On Thanksgiving night, No. 9 Ole Miss will travel to Mississippi State to play in one of college football's most colorful rivalries, the Egg Bowl, for the 118th time. The Rebels own a 63-46-6 all-time advantage in the rivalry, but it's been especially competitive in recent decades. The teams have split their last 10 meetings, and neither side has won more than three in a row at any time since the mid-1980s.
Ole Miss is aiming for its first 10-win regular season in program history and to bolster its case for a Sugar Bowl appearance. Mississippi State can reach five SEC victories for the first time since 2014 with a win and improve its bowl outlook. Most importantly, though, are the bragging rights that will come with an Egg Bowl victory.
Neither Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, nor Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin are Magnolia State natives, and this will be their first authentic experience with the rivalry. While last season's 31-24 Ole Miss victory offered a taste, the game was played in front of a limited capacity crowd at Ole Miss. Mississippi State's Davis-Wade Stadium should be rocking this time around.
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State: Need to know
Quarterback battle: This is the best quarterback matchup in the series since 2015, when an Ole Miss team led by Chad Kelly outlasted a Mississippi State team quarterbacked by Dak Prescott 38-27. Mississippi State's Will Rogers leads the SEC with 4,113 yards passing and Matt Corral of Ole Miss is third with 3,099. During a stretch of four wins in the last five games for the Bulldogs, Rogers has thrown 21 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Corral has thrown just three interceptions all season and ranks second in the SEC among quarterbacks in yards rushing, despite playing with an ankle injury during the season's second half.
Ole Miss' run game: For as great as Corral has been, the Rebels actually rank higher nationally in yards rushing per game — tied for sixth nationally with 230.6 — than they do in yards passing per game. But Mississippi State's run defense is stout. The Bulldogs rank seventh nationally in yards rushing allowed per game at just 96.4. The Rebels rank 23rd nationally with 5.18 yards per attempt, but the Bulldogs are tied for 15th nationally by allowing just 3.33 yards per attempt. It'll be a battle in the trenches.
Sharing the love: When the Rebels were coached by Hugh Freeze and the Bulldogs led by Dan Mullen in the not-too-distant past, the animosity in the rivalry was palpable. These days, it's become love-fest. Kiffin made a bold proclamation this week by saying that "you really shouldn't hate people just because they went to a certain school." By the standards of this rivalry, that statement constitutes an aggressive move toward peacemaking. While Leach and Kiffin have been playing nice with each other publicly, many of the players grew up in the state and know better than their coaches what this rivalry means to the fanbases. Don't be surprised if some underlying animosity bubbles up, despite the posturing of the coaches.
How to watch Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State live
Date: Thursday, Nov. 25 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Davis-Wade Stadium -- Starkville, Mississippi
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State prediction, picks
Mississippi State's air-raid offense is clicking and it's stout enough defensively to slow the Ole Miss run game. Given that the game is at Mississippi State, the home team get the nod here. It should be a close game, and home field advantage will make a difference in the rivalry setting. Prediction: Mississippi State (-1)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13, and which top College Football Playoff contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,700 in profit over the past five-plus seasons -- and find out.