Ole Miss was the favorite in this year’s Egg Bowl. It would not be their favorite day, however. Apparently, becoming bowl eligible wasn’t enough for the Rebels, but ruining their chances was everything for their rival.
Every team is a champion on opening day. Stadiums fill because anything is possible and optimism soars. Arkansas fans have been anxious for a breakthrough. Early stumbles have sullied recent hopeful seasons, and so few were looking past Louisiana Tech. Tailgating crowded the circumference of Razorback Stadium, eager for a fresh slate of games ahead, but from the first “Woo Pig Sooie,” it was evident that the Razorbacks would be in a fight in Fayetteville. Bret Bielema has brought a bullish brand of ball to Arkansas, and have successfully taken a bite out of the SEC. But, championships appear elusive at the moment, particularly when it’s a struggle to strike down LA Tech with ease.
What’s the good word? Yell this around Georgia Tech and you are likely to hear in response, “To HELL with georgia!” This phrase is as common as “Hello” around campus. It wouldn’t even matter if the Yellow Jackets were playing the Bulldogs – damning Georgia is a full time job. This is one of the more underrated rivalries across the country. It’s a classic “nerds against jocks” battle. Lately the Georgia Jocks have owned this matchup, but both teams came in today at equal strength with identical records. Georgia would have to deal without their superstar, QB Aaron Murray. He was replaced by the very capable Hutson Mason, but RB Todd Gurley would have to carry a larger load.
Despite a couple hiccups, Fresno State fans have had much to cheer for in recent years and have come to expect victory at Bulldog Stadium – especially against teams that can’t run, pass, defend the run, defend the pass, kick, block, punt, or return kicks – namely Hawai’i. The Bulldogs were a lock to win as soon as they took the field coming out of a big inflatable likeness of their mascot. Fresno State fans comfortably settled themselves in ready to witness the carnage that would force Hawaii fans to question whether or not the frequent flyer miles are worth it.
Fresno State should have no concerns entering this big matchup. The Bulldogs have been to enough high-intensity college football stadiums to start their own college football tour. Camp Randall Stadium? They are not anxious about this stadium that is considered to be one of the most daunting in the country.
The gray, drizzly skies over Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky never gave way to raining cats and dogs, although there were plenty on the field to be had. The Wildcats and Bulldogs had plenty to fight about on Kentucky’s homecoming Saturday. One week removed from College Gameday’s first ever appearance to Lexington, Kentucky, and two weeks from being vaulted into the national spotlight with a thrilling victory over then #1 LSU, the Wildcats were in for a let down. Mississippi State, a program on the rise, was ready to take advantage. The game turned out to be an intense matchup, but the experiencing southern football and the fans that come with it was the real treat.
Appalachian State has sparked belief in the creampuffs of the nation that they have the power to upend any juggernaut on the top 25 slate. The Division I-AA Mountaineers shocked the #5 Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor two weeks ago leaving fans to believe that anything is possible. The Citadel, hailing from the same conference as Appalachian State, harbored similar aspirations entering Madison this past weekend. The #7 Wisconsin Badgers didn?t see the Bulldogs? bite coming. A 21-21 tie at halftime had the Camp Randall crowd booing the teams off the field.
August kickoffs are becoming a standard in Madison. Two years ago, the Badgers experienced their first Thursday night game with a win over Western Michigan on August 31. Last year, Wisconsin participated in the Eddie Robinson Classic and defeated Virginia on August 25. This year, Badger fans cram Camp Randall to witness the earliest kickoff in school history in the John Thompson Foundation Classic.
September has barely been dented and the Bulldogs are being called a fairy tale story. With two impressive victories in their pockets over Colorado in Boulder and against defending Pac Ten co-champ Oregon State, they seemed to fit into Cinderella’s gown rather well. Fresno State head coach Pat Hill has glued the motto, “anyone, any time, any place” to his squad. Led by touted quarterback David Carr, the Bulldogs were aiming at carving another notch in their resume of monumental upsets. Badger fans were warned of Fresno State’s power, but a west coast team from a mid-major conference posed little threat to the Camp Randall crazies gathering in Madison.