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Lengthy MSU Mailbag: Rivalry thoughts, Thanksgiving hot takes, football questions and an Ole Miss joke

 

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What else would we talk about in this, the Egg Bowl Edition of the Mailbag? Rivalry. Hate. Let's dive right into the darkest parts of ourselves and pull on all that hate our respective religions tell us not to. 

 

- @dak4knight has an interesting question later in the Mailbag, but let's start off with this one: He wants to know how much my Ole Miss hate has risen in this, my first Egg Bowl week as a (tertiary) part of this rivalry. 

 

As much as I love rivalry hate, I cannot partake in this one since I'm employed as what Stephen Godfrey would call a, "capital-j Journalist," but rest assured: there is some Ole Miss hate in my household. My wife is also an Alabama grad and is maintains some hostility for the Rebels after that streak of two wins over the Tide. Does that satisfy your thirst for Ole Miss hate in all corners of the world? 

 

- Two charter members of the #MailbagSquad Rob Montgomery, @10RobertWilliam, and Cameron Crawford, @crawford_cam95, asked similar questions, so I'll use Rob's: Where does the Egg Bowl rank for me in terms of national rivalries? In conjunction with this how do you gauge rivalries? (Cam also wanted to know how I gauge rivalry hate.) 

 

You see, gentlemen, I ask for one thing in college football rivalries (other than relative competitiveness) -- life-consuming, identity-forming, borderline dangerous hate. Let's not forget college football is a sport literally founded upon hating thy neighbor: this isn't like the NHL or MLB that got its start in the metropolis cities of the previous century as the country was growing, this sport has its roots in colleges within a hundred miles of each other beating each other to death -- in some cases, back then, more literally than I'd like. 

 

I'll factor in competitiveness a little bit into that, but frankly, I get much more rivalry enjoyment out of watching, say, Clemson pound on South Carolina than I do watching Illinois and Ohio State play a close game. 

 

Now, all of that being said: there's obviously plenty of hate in this rivalry -- probably more so now than ever before -- and there's several close and/or overtime games in the recent history that this checks both boxes. For me, the Egg Bowl is in the elite class of college football rivalries occupied by Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan, Florida-Florida State, Army-Navy, the Red River Rivalry and Bedlam. To me, nothing will ever top Army-Navy, so it will never be No. 1, but I'm perfectly comfortable with this in the top 10. 

 

- And now for Cameron Crawford's (@crawford_cam95) other question, and I think it's the toughest question of this Mailbag: If the Golden Egg were never created, what would you have named this rivalry? 

 

This one is brutal, so I did what all humans do when they're desperately searching for answers: I went to Wikipedia. I knew of Mississippi as the Magnolia State, but right next to it was something that I had never heard of: The Hospitality State. My answer came to me immediately: I would call this rivalry Southern Hostility. 

 

Back in the day the trophy for this would've obviously been a Rebel squaring off with a bulldog, Now that we as a society have moved on from depicting members of the Confederate army, this might be tougher. I'm open to ideas on that front. 

 

- And now for a couple of Dan Mullen questions before we get into the real topic at hand here: Thanksgiving. @gridirondawg is concerned, you guys. He wants to know if the Egg Bowl will be Dan Mullen's last game in Davis Wade. 

 

No, because Mullen's going to take the Florida job and Florida comes to Davis Wade next year. Duh. 

 

But really, no, I think he will still be MSU's head coach next year. It seems that Florida has its eyes elsewhere for now and for strictly football reasons, I'm not sure Tennessee is a massive improvement from MSU. It is an improvement in terms of stadium size, proximity to Atlanta and such, but when you take everything into account from the MSU job that Mullen has created to the job that Tennessee is now, I'm not certain it's worth leaving the entrenched infrastructure Mullen has installed here after nine years for that. Texas A&M and UCLA are among other possibilities, but I still don't think it happens in this cycle. 

 

- James Roger Craig (@JRCraig6593) wants to know why Paul Finebaum and Laura Rutledge want Dan Mullen to leave? 

 

Here's a fact about me, both for James and you dear reader: I take pride in the fact that I am not a Finebaum listener. But they want Mullen to leave MSU because every regional and national college sports media person hates MSU and every single one of its fans on a deeply personal level, and they'll admit it every chance they get. They also love whoever is playing MSU on this given day or week.  

 

- And now for some football before we end this thing with Thanksgiving talk. Colby Williams (@ColbyW1411) has two football questions and a rivalry question. He wants to know which of the young wide receivers seeing the field recently is the most promising and does MSU have a promising WR in the incoming recruiting class. Then he wants to see if I can join into Ole Miss hate week and give a good Ole Miss joke. 

 

It's funny, we were just having this conversation about the young wide receivers in the media room Monday. Here's a list of the underclassman wide receivers (not including tight ends) that we'll work with: Jamal Couch, Deddrick Thomas, Reggie Todd, Keith Mixon and Osirus Mitchell. (We haven't seen enough of Austin Williams to judge him.) 

 

Couch has the frame to be great, but he needs to expand his catch radius a bit and, more importantly, work on getting a little more separation with consistency. There's a ton of potential with him, I think. I really like Todd though: Look at what he's done this year and remember he's incredibly raw in terms of advanced football skill. I think he's the perfect player for that position in this kind of program that sort of beats its chest on how it develops players. 

 

As for the incoming recruiting class: absolutely, his name is Stephen Guidry. Here's my Stephen Guidry story: I was helping out our other sports writer, Scott Walters, at an EMCC game against Hinds Community College, where Guidry played this year. I normally look into those guys before I go to those games, but on this week it totally slipped my mind. So I'm watching the game and I kept seeing Hinds' No. 7 keep gashing EMCC for play after play after play. Finally at some point in the third quarter I stopped and thought, who is this guy? Saw the name Stephen Guidry and it all came back to me. He's legit. 

 

Now, for your Ole Miss joke: I Googled 'Ole Miss joke' and got a thread on Tiger Droppings with one that I feel like is really, really topical. What's the difference between Ole Miss and Cheerios? Cheerios belong in a bowl. 

 

- The MSU Mafia's Official Tight End Researcher, The Tupelo Flash (@cprovine3) wants to know how MSU will use its tight ends against Ole Miss and what I think of Ole Miss' tight ends. 

 

Give how terrible Ole Miss' run defense has been this year -- allowing 5.78 yards per carry to FBS teams with winning records, a category MSU obviously falls into -- I'd imagine they'll be used as blockers, both inside and outside. 

 

I think most people think of tight ends being used as blockers meaning to be inline tight ends next to tackles or as the more modern H-Backs, which do several things around the box from many different places. That's certainly going to pop up at times in this game, but I think splitting tight ends wide for those formations is important, too, because it creates space. This obviously isn't a defense that requires a bunch of man 

 

As for Ole Miss' tight ends: Dawson Knox has been quite the player of late. I wrote about this for a story you'll see posted on this fine website for journalism Wednesday afternoon/night, but Knox has seven catches for 113 yards on first downs alone. That's a heck of a weapon to have on first down. 

 

- Final football question before we get to Thanksgiving talk. Fellow Charter Member of the #MailbagSquad Daniel Montgomery (@dalemo830) -- How much did Christmann's Heisman chances take a hit after missing the field goal at Arkansas? Can he rebound with a standout Egg Bowl? 

 

.....it hurt, Daniel. It hurt my soul more than anything. I try to call on the things that have always been loyal to me -- Reese's Cups -- in my times of need. 

 

Jace will always be in the Heisman race in our hearts. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. 

 

- Hooooo buddy let's talk about some calorie intake. @Wesley_Johnson comes in with a hot take before his question: Everybody agrees that cranberry sauce is best thrown in the trash. What's the second worst holiday food item? 

 

It's true, you guys. Cranberry sauce is an abomination against mankind. Stop this madness. 

 

I have a sneaky pick here: the rolls. I'm not a huge fan of green bean casserole, but that's not present at my family's Thanksgiving, so I can't really pick it. I picked the rolls because there's already dressing and other glorious bread-based things around, so dude, you don't need a roll. Now, here's where I'm a hypocrite: my family generally gets the Sister Schubert's rolls (you've surely seen them in the grocery store) and they are a serious weakness of mine, so I get a few. So unless it's a specific kind of roll that you genuinely can't pass up when you see it, just do without and get yourself more dressing or mac and cheese. 

 

- On a similar subject, Friend of the Mailbag @CalebGarnerMSU -- Since the Egg Bowl is on Thanksgiving and sports is all about power rankings, let's see your Thanksgiving Food Power Rankings. 

 

Now, this gives me an opportunity to grandstand on something: people, fry your turkey. A fried turkey -- when the person doing the frying knows what they're doing , as we in the Hudson family very much do -- is clearly the superior turkey preparation. Brining, baking, all of that, it's garbage. Fry it. It's the only way to go. 

 

So, that being the case, my power rankings: fried turkey (only fried, not other preparations), dressing (my mother's recipe includes some sauteed sausage, which is definitely the way to go), sweet potato casserole (topped with brown sugar and nuts, none of that marshmallow nonsense), mac and cheese, deviled eggs (yeah, I said it, fight me), then every fast food restaurant in America ranked ahead of green bean casserole. Green bean casserole is basically taking all the health benefits away from a food that, to me, is kind of meh, so why would you take away the one redeeming quality by making it unhealthy? 

 

Now, dessert. My family has passed down a chocolate pie recipe for generations that is incredible. That's all I have to offer, I don't care about every other Thanksgiving dessert. 

 

- And now we finally get back to the second question from @dak4knight, who's apparently known on these Twitter streets as OLE MISS HATE WEEK, asks: What are the best Thanksgiving movies, or movies around the time of Thanksgiving? He then warns me to be careful because my pick can cause horrible things to happen. 

 

I gotta be honest here: I'm not a huge movie guy, so I racked my brain and could not think of a single movie I've seen that centered around Thanksgiving. So I Googled Thanksgiving movies (man I've done a lot of Googling for this Mailbag, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about that) and found Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I've never seen that movie all the way through, but I do remember the bit where Steve Martin rants about going through insurance seminars for days, people asking him how he can stand it and responding, "I've been with Del Griffith. I can take anything." Because that moment makes me laugh, that's my pick. 

 

- Final question (that's bound to get me in trouble), from @MattVTyler -- Is it true that Friendsgiving is more fun than actual Thanksgiving with family? 

 

Without a doubt yes, with one exception: if you've got a family of perfectly matched mercenaries. 

 

Take my family for example: my dad fries the best turkey in America; my mother's dressing makes my mouth water just typing out the words, "my mother's dressing,"; my aunt Celle Hudgens makes a ballin' mac and cheese; I'm confident my aunt LiLi has left millions of dollars on the table by not opening up a bakery at some point. Bring all this together for an incredible Thanksgiving meal that is so worth missing an opportunity to have one or two too many drinks with friends and pass around stories that your family probably doesn't want to hear. 

 

Now, if you're in that camp of people that wonders why people freak out about Thanksgiving food when it's clearly not good enough to eat year-round, that tells me two things. 1 -- You don't have very many, if any, truly good cooks in your family. That's unfortunate for you, and I'm sorry. 2 -- You're the type of person that needs to prioritize Friendsgiving.

 

 

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