The Cracked Rivalry
For fifty-one years, I have watched the Egg Bowl turn from a fun and interesting rivalry into something rather ugly. Sure, when you get two groups of people together who despise each other, there will inevitably be trouble. Oh yeah, there have been a lot of fights! Most of us older Rebels will never forget the pregame melee from the 1997 Egg Bowl, which ended in a 15-14 victory for Ole Miss. It was an ugly win, just like the fight.
Inevitably, it was a game which went down in the record books as an Egg Bowl match-up between two great coaching legends. The prowess of Tommy Tubervillve and Jackie Sherrill, and two great defenses battling on a rainy November Saturday afternoon was a showdown. Note to self, whatever happened to Joe Lee Dunn after MSU? The 1997 Egg Bowl game became an instant classic as reflected by the final score and Rebel victory of 15-14! Sadly, that incredible game continues to be overshadowed by the pregame fight.
Rotten Rivalry Becomes Social
Yeah, we all know the story. Some smart college computer kid, who’s apparently a huge Bammer now, wondered….Why can’t we all just get along? Smh. Social media revolutionized the way everybody used the internet, including rivals. It turned the internet into a place filled with love, unicorns and rainbows, and rivals singing Kumbaya. Yeah right. Of course, you know there are at least a few people who actually believe it. It’s those types of Egg Bowl fans, who have tried to pretend all was wonderful, who have also recently seen the rivalry fall into an abyss.
What was once trash talk, and seldom might turn into a pregame fight on or off the field, has become an everyday skirmish fueled on by social media. Fans of Red and Blue or Maroon and White, can’t miss it in the mutually moderated Bulldog/Rebel groups. See the hatred firsthand, for yourself. I’ve seen it personally, the lethal intent of each fan base, with the use of racial slurs, and even the threats of physical violence. Go join an Ole Miss/State College rivalry group and see how long it takes for you to shake your head in disgust. We can easily imagine, how something done out of spite and anger can morph into stupidity from both sides.
The entire State of Mississippi saw it within the rivalry of the Bammers and Barners, when irate fan Harvey Updyke poisoned the Toomer’s trees. The revelation by Updyke on the Paul Finebaum Show left us all speechless.