Opinion Offering: Bulldogs’ Success Partly at Rebels’ Expense

In today’s opinion offering I assess Mississippi State’s recent success and future prospects, partly in light of its rivalry with Ole Miss, which isn’t doing so well of late.

It’s been well-documented that MSU’s gotten the better of the Rebels this past year in every major sport (and most of the minor ones). The Bulldogs’ success has certainly gone far beyond merely beating their chief rivals, and this raises a pertinent question, at least as far as fans are concerned.

What’s more satisfying as an MSU fan: Beating Ole Miss the majority of the time, or having winning seasons and going to bowl games, NCAA tournaments, etc.?

It’s not necessarily an easy question to answer. MSU football coach Dan Mullen has put a ton of emphasis on the Egg Bowl, with a countdown clock and a special term of endearment for Ole Miss. It’s added a little extra zest to the rivalry, and more so now with Houston Nutt finally getting it.

But Mullen, like his fellow MSU coaches, has a goal of winning championships, and beating Ole Miss ultimately becomes just part of the means to that end. Obviously the preference for MSU is to both beat the Rebs regularly and win lots of other important games, and that happened for the football and baseball teams this year.

The basketball team, of course, swept its season series with Ole Miss but missed the postseason, so it’s looking to make a step forward in 2011-12. I mentioned in my column that State has never in the same academic year sent its football team to a bowl game, its basketball team to the NCAA tournament, and its baseball team to the NCAA tournament.

Perhaps that’ll happen this coming year. If not, dominating Ole Miss again would be a pretty good consolation prize.