I do believe the biggest football game in Ole Miss history is about to take place.
The match-up between No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama may be the most-watched game in the nation Saturday. The 2:30 p.m. game will be broadcast on CBS, but for the first time ever ESPN Game Day will be broadcast live from the stage at the Grove.
Thank goodness for our big-screen television back in our tent, because to date I haven't been able to afford a ticket. My experience is that sometimes it's possible to get tickets at reasonable prices just outside the gate; and if not, I'll cheer from the Grove.
I do hope everyone will pass the word that we need to be on our best behavior. The Alabama fans are our guests and we need to treat them as such. Fans that visit the Ole Miss campus return home marveling over how gracious we all are. Let's make sure Alabama gets a warm welcome even though we hope it will be a close game.
Make no mistake, the oddsmakers expect Ole Miss to lose this game, but not by much. The line at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas currently has Alabama favored by 5½ points. As hard as it may be, if we lose we need to be gracious in defeat.
But we're playing to win, and we have one of the best chances of beating Alabama in quite a while. The Alabama team isn't quite up to snuff this year and the Rebels are the best they've been in decades. A lot will depend on effort; and luck; and on the 13th man in the stadium.
If we should win, I hope everyone will endeavor not to act like fools.
A couple of years ago Jinny and I had the pleasure of hosting an out-of-state high school student who was thinking about coming to Ole Miss. He was a great student and being recruited by the honors college. After visiting the Grove, his mind was made up. He said then he was coming to Ole Miss, and he did.
What attracted him wasn't that we won or lost the game that day. What attracted him was the graciousness and hospitality that he witnessed in the Grove. It is one of Ole Miss' greatest recruiting assets, so let's make sure we as fans don't muck it up through obnoxious winning or sore losing.