Crack the Egg: Ole Miss-Mississippi State Rivalry Fights On

In the Southeast United States, many college rivalries are evident.

The Iron Bowl (Alabama-Auburn), Florida State-Florida, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Florida-Georgia), and the Governor’s Cup (Kentucky-Louisville) all come to mind. But one very intense rivalry plays on without the national attention that other rivalries in the South receive.

The University of Mississippi Rebels, commonly known as Ole Miss, and the Mississippi State University Bulldogs have met 109 time over the last 112 years, typically in late November, for each teams’ final game of the regular season. From 1901 until 1926, this rivalry was heavily dominated by Mississippi State, which was then called Mississippi A&M.

A&M and Mississippi first met on the gridiron in 1901, when Mississippi State’s mascot was known as the Aggies and Ole Miss’s mascot was the Flood. The Aggies dominated the rivalry, and that’s putting it nicely, in the early years winning 17 out of the first 24 games played between 1901 and 1926. (The Flood and Aggies did not meet on the field from 1912-1914) But that 1926 game changed the rivalry forever.

In 1926, the Flood, who would be renamed the Rebels in 1936, beat the Aggies, who would be renamed the Maroons when A&M became Mississippi State College in 1932 and then renamed again to become the Bulldogs in 1961, three years after the school became known as Mississippi State University, 7-6 for the team’s first victory in the rivalry since 1910.

After the victory, the Ole Miss fans stormed Scott Field (now known as Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field, and is still home to Mississippi State’s football team) and made an attempt to steal A&M’s goal posts.

According to OleMissSports.com, “Irate Aggie supporters took after the ambitious Ole Miss group with cane bottom chairs, and fights broke out. The mayhem continued until most of the chairs were splintered.”

The goal posts stayed put, and injuries were reported, but the Flood and their fans were still extremely excited. In the last 13 games, all victories for A&M, Ole Miss had been outscored 327-33 and by an average of 25-3.

Due to the mayhem that erupted in Starkville, members of Sigma Iota, an Ole Miss honorary society, proposed the idea of a trophy that the winning team could take home with them, instead of the winning team’s fans going after the goal posts. The trophy that was proposed and later accepted was modeled after a football from the time period covered in gold and placed on a pedestal. Up close, stitches are even visible. Fans noticed that the trophy essentially looked like a golden egg and beginning in 1927, the game between Mississippi State and Ole Miss became officially known as the “Battle of the Golden Egg.”

Since the institution of the Golden Egg, the domination of the rivalry has switched sides. Ole Miss leads Mississippi State by a record of 54 wins for the Rebels to 25 wins for the Bulldogs and 5 ties. There have been many defining moments for the series in the years since the institution of the trophy.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in the 2009 Egg Bowl, 41-27. Photo courtesy of Roger Smith on Flickr.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in the 2009 Egg Bowl at Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Miss., 41-27. Photo courtesy of Roger Smith on Flickr.

In 1978, the game became colloquially known as the “Egg Bowl” after Steve Doyle of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger declared that that year’s Battle of the Golden Egg would serve as a de-facto bowl game for the two schools as the Bulldogs owned a 6-4 record and the Rebels had a 4-6 record and neither team would make a trip to a bowl game that season.

Five years later, in 1983, the Rebels claimed a hard fought 24-23 victory over Mississippi State, in a game that was affected by 40 mph winds that knocked down a potential 27-yard game-winning field goal by Bulldog kicker Artie Cosby. This game has come to be known as the “Immaculate Deflection.”

In 1999, the Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter down 20-6, but rallied to tie the game. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Ole Miss decided to pass the ball instead of taking a knee to send the game to overtime. The pass from quarterback Romero Miller was deflected by the hands and foot of Mississippi State cornerback Robert Bean and then intercepted by defensive back Eugene Clinton and returned to the Rebel’s 34 yard-line. Bulldog kicker Scott Westerfield then came out and knocked in a 44-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs the victory, their first in three years. This game has come to be known by the name “The Pick and the Kick.”

Those are just two of the many exciting games that have come out of this intense rivalry, and it doesn’t look as if there will be any boring moments in this year’s Egg Bowl, which will take place on November 28. Just look at Mississippi State’s uniforms. Hopefully, the profile of this rivalry will continue to increase and it will never be forgotten.

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The Border Showdown: the Kansas Jayhawks vs. the Missouri Tigers

In all of the Midwest region of the United States, there may not have been a more intense rivalry than the one between the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Missouri Tigers.

The rivalry between the schools that stand two-and-a-half hours apart on Interstate 70 in Lawrence, Kan., and Colombia, Mo., began in an unconventional way, far away from the football fields and basketball courts that made it famous.

“It (The Border Showdown)¬†actually has historically significant roots that go all the way back to the Civil War, when militias from the two states fought each other and raided towns in both states,” Will Heckman-Mark, a senior at the University of Missouri, said.

Although never meeting on the battlefield, the militias, which were aptly named the Jayhawkers and the Tigers, were fighting over whether or not to let a state decide if it would become a slave or free state, a concept known as “popular sovereignty.”

The animosity began in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed and created the Kansas and Nebraska territories and the concept of popular sovereignty. This angered the people of Missouri, who believed that the decision of whether or not a state would allow slavery was better left to the Missouri Compromise, which was signed into law in 1820, and repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The animosity between the state of Missouri and the Kansas Territory led to bloodshed during the time known as “Bleeding Kansas,” right before the Civil War, when the pro-slavery Missourians journeyed into Kansas and killed around 40 people and injured many others.

When the Civil War began, the Jayhawkers struck back, ransacking six towns in Missouri, including Osceola, and plundering and razing large parts of western Missouri.

The animosity between the two states never ceased and 30 years after the Civil War began, on Halloween in 1891, the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri met for the first time on the gridiron in what would come to be known as the Border Showdown.

For 16 years, the Tigers and Jayhawks only expressed their contempt for each other when they would meet on the football field. But, in 1907, the schools’ men’s basketball teams met for the first time on the hardwood, where it has shined.

There have been many times when the hate that these two schools have for each other has boiled over.

There’s the Brawl at Brewer Fieldhouse, Missouri head basketball coach Norm Stewart having his players stay in hotels in the Missouri side of Kansas City and refusing to let them spend money on the Kansas side, Kansas head football coach Dom Fambrough saying “I’ll die first!” when talking about a physician from Missouri, and so many more.

In terms of the actual play between the two schools, Missouri has a slight edge in football (57-54-9) and Kansas has absolutely dominated in men’s basketball (172-95).

Kansas center Jeff Withey jumps for the ball against Missouri forward Ricardo Ratliffe at the beginning of the game between the #8 Jayhawks and #4 Tigers at Missouri's Mizzou Arena in Colombia, Mo., on Feb. 4, 2012. Missouri beat Kansas 74-71. Photo courtesy of Taylor Bennett on Flickr.

Kansas center Jeff Withey jumps for the ball against Missouri forward Ricardo Ratliffe at the beginning of the game between the #8 Jayhawks and #4 Tigers at Missouri’s Mizzou Arena in Colombia, Mo., on Feb. 4, 2012. Missouri beat Kansas 74-71. Photo courtesy of Taylor Bennett on Flickr.

In 2011, the series met its end when Missouri announced it was leaving the Big 12 Conference, the conference that, along with its predecessors, Kansas and Missouri had always both occupied, for the Southeastern Conference starting in the fall of 2012.

That doesn’t mean that the hate for either school has ceased.

“I don’t like Missouri and I never will root for them but rather, cheer against them even when they’re in the SEC now,” Brad Robson, a senior at the University of Kansas said. “We (the Kansas student body) felt like they were doing a disservice to not only the Big 12, but to both states. It was a selfish move that they made because of the money.”

The hate hasn’t relented in Colombia either.

“I don’t really follow KU sports too closely except for their basketball team, who I continue to actively root against,” Heckman-Mark said. “I still hate (Kansas head men’s basketball coach) Bill Self and absolutely love when that team loses. I know a lot of my friends and classmates feel the same way here, and I’m sure the people over in Lawrence don’t like us very much still either.”

The hate from both sides is still palpable, but a return to play between the two universities does not seem to be on the horizon anytime soon.

“I believe that the series may resume someday,” Robson said. “But the game won’t mean anything since we’re in different conferences.”

Fans should hope that one day soon the two schools can come to an agreement and this once intense rivalry that dates back to the Civil War will never be forgotten.

Tell me what you think about the rivalry and if you think it should come back in the comments below!

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