Yesterday, I talked about two football showdowns in the Magnolia State and said the following:
“Ole Miss and Mississippi State have never both had 4-0 records in the same year. If both schools win today they will likely enter the top 10 which will definitely create another first.”
WHAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT. Top 10? WRONG. Think again – Top 3! That’s right – the Week 7 AP Poll released today places Mississippi State and Ole Miss at #3 – TIED. Irony at its best. In the sports world, yesterday is being referred to as ‘Separation Saturday.’ There were 11 teams in the Top 25 that lost and 5 of those were in the Top 8. It was one of the more memorable days of college football that I can recall in my lifetime… not just in the state of Mississippi, but across the board in the NCAA.
Yes, it was a momentous day for my home state. Records were set and expectations were exceeded (or disproved for those that doubted these two teams). I woke up this morning feeling very prideful and that’s not always a bad thing, but I also felt anxious for the rankings that would be revealed today.
Being a top ranked team is an awesome thing, but it also comes with great responsibility AND pressure. The country is now looking at Mississippi State and Ole Miss – teams without a storied history of winning like Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, etc. Oh wait, that’s almost the entire SEC conference! Do you see where this is going? Love it or hate it (and there are many SEC haters out there), the SEC is traditionally the most competitive conference in college football…. or at least it has been over the last 25+ years. However, MSU and Ole Miss haven’t finished at the top of the conference year-in and year-out.
What does it mean for these two schools to be ranked #3? Honestly, at this point, it doesn’t mean a lot. Yes, it’s exciting, fun and gives us bragging rights, but there’s a TON of football yet to be played. Last year’s Iron Bowl is a prime example of what can happen in a heartbeat (or few). It was the final play of the game – the last tick – the kick was returned for a 100+ yard touchdown and just like that, Auburn ruined Alabama’s chance at a shot for the national title.
After this weekend, all the big time sports analysts are declaring their teams for the playoff. Too much football left…. way too much. For now, I will bask in the glory of these victories, these rankings and the positive attention my home state is getting.
Call me crazy, but I prefer to be an underdog – pun intended.