A win on Thanksgiving would mark Mississippi State's third 9-win season in the last 4 years. Now we all know this last regular season game tends to have a lot more tied to it. Head coach Dan Mullen denies that his players view the Egg Bowl as "just another game" and he's more than ok with that mentality.
"It's not another game," Mullen said. "Rivalry games are just not. So it's an important game for everybody. I don't even have to bring it up. They know. We treat everything a little differently. It's one of the fun parts of the game being on Thursday, is that it makes it unique in its own way. There's a lot of unique things about this game, and I think everybody in our program embraces it."
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald added "if you're doing terrible in a season, if you're having a bad season, you win the Egg Bowl, to some people that's a win. If you're doing really well and you lose the Egg Bowl, some people think the whole season is a loss. There's animosity, there's nastiness. It's a big rivalry, it's a big game. In the end, it's a SEC game we've gotta win."
#16 Mississippi State enters this game in a more comfortable position than a year ago. A win at this time last season equaled a bowl game. But now that the Bulldogs are already bowl eligible, the outlook is slightly different.
"We've changed a little bit of the image profile, whatever the right word is, we've just changed the program, with the expectation of being a top 15, top 20 team every single year," Mullen said. "Still the biggest game of the year, I don't want to downplay it. But I think we've elevated the level of our program with a little more national prominence, that's it not all about one game now. We're trying to compete for championships."
The Bulldogs open as a 17 point favorite over the Rebels, but keep in mind that the favored team of the Egg Bowl hasn't won since 2013.
#16 Mississippi State hosts Ole Miss Thursday night at 6:30pm. The Egg Bowl will be televised on ESPN.
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