Somebody had to break defending national college football champion Louisiana State University’s winning streak. I can’t think of a better team to have done that than my Mississippi State University Bulldogs. Saturday we were the better team and the Bulldogs toppled the Tigers.
We wouldn’t likely have driven to Baton Rouge for the match up in a regular year, much less this pandemic year. More than likely we would have been at the same place we were — in front of the television set cheering on our Dawgs. Still, though, it was different.
It was almost unreal to see the LSU stadium with what looked like from our angle less than 25 percent capacity. It didn’t look like there were any drunk hecklers at all. Had there been, it would be my guess that they would’ve lost their voices after the record breaking performance of Bulldog quarterback K.J. Costello. Costello broke the MSU and SEC single game passing records on Saturday with 623 yards.
Again, that was against the reining national champions. Granted they did lose 14 players from last year’s squad, or something like that. A win, though, is a win and this one was big for us.
As a matter of fact we leaped from unranked to number 14 in the coaches poll and 16th in the AP Top 25 after knocking off the Tigers 44-34. Long time Bulldog followers — like us — know to savor in the victory while we can because next week the tables may quickly turn.
Oddly enough, we had already decided in January — before there was a pandemic — to opt out on our season ticket package this year and dedicate our time strictly to the tailgate side of things. We had been buying season tickets since my daughter was a senior in high school and was making her plans to attend her parents’ alma mater.
Naturally through the six years she was a student there, earning dual bachelor’s and her masters degree, we continued to support the program in person and after she graduated in 2017 we had made so many close friends in our extended tailgate family we couldn’t imagine a fall not on campus. Well I couldn’t, wife Danny, sometimes had her doubts.
It was a bit more difficult trek to and from Starkville on game days once we gave up the lease on my daughter’s apartment. No more could we do tailgate prep there and beat the often early morning road closures that come with having one of the best tailgate spots on campus. That good fortune comes with being a part of a group headed by some good folks who work on campus.
Honestly it takes a little bit of the wind out of the sails when you have to get up at 5:00 a.m., finish up — or begin on — some of the cooking for the day’s gathering, fill the ice chest, pack the car, and hit the road only to get caught in terrible traffic and suffer through some of the hottest football games in Davis Wade Stadium anyone could ever imagine. It would have all be worth it, though, to have been at a game like this past Saturday’s.
Now that all of the fun has been taken away from us. Now that we are told we can’t go to ballgames and that there will be no tailgating on campus, it seems the coin has been flipped.
Now it seems like it wasn’t nearly as inconvenient as it seemed in the hot months of 2019. Now I want it all back. I want to be sitting on that hill, or standing by that grill, or hobnobbing with my buddies while munching on a chicken wing or something like that.
Seems to me, an old saying many of us have become so accustomed to over the decades, “just wait ‘till next year,” has taken on a whole new meaning. Just wait ‘till next year...that applies to a whole lot of different things these days, but, it especially applies to tailgating.
Ya’ll just wait!