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The boiling point in the SEC

7/12/2010

There might be hard-boiled eggs at the 2010 Egg Bowl. Blood will be boiling on both sidelines when Mississippi State travels to Ole Miss for the regular-season finale on Nov. 27, which figures to be the hottest SEC rivalry this coming season.

How important is the annual Egg Bowl to rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss?

Well, the Rebels waited only one day to fire former coach Ed Orgeron -- after Ole Miss brass declared he would return the next season -- after his team lost to Mississippi State 17-14 in 2007. The Rebels blew a 14-0 lead in the fourth quarter, after Orgeron gambled on fourth-down from midfield and failed.

A year later, the Bulldogs fired former coach Sly Croom a few days after his team was embarrassed 45-0 by the Rebels in 2008, the third-worst rout in the 106-year history of the in-state rivalry.

Last season, new Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen didn't wait long to throw gasoline on the Egg Bowl fire by repeatedly referring to Ole Miss as "that school up north." Then the Bulldogs wrecked the Rebels' chances of playing in a New Year's Day bowl game with a 41-27 upset in Starkville in the 2009 regular-season finale.

After leading the Bulldogs to their third win over Ole Miss in five seasons, Mullen proclaimed "this program is on the rise, maybe to the contrary of what some others are saying around the state."

Perhaps adding salt to the Rebels' wounds, MSU officials included the score of the '09 Egg Bowl in its "official" attendance of 34,127 fans at their April 17 spring game at Scott Field.

The teams play again at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford on Nov. 27.