There are probably 10-15 better football games slated for today than Ole Miss hosting Texas, and that's a conservative estimate.
If you stripped this contest to its football meat, you'd see a former national power trying to hide its impostor status on the road while battling a SEC squad that, despite two wins, is still stumbling out of triage from the decimation of Houston Nutt management. Ole Miss was a 2-10 squad in 2011, and they're still boasting a winless streak in conference play stretching over two years. Since losing the BCS title game in 2010, Texas has devolved into a perennial joke in the national title race, but without any of the fun, folksy charm of a Virginia Tech.
Yet it's been a week of increasingly annoying coverage of this game disproportionate to its actual on-field worth, all for a bevy of non-football reasons. Longhorns in The Grove! Archie Manning tailgating with George W.! McConaughey! McConaughey! McConaughey! McConaughey! McConaughey!
Despite having attended one of these universities, I'll be the first to admit how insufferable these fan bases can be, let alone in tandem. And in the interest of safety, it’s a dangerous proposition to bring together two schools so in love with the smell of their own fan culture farts. Imagine what cross-breeding would produce: Protestant 1-percenters so inbred they’d come out of the womb with three eyes and a pair of Sperry’s.
So in the spirit of "tailgate first, (possibly) watch football later," let's break down the game outside the game which isn't a game at all but hey we get to dress up:
On-field hipster cred
Texas: Trotted out a balanced offensive attack of mystified expressions and fleeing from coverage sacks in a national title game against Alabama a whole two years before Jordan Jefferson took it mainstream.
Ole Miss: "Oh, you’ve all beaten a Bob Stoops team in a bowl game? That’s cool, but we did it in 1999… IN SHREVEPORT." Seriously, can you imagine being at that game? That must’ve been like seeing REM at the 40-Watt back in ’82.
Wanton cruelty to rival in-state ag school
Texas: Played enough legislative dirty pool inside their own conference to the point it literally drove Texas A&M to an entirely different conference.
Ole Miss: Years of pushing catchy (albeit completely unearned) marketing mantras like "We’re not snobs, we’re just better than you" literally drove Mississippi State into adopting a social programming campaign culled from Communist Russia.
Ole Miss: The sons and daughters of card-carrying GOP lawyers from the Delta tout their region as "the birthplace of rock and roll, but have never actually listened to Son House or R.L. Burnside.
Texas: The sons and daughters of card-carrying GOP energy tycoons tout Austin as the "mecca of weird," yet have never seen "El Mariachi" or "Slacker."
Coaches Corner! (What various division one coaches have told me off the record about the teams in action tonight)
Ole Miss: "I mean… it’s possible to win there. You just have to cheat so often that it gets to be a lot of work."
Texas: "Ask yourself: Do they hit like pussies because they’re all babied Texas high school superstars, or is that just a team policy?"
Texas: "I really don't understand the fuss over a school-specific cable network designed to encourage coverage bias and create a revenue stream autonomous from other conference partners."
Ole Miss: "I really don't understand why the nation, state government, conference and even our own school officials don't think that the Civil War isn't a bang-up marketing tool! It's not that like this game is played overwhelmingly by minorities..."
Ole Miss: Fans who really want a consistent winner in football, so long as they can show up five minutes into the second quarter while half of the freshman class can still cheer for Georgia, Texas or Memphis basketball when convenient.
Texas: Fans who really want another national title, just so as long as it comes from efforts of the WASP-iest quarterback-receiver tandem possible. Judging from their recruiting "strategy" of the last five years, if their pass-and-catch combo doesn’t look like a casting call for "Fox & Friends," they’re not interested.
What A Win Would Mean!
If The Rebels Win: Fans Will Say: "Look guys, this isn't a Houston Nutt football team. We're going to head into Tuscaloosa undefeated just like the Tide, and you know what, we're both in the same conference at the same level, and I really think OH MY GOD ALABAMA YOU PROMISED NOT TO DO THIS AGAIN STOP IT STOP IT PLEASE THEY AREN’T BREATHING"
If The Longhorns Win: Fans Will Say: "See, y'all? This is the commitment to change Coach Brown's been talkin' about these last few years. There ain't no reason we can't be in Miami come January and OH GOD OKLAHOMA YOU’VE BEEN INSIDE THE HOUSE THE WHOLE TIME BLOOD, THE BLOOD IS ALL OVER EVERYWHERE OH GOD"