Almost everybody has a favorite team. Forget the “Beatles or Rolling Stones?” icebreaker. Get conversation flowing for hours with a simple “Ole Miss or State?” I use the term “conversation” loosely, of course.
An allegiance to a college football team isn’t tied to where one graduated. It starts way earlier than that. Often, in the womb. You’re an Ole Miss fan because your daddy is an Ole Miss fan. Your daddy’s an Ole Miss fan because his daddy was, and so on.
It may be blasphemy to confess that I couldn’t care less about college football (or any other kind, except “Friday Night Lights.” “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!”) However, I must admit that this wasn’t always the case. Back in third grade, I was a diehard MS State fan, if only for fashion/romantic reasons. See, there was this jacket. Lots of kids in my class had them, including the boy I liked. Who was, of course, the boy EVERYbody liked. It was a silky, maroon, letterman-style jacket with “Mississippi State” silkscreened in white on the back. I just HAD to have one. Be careful what you wish for – or what you ask your parents for.
The jacket I wound up with was a burgundy (even then I knew the difference) windbreaker with the words “Mississippi State” in white iron-on letters on the back. Or was it “Miss. State”? Oh, well. I still wore the jacket to school with all the pride I could muster. Till fourth grade came around, and I moved on to another boy – and, hopefully, more attractive outerwear.
Why is college football so popular in the South? Is it just the tailgating or what?