guys aren’t both starting at the safety position by mid season. Safety is a position that will be much improved next year.

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Starter lost:
Bernardrick Mckinney 2*

Replacement:
Richie Brown 3* or
Gerri Green 4*

MY TAKE:
Richie will start and will be a solid linebacker for the Bulldogs before he leaves school, but Gerri Green is the future. This young man is a monster. He has B-Macs size and freak athleticism and he is a sideline to sideline guy. Barring injury, I don’t expect Gerri to stick around for a Senior season. He is that talented. At times we will see both of these guys on the field at the same time. Linebacker, like running back, should never be a concern for any MSU fan.

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Starter lost:
Matt Wells 4*

Replacement:
Zack Jackson 3*
JT Gray 3*
Traver Jung 4*

MY TAKE:
“Cheetah” will be the toughest player to replace on the defense. I expect Zack to be the starter as far as the depth chart goes because he’s a senior, but Gray & Jung are the two who will play the most. They are highly athletic kids with great speed. I’m afraid to say which one will end the year as a starter, but I will say this position is easily three deep.

Starter lost:
Preston Smith 2*

Replacement:
AJ Jefferson 4*

Preston will not be easy to replace, but who outside of the MSU fan base even knew who this guy was last preseason?

His replacement? AJ Jefferson and please remember this name. Much like Preston, he is a very good candidate for a breakout year as a Junior. His motor is non stop and AJ makes up for his size with athleticism. Again, remember the name AJ Jefferson, because I have a good feeling that rival coaches already know the name after the spring that he had.

Starter lost:
Kaleb Eulls 4*

Replacement:
Chris Jones 5*

MY TAKE:
Much like Robert Johnson & several other “starters” on last years depth chart, Kaleb was just that. A depth chart starter. Kaleb did play a whole lot, but there’s no denying that Chris Jones is a major upgrade here. That’s not a shot at Kaleb, because Chris Jones would be an upgrade to almost every other defensive tackle in the SEC. He’s had a solid first two years in Starkville, but in 2015 he puts himself in talks of being a top five or top ten pick. The talent level and tools this young man possess are rivaled by no other defensive tackle in the country. In 2015 you will see just that.

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Starter lost:
PJ Jones 4*

Replacement:
Nick James 4* or
Nelson Adams 3* or
Cory Thomas 3*

MY TAKE:
If spring is any indication of Nick James, then it looks like the switch has flipped. If that carries over, then this is a massive upgrade as well. PJ, like Kaleb had a very solid career at MSU. They provided a lot of experience last year and that was big, but these guys aren’t nearly as talented as their predecessors.

With that said, Nick isn’t a lock to be a starter. Both Nelson Adams and Cory Thomas will have a say in that. Nelson has a non stop motor and is a very difficult match-up whether he’s on the inside or outside. I love to watch him play football.

Cory on the other hand is a Chris Jones clone as far as build and skills. You put the same number on those two and put them on the field at the same time and you probably couldn’t figure out which is which. Am I saying Cory Thomas will be as good as Chris Jones before he leaves Starkville? No. What I am saying is that he has a opportunity to be that good. It will be up to him and what he’s willing to put into it. This guy’s size/speed/athleticism combination is off the charts.

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Okay media, I’ve done the research for you. Now it’s your turn to take it and run. There’s a lot of talent returning in Starkville. In fact I would argue that the 2015 bulldog team is more talented than the 2014 bulldog team. I think I would be correct.

Don’t keep looking at last years depth chart and assume we cannot compete because of the starters we lost. It is quite simply misleading. Don’t be foolish and ignorant. Do your homework and you will know that the number one quarterback in the nation isn’t lacking talent behind him. In fact, he’s the leader of a more talented team. The ball is in your court. Let’s see if you take advantage of it or will you again underestimate MSU, like it is the MSU of the past?

Wake up – not only to the reality of talent on this bulldog team, but to the ability of Dan Mullen and his staff as well or you’ll be looking like foolish, AGAIN!

#HailState

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Guidelines of Tweeting Recruits….

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It’s finally here!! The eve of National Signing Day for college football  recruits. Many of you have waited for this day ever since the regular season was over. Many of you have seen, talked, tweeted about your opinions  on creeps/creepers out there when it comes to tweeting at/to recruits so I figured we would give you some guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t do when tweeting recruits.

But let us first remember these kids get on social media for the attention and they love it. If they didn’t want the attention they wouldn’t be on social media asking “show me some love” at a particular school/fan base. Not to mention the negative stuff they see I would assume they just look over and keep on going.  Even though these are kids, they aren’t dumb or naive enough to have social media sway their future life changing decision.

Dont’s:

  1. Promises to get him laid.                                                                                             -Why do you think it’s a great idea to promise or tell a recruit that you can get him laid? The truth is you probably can’t get laid yourself, so just don’t.
  2. Show your assets!                                                                                                           -Ladies no need to show your tits or cleavage to a recruit via tweet.
  3. Negative shots at a recruit.                                                                                       -If they don’t pick your school, why do you feel the need to tweet negative comments to them?
  4. Negativity tweets about Rival Schools                                                             -If a recruit is looking at your rival school and NOT your school at all don’t be that guy that tracks them and sends them delusions of grandeur lies/rumors about said rival school. You look like an even bigger toolbag than normal.
  5. Try to be their best friends.                                                                                        -You don’t care about this kid so don’t pretend you have his best interest in mind.
  6. Using Faith or Religion.                                                                                               -Now there is NOTHING wrong with you professing your faith if you you’re going to live it but if you use it in some attempt to use it as a recruiting tool, you’ve got bigger issues in life that you need to address… and PLEASE don’t give me I’m being a hypocrite while you profess you’re a christian in your bio all the while you’re tearing down a recruit, constantly cussing/slandering your so called “rival” twitter handles.

Acceptable things to do:

  1. Tweet AT them.                                                                                                              -Its okay to tweet at them. Meaning “Would love to have “Recruit Name” stop by campus for a visit.
  2. Congratulate them on their accomplishments
  3. Congratulate them on their signing decision                                                 -Once they have committed somewhere congratulate them and move on. There is no point for you to belittle a kid for not choosing your school or your rival school as mentioned above. MOVE ON!!!

Don’t give me an “It’s wrong” or it’s a “NCAA violation” crap. Bottom line with NCAA, they can’t govern their own selves much less try to monitor every single piece of social media out there.  Social Media and Recruits are here to stay. As hard as it is for me to say, like it, deal with it or ignore all together. But don’t sit there and say you’ll ignore it and troll the people who do it.  So take note people and start doing right!

#TheNetwork