/It’s Mississippi vs Alabama (twice) Saturday; history tells us to batten down the hatches

It’s Mississippi vs Alabama (twice) Saturday; history tells us to batten down the hatches

Mississippi State takes on No. Saturday’s game at No. 7 Auburn will begin at 6 p.m. on ESPN. These two teams have met 92 times in the past. Auburn has won 63 of these games. State has won 27. There were two ties. If you think that’s unfair, Ole Miss will play at Alabama on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The Crimson Tide and Rebels have met 66 times. Bama won 54 games, Ole Miss won 10 and there were two tie. The past results are not good for the Rebels and Bulldogs. The oddsmakers are not so sure. State is a 10-point favorite over Auburn. Alabama is a 38-point favorite over Ole Miss. For five decades, I’ve been closely following Mississippi football. I don’t recall Ole Miss ever being such a huge underdog. Southern Miss was not a 37-point underdog, as I don’t recall it. Bama had 49-7 victory, despite having more weapons than the U.S. army. These two series have had disastrous outcomes for Ole Miss and State when played in Alabama. Ole Miss has a record of 2-27 in Alabama games. Auburn is 7-29. Perhaps that’s why there are huge celebrations when Mississippi wins these games. 2014 is the most memorable example. 2014 was the best example. Ole Miss defeated top-ranked Alabama 23-17. They then fought back in the fourth quarter. The Oxford Square was flooded with spectators as the goalposts were brought down. 2014 was also the year No. 6 State, behind Dak Preston, dominated No. 2 Auburn 38-23 in a game that propelled them to No. Number 1 in the country. You might still hear the cowbells ringing all night if you were there. State has had greater success against Auburn in recent weeks. The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers at Scott Field 23-9 fifty-one weeks back. Gus Malzahn, Auburn coach, stated earlier this week that “they just lined up and whip us.” “… They embarrassed us.” This isn’t an exaggeration. Auburn was out-rushed by State 349 to 90. The 2018 Auburn team is far more superior to this Auburn team on both sides of a ball. It is important to note that the 2018 Auburn team went 3-1, losing only by one point to LSU until the Bulldogs exposed it. Auburn was 8-5. Let’s go back to the history of each series. You might be wondering why Auburn and Mississippi State have played each other so much more than Ole Miss or Alabama. This is at least partially because it’s how John Vaught (SEC legend) and Bear Bryant (SEC legend) wanted it. Vaught and Bryant were close friends who had an agreement not to play each other for most of their tenures. It was an intelligent move by both. They were not required to play back then by the SEC. Why play against each other and risk defeat when they had so many easy marks? From 1944 to 1965, Ole Miss and Alabama didn’t play – and the Sugar Bowl was where they finally played. (Bama won 12-7 without scoring a touchdown. The SEC now demands that all league teams play every division team. This means Ole Miss must play Alabama every year and State must face Auburn every year. It also means that Mississippi fans long for more years like 2014, when lightning struck twice in one season.