First-year Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze took his turn at SEC Media Days this morning, and one of the first questions he was asked was about the Egg Bowl. Mississippi State, of course, has won three in a row in the rivalry series.
"Coach (Dan) Mullen's staff and his players have done a good job of capturing momentum in that series. I give credit where credit is due," Freeze said. "We're not talking about that right now because we have so many other issues to prepare for and get ready for the home opener."
Freeze's predecessor, Houston Nutt, once admitted that he did not initially fully understand the magnitude of the Egg Bowl rivalry. Freeze is a Mississippi native, so it's something that he's quite familiar with.
"I understand the way it divides families, understand the emotion that's involved in it," he said.
Mullen made it a point from early in his tenure to engage the rivarly with barbs and a countdown clock and by refusing to call Ole Miss by its proper name. Yesterday, MSU cornerback Johnthan Banks guaranteed a win over the Rebels this year. Freeze said that once Egg Bowl week rolls around, there will be an increased energy level among the coaches and players, but right now he doesn't see a need to engage the rivalry outside of game week.
"At this point I don't see that as necessarily a priority today. I'm sure there will come a time when that happens," he said. "We know Ole Miss still holds the advantage in the all-time series, just not recently. … Our kids will understand the importance of that game, I assure you."
Ole Miss leads the series, 60-42-6.
As for this coming season, the Rebels are trying to shake off last year's 2-10 mark and snap a 14-game SEC losing streak.
"The reasonable expectation from our fans and our administration that they should have on us and our staff and our kids is that we compete passionately for our university for 60 minutes," Freeze said. "Whatever the scoreboard says at the end is what it says, and we'll have to live with that."