It doesn’t matter how bad the two teams are, the Battle for the Golden Egg (more affectionately known as the Egg Bowl) will always matter to Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Full of strife, hate, bitterness, and anger, the Battle for the Golden Egg (generally known as the Egg Bowl) won’t have any sort of major impact on college football this season. But that doesn’t mean the game is meaningless. While the two teams competing in it are in fact meaningless in 2019, this rivalry still holds plenty of weight in every sport that Mississippi State and Ole Miss compete in, and it holds extra weight in college football.
Like most seasons, the Egg Bowl doesn’t mean much outside of the state of Mississippi this year. But, there was a point in time when the Egg Bowl actually had an impact on the College Football Playoff picture.
In 2014, when No. 19 Ole Miss shocked No. 4 Mississippi State at the end of November in the first year of the playoff era, the Rebels ended the Bulldogs’ shot at competing for a national championship for the first time in program history.
Both teams captivated the national college football viewing audience and both teams reached historic highs. Ole Miss, that season, toppled Alabama and Rebel fans knocked over a goal post. That same season, Mississippi State ran through LSU, A&M, and Auburn to ascend to No. 1 in the country.
It’s fair to say that both teams have fallen hard since then, as Ole Miss sits at 4-7 and Mississippi State is 5-6 headed into this rivalry game.
The season prior to that colossal match up in Oxford, two meddling teams met in Starkville in a much less nationally-anticipated event, but one that still meant just as much within Mississippi. That’s typically par for the course with this rivalry as at least one team involved in it is bad.
It just happens that, in 2019, both teams are bad.
Five years removed from the game that had major national implications and featured two teams that would go on to compete in New Years Eve bowl games, this Egg Bowl will feature a team that lost to Tennessee and a team that lost to Missouri (who also lost to Tennessee).
And yet, despite all of that, the Egg Bowl is pivotal to both fanbases and is something that could separate a successful season from one that is a true disappointment.
This game has a way of saving, establishing, building, redeeming, or crushing coach’s careers.
Dan Mullen started off 3-0 against Ole Miss, promised never to lose to “That School Up North,” and then finished his time in Starkville by going 2-4 against Ole Miss from 2012-2017, leaving town after a disastrous loss to the Rebels that included his starting quarterback going down with a devastating injury. His time began and ended with the Egg Bowl.
Oh, and as he left, the Rebels were hammered by the NCAA. To make it even more interesting, Mississippi State players were involved in that NCAA investigation and there’s a very intriguing documentary about it on YouTube.
And so, on Thanksgiving 2019, Matt Luke (the man who beat Dan Mullen in the 2017 Egg Bowl) and Joe Moorhead will lead their teams out on the field. The last time these two teams faced each other, drinks were reportedly thrown at players from fans in the Ole Miss stands, a brawl broke out, Moorhead insulted an Ole Miss deputy athletic director who seemingly got in the midst of a Mississippi State football celebration.
This rivalry meant a lot on the national level in 2014. It’s effectively meaningless in that regard in 2019. But, within state lines, the annual rivalry game between Mississippi State and Ole Miss will always be meaningful.