Ole Miss and LSU: The SEC’s Most Underrated Rivalry
As an Ole Miss Rebel, my favorite time of year isn’t the Egg Bowl, but rather the Magnolia Bowl.
Although the rivalry of Ole Miss/LSU doesn’t quite get the attention it once did, my left eye still twitches when I see that combo of purple and gold. I had my first Death Valley experience in 2008. While there, I had a group of LSU fans dump a bag of trash over my head as I was heading towards the bathroom. My Rebels sought vengeance on the field for me when they defeated the Tigers, 31-13.
However, my favorite Magnolia Bowl memory comes in 2009, when the Mad Hatter couldn’t quite manage the game clock.
The Tigers were down by two points with 1:16 left in the game, and had the ball on their own 42. It should’ve been a drive away from an LSU win right? Nope. As the Tigers inched closer to the end zone, with 26 seconds left, Miles himself didn’t even know the play, causing 17 seconds to burn off the clock. Nine seconds remained in the frigidly tense game; the Tigers were hoping to spike the ball, but instead confusion from the chain gang caused the game to the end.
Rebs won, 25-23. Mad House.
“I don’t know what all happened down there at the end,” then Ole Miss head Coach Houston Nutt said. “I just know the scoreboard read 25-23 Ole Miss Rebels.”
Although the height of the rivalry was the days when Archie Manning wore No. 18, I believe Saturday night’s game will refresh the air. It’s the first time since 2003 that both LSU and Ole Miss are entering the game ranked. It’s also the first time since 1961 that the Rebels are ranked higher than LSU when both teams have been ranked.
The media might try to sell other SEC rivalry games, but the Tigers and Rebels have played each other every year since 1945, this Saturday being the 103rd meeting. The Rebs haven’t lost by more than 7 points in the infamous Death Valley since 1995.
While the origin is unknown, I like to tell myself that Rebel fans coined the term “corndog” to describe LSU fans. After all, their shade of gold matches the mustard you put on a corndog.
A Mississippi State fan might tell you Ole Miss is their biggest rival. As for me, my deeper hatred runs for the Tigers. Starting with their colors, to their attitudes, to the way they spell “Geaux”, I’ll be a satisfied Rebel knowing we beat those corndogs.