Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mississippi First

The eyes of the college football world are on Mississippi this week.  At least that's what all the pigskin pundits are pontificating.  

Alabama (# 3) and Texas A&M (#6) visit the Magnolia State this Saturday to take on Ole Miss (#11) and Mississippi State (#12), respectively.  Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both 4 & 0 to start the season, in the same season, for the first time since...

Well, for the first time ever

College Gameday will be in the Grove, and Starkville will host the SEC Network's equivalent.  It will be a huge day for both fan bases.  Accordingly, the Colonel feels compelled to offer his fellow Mississippians some not-so-humble advice regarding keeping things in perspective.

As the few dozen of you who regularly waste precious rod and cone time perusing posts hereon will no doubt recall, the Colonel harbors no hate for Mississippi State.  He can't afford to hate State. 

He has far too much hate already invested in Alabama and LSU.  

In fact, the Colonel attempts (and that, admittedly, is the operative word) to maintain cordial, brotherly relations with Mississippi State fans.  They are, after all, all fellow Mississippians.

And, when the Colonel says "all" he means ALL.  

No non-Mississippian would voluntarily go to college at Mississippi State, let alone be a fan.

Unlike the legions of Bama Bandwagon Boors and LSU Lemmings who profess fandom of schools from which they not only did not graduate, but in whose states they have never even been, NOBODY from outside of the state of Mississippi is a State fan.

For the record, the Colonel didn't go to college.  He went to Ole Miss.  

Also for the record, the Colonel wasn't born in Mississippi, and has spent less than a quarter of his life living in Mississippi.  But, his parents were Mississippians and his father's career in the Air Force and the Colonel's career in the Marine Corps separated the Colonel from the land of his blood.  Separated, but not divorced.  

But, separation often makes the heart grow fonder.  So it is with the Colonel and Mississippi.  He longed for most of his life to return to somewhere that he wasn't really from.  And now that he's back, the Colonel ain't leavin' until God calls him home to that Mississippi in the sky.

All that drivel said to say this to the Colonel's Mississippi brethren and sistren:  Don't be afraid to cheer for each other this weekend.

The Colonel will be pulling for State against A&M, and he encourages his fellow Ole Miss fans to wholeheartedly do likewise.
The Colonel doesn't care about what a State loss might mean for the Rebels' chances to win the West.  In fact, the Colonel will be pulling for State against everybody for the next seven games.

You see, the Colonel is dreaming of the eighth game -- the Egg Bowl -- deciding who goes to Atlanta to beat the survivor of the East.   

Yeah, it's a dream.  The Colonel has the right to dream fantastic things that can never be...

After all, he's a Mississippian.         

Monday, September 29, 2014

Beat Gameday

The Colonel's Ole Miss Football Rebels host the Alabama Crimson Tide this coming Saturday.  It's a game we Rebels have had circled on our calendars, literally, for a year and, figuratively, for many years. 

Hope springs eternal here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere and in the red, blue, and gray hearts of Rebel Nation.  Our football team looks to be one of the best we have fielded in two generations -- which says something about the abysmal state of Ole Miss Football since Johnny Vaught retired long enough that we could put his name on the stadium.  

The last time Ole Miss claimed an SEC championship was the 100th anniversary of the University Grays last charge at Gettysburg.  

The Colonel doesn't mean to blaspheme, but even Saint Archie never won an SEC title.

Eli didn't either.  Although we claim a tie for the Western Division in 2003, the tie was with LSU who beat us to go to the Championship Game.

But, as we all hoped, Ole Miss is 4 and 0 so far this season -- and that for the first time since 1970.  And, all of Rebel Nation hoped that Alabama would be 4 and 0 coming into this week, as well. 

That's where the figurative calendar date circling comes in.

Having Alabama and Ole Miss both 4 and 0, and both ranked high in the polls, virtually guaranteed that College Gameday would finally come to the Grove -- and correct a college football tailgating slight that has chafed Rebel Nation for a generation.  

The Colonel, however, is probably the ONLY member of Rebel Nation who is NOT happy that Gameday's babbling bobbleheads will be set up in the Grove this Saturday morning.

Tailgating in the Grove has sacred, genteel roots.  To see the rabble of both fanbases roused in a sign-waving frenzy for the cameras will no doubt make for good television.  But, it will also no doubt be a jarring juxtaposition for the Colonel's sensibilities used to a more refined (if a Marine may use that word) atmosphere in the Grove.

Oh, and if one mouth-breathing, sheet-wearer shows up waving Beauregard's battle flag, you can be sure the camera's scandal-seeking eye will find and fix it as the symbol of the University.

By noon on Saturday, the camera crews and bobbleheads will be feasting on southern delectables and the rest of us will be able to catch our breaths long enough to cheer our Rebels as they walk through the Grove on their way to war.  Shortly thereafter, we'll make our way into the Vaught, lock it, and scream as one primordial organism for our young warriors.  

The outcome of the game is everything, and yet matters little in the grand scheme of big-money college football.

If the Rebel's pull off an upset of the Tide, we'll storm the field in celebration -- then reset our internal Rebel clocks to reality.

The rest of the SEC Western Division -- five more teams, who at one point or another this season will spend multiple weeks in the top 25 of the rankings -- await on the schedule.

If the Tide loses this Saturday, they will win-out and win the National Championship.

See Notre Dame 1977 and Florida 2008 for just two examples of the Ole Miss Upset Phenomenon.

After all, we are Ole Miss...