Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen looks at the playbook during a 45-14 win against Arkansas. (Photo by Kim Murrell,SDN)
The Egg Bowl is very important to the fans from Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
It all comes down to bragging rights and being able to hold your head up high when you see a fan from the opposing team.
For recruits, MSU football coach Dan Mullen doesn't think the game sways their decision one way or the other.
"If this game had everything to do with recruiting, then I guess we would have gotten every kid the last three years, and I guess they would have gotten every kid the year I got here," Mullen said during his Monday press conference.
Many recruits have certain things they look at when making a decision about where to play college football.
Mullen has seen that on the recruiting trail.
"A lot of kids, when you look recruiting-wise, know what they're looking for in a school," Mullen said. "Knowing what the values are of the football program, how they want to be developed, how the program runs, what the community and the town is like and whether that fits who they are, so I don't know that the outcome of this game always determines that."
For the recruits that have already committed to Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the game does matter for bragging rights.
"It's fun bragging rights, you know what I mean?" Mullen said. "The kids that really want to come to Mississippi State and the kids that really want to go to the school up north, a lot of those guys play in different all-star games. It certainly gives them bragging rights that maybe is heard by the guy that is in between both of them when all those high school kids get together."
The 25th-ranked Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3) by the Associated Press travel to Oxford Saturday to take on the Rebels (5-6, 2-5) at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.
Mullen has no advice
for Ole Miss' Freeze
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze is in a similar situation as Mullen was when he took over the Bulldog football program in 2009.
Mullen took over a Mississippi State program that was coming off of a bad season. Freeze took over an Ole Miss squad that didn't finish too hot last year.
Mullen remembers his first Egg Bowl and the bad week of practice the Bulldogs had.
He also has no advice for Freeze.
"I hope they have as bad a week of practice as we did going into my first Egg Bowl," Mullen said. "When I left on Thursday, (I was) thinking we're going to lose by about 50 while going home for Thanksgiving dinner. We just didn't have a very good practice on Thursday going into the game."
Mullen knew how important this rivalry was when he took the job. He knows Freeze is aware of how big this game is for the state of Mississippi.
"I'm sure a lot of people made him understand how important the rivalry is," Mullen said. "That's what it is like at a lot of schools. That's what makes college football a little different. You have some great rivalry games in college football. This is obviously one of the best in the country."
Mississippi State junior quarterback won Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 45-14 win over Arkansas on Saturday.
Russell was 19-of-32 passing for 274 yards and four touchdowns. He did not throw an interception.
This is the second time Russell has earned the honor. He was selected for the award after a 28-10 win over Auburn in week two.
Banks a semifinalists
for Jim Thorpe Award
MSU senior cornerback and former East Webster High School player Johnthan Banks was one of three semifinalists announced on Monday for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the top defensive back in the country.
Banks has four interceptions for the year. He has broken up six passes, has a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and has 56 tackles for the season.
The other two semifinalists are Alabama's Dee Milliner and Fresno State's Phillip Thomas.
The winner will be announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6. It can be seen on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.
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