According to CBS’ Dennis Dodd, that’s how Ole Miss fans are approaching today’s game against Alabama:
“One of our biggest donors stuck his head in,” Freeze recalled, “[Saying], ‘Biggest game in my lifetime.'”
Here’s a little more of the Ole Miss perspective:
They can talk all they want in this state about Archie and Eli and John Vaught and StarkVegas and Egg Bowls past. This is, arguably, the most significant week in this state’s glorious football history.
“I think it’s probably the biggest,” said Rick Cleveland, 49 years a sportswriter in the state, now executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
They say Eli Manning’s last home game here against LSU in 2003 was a big deal. The Rebels and Bulldogs haven’t been ranked at the same time in 15 years. They haven’t been ranked together this high since 1958. The legendary Vaught had a fine run at Ole Miss from 1947-70. The schools battled for the SEC title in 1941.
For Alabama, it’s, uh…not.
As a Tide fan, I can definitely lose perspective about these sort of games since Alabama regularly plays in high-profile, high-stakes-type match-ups. Bama has won championships and competed for national titles in every decade of my life. For a guy that’s on the back side of 40, that’s saying something. And from that perspective, it’s hard to really fathom what Mississippi fans must be feeling. We may have gone through rough patches, but there was usually some sort of bright, shining light somewhere in the middle of the rough patch, even if it lasted only briefly.
For Ole Miss, that hasn’t been the case since since the early 1960s. Yeah, well, except for the brief periods Mannings have been on campus and even then no championships were won.
As far as the game goes, I am a bit concerned. Ole Miss has a good team and they are plenty capable of pulling off an upset. When Alabama loses, the common denominator is often a quarterback that plays out of his mind for four complete quarters. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that this could happen to Bo Wallace. The Rebel Black Bear defense is also sort of salty and I am a bit concerned about Blake Sims’ shoulder. If he’s off, even just a tad, that could spell trouble for us.
Ole Miss will play with a ton of emotion to start the game, but we’ve seen that before. Ultimately, for Alabama, it won’t be about the other team. The game will come down to how Alabama plays.