Guys. GUYS. It’s rivalry week.
The Egg Bowl, the Iron Bowl and other annual matchups pit the most bitter of rivals this weekend. It’s a bittersweet time, when the regular season draws to a close for most teams, but when the stakes are often the highest.
Take the Iron Bowl, with No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn battling for the Western Division title and the inside track to the BCS title game. As for the Egg Bowl, Mississippi State must win to become bowl eligible, while Ole Miss is looking to best last season’s total of seven wins.
Much is on the line for fans, too. All of their emotional investment into their favorite team is poured into this one game.
As fans, you must prepare accordingly for such a momentous week. That’s why I’ve come up with several rules for you to follow. These rules are drawn from my many years of observing fan behavior.
Love and hate
So here they are, my rules for rivalry week. Embrace the hate, people.
• Pull out well-worn jokes that could just as easily apply to your school’s team or fan base.
• Cherry-pick past examples of the opposing team or fans being “classless” and use said examples to broadly define every single person associated with your rival.
• If your team trails the overall series, accentuate the recent wins over your rival and dismiss the past as being irrelevant. If your team has lost most of the recent matchups, accentuate your team’s superior overall series record and the “winning tradition” of your program.
• Post more negative things about your rival on social media than you post positive things about your team.
• Burn all the clothes you own that contain even a trace of your rival’s color scheme, including underwear.
• If you’re watching the game on TV, be sure your caps lock key is “ON” for posting on social media and message boards.
• If your team loses, blame the officials.
• If your team wins, credit the superior character of your team’s coach and/or players.
• Remember, your rival is obviously cheating. Your team, of course, is above such tactics.
• If your team wins, buy several copies of the next day’s paper as a keepsake. If your team loses, leave an anonymous angry voicemail with the sports department about the biased headline it wrote.
Enjoy the games, and remember, nothing else in life matters this week.
Brad Locke (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the online content coordinator for the Daily Journal. He covered Mississippi State sports from 2008-13.