I Am The Egg Bowl: Mississippi State and Ole Miss


What’s in a name really? If you’re a college football fan you’ve got ‘The Iron Bowl’ which is played between Alabama and Auburn at this time of year, which is basically the Battle for Alabama. That name originated because of where they played the game, in Birmingham, because of it’s steel industry ties. It just sounds like a strength and muscle kind of name. We’ve also got ‘The Red River Rivalry’ between Oklahoma and Texas. That name is fairly simplistic but is an easy read. The Red River separates Oklahoma and Texas and the game is actually still played at a neutral site in Dallas, where the winner of that contest takes home The Golden Hat trophy for the year. There’s also ‘The Civil War’ between Oregon and Oregon State, where the origins of that name date back to the 1930’s and they play for The Platypus Trophy, which makes sense since a platypus is basically a cross between a duck and a beaver. And let’s not forget the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The winners of that game will run to the opposing sideline, if they own it from the previous year, as the final seconds tick off, and claim the axe until the following year.

Now these are all heated in-state and border wars type battles that are played on the gridiron and the hatred runs deep. This time of year brings out the best and the worst of folks within states but none of that compares to what will be on the field Saturday in the state of Mississippi. Sure Alabama will be wanting to exact revenge on Auburn from last year’s unbelievable Iron Bowl. Oregon is a 20 point favorite AT Corvallis. Both have playoff implications, but let’s get to the yolk of the matter, The Egg Bowl. What’s in a name and why did it take a few wooden chairs splintered over the heads of Ole Miss fans to come up with that name? Back in 1926 Ole Miss was on a losing streak of sorts. They had lost 13 in a row to Mississippi A&M dating back to 1911. So when Ole Miss beat A&M 7-6, a celebration was in order. The student body for Ole Miss attempted to take down the goal posts, much to the chagrin of active A&M supporters.

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Here’s an excerpt from Eggbowl.com which describes that day back in 1926:

But on the east side, pandemonium. Well wishers rushed “like madmen onto the field,” Webb Burke said in his 1957 interview. Some fans made a dash for the goal posts. 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. As explained by the Reveille, A&M yearbook, “A few chairs had to be sacrificed over the heads of these to persuade them that was entirely the wrong attitude.”

Cooler heads prevailed the following year when a symbolic trophy was introduced by both student bodies that would go to the victor of each year’s contest lest something like what happened that day in 1926, when chairs over heads were the deciding factor. It was to be a trophy of a regulation sized football covered in gold. Back then footballs were more oblong and fuller, not like the pigskins we have today, hence ‘The Golden Egg’ was born. Since 1927, the rivalry had been called ‘The Battle for the Golden Egg.’ In 1978 a journalist referred to it as ‘The Egg Bowl’ and it stuck. For most of those years the game was played on Thanksgiving night and on a neutral field in Jackson Mississippi. But since 1991, the game has been played at respective campuses, which makes the rivalry that much more heated.

#4 Mississippi State (10-1, 7-1 SEC) comes into Oxford this Saturday night against a #19 Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3 SEC) team that was firmly entrenched in the top rankings just a month ago. State has their eyes firmly on making one of the 4 playoff spots, while the Rebels would love to play the role of spoiler to their in-state rivals. If you’re thinking of turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving weekend, grab a chair of your choice and put on The Egg Bowl, one of college football’s greatest rivalries. And if Ole Miss takes down the Bulldogs, I fully expect the Reb faithful to storm the field and take down the goal posts, just like they tried to in 1926. As for the chair, just don’t use it over the head of your relative…it’s not 1926.

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