When most Americans think of Thanksgiving, they conjure up thoughts of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. Sports fans immediately think of the NFL games that have traditionally been played on Turkey Day.
College football fans had also enjoyed a Turkey Day tradition in recent years, as the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies had met on Thanksgiving night. However, with the Aggies departing for the Southeastern Conference in 2012, the Longhorns-Aggies rivalry was replaced on Thanksgiving by a game between Texas and the TCU Horned Frogs.
While that particular game might be a big deal in the state of Texas, and even in the Big 12, it did not draw the same audience that a Texas-Texas A&M showdown would.
That could be one of the reasons that, on Wednesday, ESPN announced that the 2013 Egg Bowl game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will be played on Thanksgiving night.
The primetime, national network exposure for two teams from the Magnolia State is immeasurable. Especially on Thanksgiving night, when most Americans are winding down from a big day and looking for a little relaxation to finish the holiday evening. These two programs are always looking for their own piece of the exposure, having to compete against the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers, among others.
The other trend here could be that both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are programs on the rise. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze led the Rebels to a 7-6 record in his first year in Oxford last season. Mississippi State head man Dan Mullen has guided the Bulldogs through four successful seasons, and is hoping his team can take the next step up the ladder in the SEC West.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State have met on Thanksgiving Day before. In fact, the Egg Bowl has been played on Turkey Day 20 times overall, most recently between 1998 and 2003.
While many fans outside of the SEC may not be aware of these two programs, if they will kick back and watch the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, they will see what they’ve been missing.