The battle for the golden egg will return to Thanksgiving day in 2013. This is somethings that many fans in Mississippi are excited about because they feel that the game belongs on Thanksgiving. In many ways, things are the way they are supposed to be on the field as well. Both teams should be competitive in the SEC West and vying for a bowl game. The 2013 Egg Bowl could be one of the best we've seen in about a decade.
Ole Miss is coming off of an offseason that has seen them praised by many for their monumental recruiting haul in February. They have also become somewhat of a media darling and thought of by some to even be a top three team in the daunting SEC West. It has been an offseason that could make any team complacent and overconfident. Just the opposite of the offseason the proceeded their seven win season last year. How will the Rebels handle expectations? In addition to carrying those expectations, Ole Miss will have a schedule that could potentially beat them up before Thanksgiving day.
Similar to the significance of the 2012 victory for the Rebels, I think the 2013 game could be equally as big for the victor. I really think one of the teams' bowl eligibility could come down to this game. Which will only make the game more fun.
As far as on the field, here are a breakdown of the positions and where each team holds an advantage:
Quarterback - I ranked Tyler Russell ranked one ahead of Bo Wallace here.
Running back - Here is a breakdown robnoladog ranked MSU's backs ahead of Ole Miss'.
Receivers/Tight Ends - In this breakdown I did last month, Ole Miss is significantly better than MSU here, but early in Fall camp, MSU's young receiver corps looks as talented as we thought and could be much better.
Offensive Line - robnoladog ranked MSU's offensive line ahead of Ole Miss' here.
Defensive Line - The Ole Miss line is young, but Metal Building Dawg still think they're slightly better than MSU's. Read about it here.
Linebackers - Again, Metal Building Dawg thinks the Rebels are slightly better here. Each team returns a young star in this group in Denzel Nkemdiche and Benardrick McKinney. Each should surface on some postseason all-SEC lists.
Secondary - Mississippi State lost a lot of talent here, but there is a ton of young talent on the roster at this position and similar to the receiver position, MSU is ranked lower than the Rebels here, but come season's end, the gap might not be as wide.
I know we didn't rank special teams units, but if you really want it, here you go. I think Ole Miss has the edge at punter as they will bring back Tyler Campbell that redshirted last season and MSU will also be one of the top punters in the SEC. MSU holds the edge as far as kickers go here. MSU will break in a guy that redshirted last year as well, but has been limited to kick off duties his whole career until now in Andrew Ritter. Devon Bell should be very solid for the Bulldogs this season on field goals.
With all that being said, typically the game comes down to a little bit more. That being said, this game will be in Starkville and I think MSU will be the team that is more desperate for this win, after dropping an egg last season(excuse the poor pun please). I think Dan Mullen and company will be more competitive this season and like I mentioned earlier, I expect this to be the best egg bowl in years.
I feel this game will come down to the battle between the Ole Miss defensive line and the MSU offensive line(where MSU really lost the game last season). Both teams will score, but will the MSU offensive line be able to hold up in the second half?