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The Iron and the Egg

When Mississippi State and Ole Miss line up to play their annual Egg Bowl rivalry game on Saturday, the eyes of the college football world will be paying attention. For the first time in nearly 50 years, this game is being played with national title implications, and the stakes are high for more than just Bulldogs and Rebels.
Mississippi State has everything to gain. They are playing to hang on to their top four ranking in the playoff polls, their first 11-win season in school history and a chance to win the SEC Championship. To put it simply, the Bulldogs are trying to finish their best season ever.
Ole Miss is playing for a chance to ruin every bit of it.
The Rebels have a chance to bring their rival’s title hopes to an end in Oxford, and that is exactly what fans throughout Texas and Ohio are hoping will happen.
Auburn knows a lot about destroying a team’s title chances. The Alabama Crimson Tide looked primed to win their third straight title last year, right up until the very last second of their regular season ended with one of the most remarkable plays in college football history. Alabama surely has not forgotten what that felt like and will finally get their chance to respond Saturday night.
In essence, that’s what makes a rivalry. Throughout the year, it’s about more than what your team is doing; it’s also about what their team is doing. You hate that other school, but whether you admit it or not, you don’t know what you would do without them. You measure every accomplishment against what your rival does, week in and week out, until once a year, the two worlds collide.
In that collision comes the one chance to have a say in a rival’s destiny, and it’s the significance of that one chance that stokes the fire. Three hundred sixty-four days is a long time to sit in the shadow of someone else’s success, especially when that shadow only resides about 100 miles away.