Posted by Tom Fornelli
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen made sure that he wouldn't be picking up any fans at Auburn on Wednesday afternoon by comparing the poisoning of the oak trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner with the ban on cowbells at Mississippi State. Mullen made the comparison when speaking to reporters on Wednesday.
One one hand, I completely understand what Mullen is saying. When Harvey Updyke allegedly poisoned the trees at Toomer's Corner, he did so as a way to hurt Auburn and Auburn fans. Revelling in an Auburn victory at Toomer's Corner has been a tradition amongst generations of Auburn fans. The same can be said of generations of Mississippi State fans annoying the hell out of opponents with cowbells over the years. So I get what Mullen is saying when he says that people wanted to hurt an Auburn tradition.
The difference is that the trees at Toomer's Corner weren't sentenced to death by a vote amongst the SEC, as MSU's cowbells were by a 9-1 vote years ago. The cowbells are banned from use during SEC games in Starkville, though that really hasn't done anything to stop State fans from bringing them to the game and using them. The school just pays a fine every year, and everybody lives happily ever after while giving opponents a headache.
Those oak trees, however, should they die, will be gone forever. Sure, new ones can be planted, but trees don't just grow over night. If a Mississippi State fan has their cowbell taken away, they can easily buy another one. Century old trees aren't sold on the corner.