December 2, 2010
Then there were three.
Another turn of events on Friday left the BCS standings in an impending flux with the demise of the Boise State Broncos. The Broncs, who have been prancing over the opposition for the last two seasons, threw a shoe in their meeting with Nevada. The Wolf Pack used an overtime to knock the visions of sugar plums and a BCS bowl berth from the heads of the Broncos. The Wolf Pack had been ranked 19th, while Boise had been hoping to move to number two. Instead, late Sunday night the word was that they had dropped down to number nine.
That last reckoning had placed Auburn at the top of the heap, with Oregon next and TCU rounding out the highest in the BCS Series standings.
Since 1934, the Thanksgiving Day week has been highly regarded as “rival week.” Some brilliant stiff, whose name escapes me at the moment, decided that pro football should become a big deal with a “turkey day” game. So, for 76 years, it has become a big deal. Of course, it has been refined by the Packers, Lions, Bears and Cowboys over the years. So much so, that the charm (?) has spilled over to the collegiate and secondary football worlds, and the sports scene in general.
Rivalries are flirted with throughout any season when teams incidentally meet each other. There are rivalries and there are RIVALRIES. We mean the USDA Choice, dyed in the wool, undiluted rivalries. Like, Auburn and Alabama, South Carolina and Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, LSU and Arkansas and last, but not least, MS State and Ole Miss.
Because of all the attention garnered by Auburn on and off the gridiron this year, this year’s Iron Bowl had earthquake possibilities. The Tigers, looking toward an SEC title and a BCS national championship tryst, could not let an elephant block the doorway. Friday, the day following turkey day, the Tigers had to prove that they were not full of turkey stuffing or sidetracked by rumors. The comeback, after being buried in a 24-0 ditch, gave new meaning to the last-ditch turnaround. I, like many others, couldn’t help but wonder how the Crimson Tide came up one point short.
Ole Miss probably could have used some more rushing in their 83rd meeting in the Egg Bowl. The Rebels dominated the first nine contests. The next dominant stint lasted for 17 seasons. During those years, the series flopped back and forth between Oxford and Starkville. From 1976 to 1990 the game was played at the neutral site of Veterans Stadium in Jackson.
LSU had dashed the Rebels’ hopes of a third consecutive bowl bid on the 20th of November. Coach Houston Nutt, who had led Ole Miss to back-to-back Cotton Bowl wins, stated at the time that the Egg Bowl would have to be the Rebels’ “bowl” game this year.
I am sure that the second straight loss to the MS State ’Dawgs at 31-23 is not what he had in mind.
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