Neither Mississippi State nor Ole Miss will have long to enjoy the presents Santa leaves for them Christmas morning.
Both teams are expected back at practice in Tennessee on Thursday in preparation for their respective bowl games.
The Rebels will conduct three practices and a walkthrough in Nashville before facing Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl on Monday at 2:15 p.m. on ESPN. The Bulldogs will get in four days of practice and a walkthrough in Memphis before a 3 p.m. kickoff against Rice in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve, which is also on ESPN.
Ole Miss will practice at Montgomery Bell Academy with all workouts closed to the general public. The Rebels are also invited to several events during the week, including a welcome party aboard the General Jackson Showboat and an hockey game between the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings.
MSU will practice at Rhodes College during the week and are also closed. The Bulldogs’ welcome party will be held at AutoZone Park, home of the Cardinals Triple-A baseball affiliate Memphis Redbirds. The team will visit St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Civil Rights Museum. The players have a choice to either attend a professional rodeo or an NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets as well.
Naturally, there will be off-the-field distractions during the bowl week but State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins feels his team will be able to handle those diversions and focus on the task at hand.
“We started off real young but the experiences that they’ve had throughout this season have really prepared them,” Collins said. “I think they’ve got the right mindset going into the bowl game. They know what a great opponent it is. You don’t win 10 games in college football without being a great team and they know what a great challenge it is ahead.”