In 2014 Ole Miss and Mississippi State were ranked among the nation's top teams. Two years later, instead of having a tidal wave of success, the Bulldogs and Rebels have barely made a splash on the football field.
That doesn't mean fans won't witness plenty of fireworks come 2:30 Saturday afternoon in Oxford... in the annual Egg Bowl Game.
The 4 and 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs weren't projected to be a contender in the SEC West, after Dak Prescott left for the pro ranks. However, sophomore quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has excelled, but he couldn't do it alone. It's team game.
The main reason for the Bulldogs 2 and 5 SEC record...defense, or lack of. Mississippi State ranks 105 out of 128 FBS schools in defensive statistics, giving up 455 yards per game.
The 5 and 6 Ole Miss Rebels were expected to vie for the SEC West title, thanks to the presence of senior quarterback Chad Kelly. He too, couldn't do all by himself and the Rebels defensive collapse has resulted in a lack-luster season. Out of the 128 FBS schools, Ole Miss ranks just above the Bulldogs giving up 451 yards per game.
The Rebels do have something to play for besides pride.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said, "It's a game that means an extra-ordinary amount to this university and to our fan base and to theirs. We've obviously had a lot of adversity throughout the course of this year. To prepare to try to get a 6th win and gain bowl eligibility against your rival in-state, these games are always quite interesting."
MSU head coach Dan Mullen said, "To finish the season on a win is so important. These young men that have put so much into the program, for their last experience to walk off the field with a win is a pretty special memory."
Ole Miss wants to become bowl eligible and Mississippi State wants to throw a wrench into the Rebels post-season plans. It adds up to what should be an exciting Egg Bowl game.
In four Egg Bowl games, Ole Miss coach Freeze has posted 3 wins and 1 loss. Mullen is 1 and 3 against Freeze and his Bulldogs have lost the last two games to their arch-rivals.