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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.