The moment that most people have been joking about for weeks: The 2019 Egg Bowl.
Crazy enough, this week is a great insight to how far we have come since that 2014 season. It shows how spoiled we have became about winning games. In matter-of-fact, we are so spoiled that, really, one of the better Egg Bowls in recent memory is being looked at in such a poor light.
Of course we were going to fall off after the 2014 season. Dan Mullen finally left (after years and years and years and years of speculation). Hugh Freeze, you know, was scandalous. Things were going to change.
The good news is that things haven’t really changed that much. This is how Egg Bowls were made to be. Here is a great description that we found on Twitter:
the Egg Bowl has finally returned to what it was meant to be: One team trying to get bowl eligible, with the other grabbing it by the back of the shirt and yelling "where do you think you're going?"— Scotty Toddy (@heyyyscott) November 25, 2019
While we are both irrelevant in the SEC West, we aren’t Arkansas in the SEC irrelevant. That is what is important here, but this year is an important step for both teams to not become that awful. The Egg Bowl, more than anything else, is huge for recruiting in the State of Mississippi. Often times, the game influences the top prospects, whether it is a win or lose. Sometimes players want to go to the team that lost and bring the Egg back to the loser’s grasp. Other times, players go to the winner and attempt to make that team stronger. Ultimately, the program’s talent for the next season is determined by a single win or loss.
Strangely enough, a loss has actually been beneficial, at times, to each respective program. In 2008, Ole Miss dominated every second of the Egg Bowl for a 45-0 win. It was the biggest Egg Bowl victory since 1959. How did Mississippi State respond? Well, they signed a recruiting class with six future NFL players. The 2009 Mississippi State signing class was one of the greatest classes to ever come out of Mississippi State, featuring Fletcher Cox, Gabe Jackson, Johnthan Banks, Darius Slay and Pernell McPhee to name a few.
Mississippi State lost the Egg Bowl in 2012, and who did they sign months later? Five-star defensive tackle Chris Jones. Same for 2015, when they signed five-star Jeffery Simmons. Same goes for Ole Miss, who lost the 2010 Egg Bowl and got four star Donte Moncrief. Even in 1999, Ole Miss lost the Egg and got future Hall of Famer Eli Manning. You see, you have to lose to win. The Egg Bowl makes no sense, and there is your proof.
So is the team who loses going to get a future superstar? Probably not. But, they could be getting a new coach. It happens often, and a coaching change is almost always revolved around an Egg Bowl result. In matter-of-fact, no coach has ever left or was fired after an Egg Bowl victory, except for two. David Cutliffe was fired in 2004 after winning the Egg Bowl, and Allyn McKeen left after a 1942 victory... for, well, World War II. So in other words, you keep your job if you win the Egg Bowl. So for Matt Luke and Joe Moorhead, a loss here is possibly career-defining for them going forward. The new AD at Ole Miss, Keith Carter, has already given a vote of confidence to Matt Luke, but it would be hard to see a big-time loss not changing his mind. After back-to-back disappointing seasons for Joe Moorhead, it would be hard to see a big time loss not, at the least, warming his seat, too. Either way, history points to the winner most likely keeping his job.
A buyout on either coaches’ contracts would not be ideal, and again shines the light on this year’s Egg Bowl. More than anything, a win here sends one team to a bowl game. After the NCAA maintained it’s initial post-season ban on Missouri, the SEC needs teams to fill its bowl spots. If Ole Miss was to win, they would most likely get a shot. Mississippi State would be a lock if they won. Bowl games, at the least, are extra reps for your team. It lets you travel, have fun, and, of course, build momentum for next season. Both teams will be fighting, not literally (well, maybe), for a shot to extend their season. It is chaos and it is beautiful.
So, while on paper, this game does not just jump out at you. Sure, it has a 4-7 team and a 5-6 team. Sure, none of the QBs can throw. Sure, the defenses are the equivalent of wet cardboard. Sure, it might be better to go to the movies instead:
Hear me out, let’s all go to a movie instead of playing the Egg Bowl— Interim Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) November 16, 2019
But... it might be one of the best and most important Egg Bowls in recent history. There will be a lot, per usual, that happens on the field...
But, mainly, it will be about what happens off the field. The everlasting effects of this game will go way beyond the final whistle and lifting of the trophy, and it will be crucial for both programs going forward. Will one team lose and sign a superstar? Will one team be getting a new coach? Will both teams be getting a new coach? Will Ole Miss become Arkansas? Hell, when it comes to the Egg Bowl, you just never know.