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In-state rivals build excitement in the season

Published 7:00am Saturday, July 12, 2014

In just 49 days, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi will open the 2014 college football campaign against one another in Starkville.

It will be the first time in over two decades that the two in-state rivals have met on the gridiron. And we think that the game is way overdue.

The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles are set to play again, in a couple of years, in Hattiesburg. We don’t feel this should be an unusual occurrence. We feel that games like this should be the norm instead, and not just between these two institutions.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State, of course, play in the biggest game in this state each year when they meet in the annual Egg Bowl. The teams are both members of the West Division in the Southeastern Conference, so they have to play one another.

But while Mississippi State and Southern Miss have agreed to renew their rivalry, Ole Miss has been as receptive to doing so with the Golden Eagles. At least on the gridiron, anyway.

The Rebels will face Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis and something called Presbyterian at home this season in Vaught-Henningway Stadium.

Future schedules over the next few years for the Rebels include non-conference opponents such as Tennessee-Martin, Wofford, Georgia Southern and New Mexico State, Memphis and Tulane.

We understand facing Memphis and Tulane, both are old rivals for the Rebels and great cities to visit for Ole Miss fans when you get a chance to spend the weekend in the French Quarter or at The Peabody.

But why not put Southern Miss in that mix? Wouldn’t Rebels fans be more excited about the chance to beat the in-state rival Golden Eagles rather than beat up on the mighty Terriers of Wofford?

We think they would.

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