It’s the end of November which means it’s Rivalry Week, where a team at the bottom can beat a team on top. Records, strength of schedule, star athletes and veteran coaching staffs can be thrown out the window – you never know what will happen when rivalry teams line up on the field. Personally, I have a hard time even saying ‘Rivalry Week’… but apparently I’m not the only one as you can see below.
Early in the season we all have high hopes for our teams and think, “Maybe THIS will be THE year!” No matter what the team or conference, everyone wants to be in the coveted CFB Playoff Top 4 and rightly so, but let’s be real… it ain’t gonna happen for anyone other than those Top 4 still standing at the end of November. So, at some point, after a couple of losses, your perspective changes. Suddenly, the mindset becomes, “As long as we beat _______ (your rival team), I’m happy.”
Yes, there are a handful of teams that probably never consider that thought because they’re accustomed to being in the upper echelon of ‘playoff land,’ but for the rest of the college football population, that’s where we find ourselves at this point in the season. Beat your rival and go to a decent bowl and it’s all good until next year… or until the next sports season, if you’re like me and follow more than football.
While I follow ALL the games, I’m a State girl so my rivalry-of-choice is Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss – a.k.a. The Egg Bowl. Last year, MSU was poised for an opportunity to be in the Top 4. Going into Rivalry Weekend, we had lost only to Alabama and were ranked #4 in the CFP. Ole Miss had already been knocked out of contention so all they stood to gain was the satisfaction of spoiling the Dawg’s national playoff spot and good ‘ole Mississippi braggin’ rights for a year. After beating State 31-17, the Rebels walked away fully satisfied in achieving all of the above. This weekend, the only thing at stake is a year’s worth of ‘Hail State’ or ‘Hotty Toddy’ pride.
Home field advantage may be the only leverage any of these teams have because it really doesn’t matter what team is the best or what team is the worst…. it’s all up for grabs during Rivalry Week!!