A wish to share this with departed Dogs, Rebs

So Mississippi State is 6-0, ranked No. 1 in the nation and has beaten three Top 10 teams in succession. These are wondrous times filled with unprecedented achievements for the Bulldogs.

And yet, I can’t quit thinking about folks I wish were here to share the moment.

I would love to have heard Jack Cristil’s call at the end of the Auburn game. I wish Bob Hartley, who experienced so many dreary days in the Scott Field press box, would have been there to oversee the press box and thank the guys from Sports Illustrated and CBS for coming. Believe this: Mr. Bob would have been just as accommodating to somebody from the Winston County News or The Laurel Leader Call.

I wish I could have seen Cap’n John Buckley’s face as the final seconds ticked down. Buckley grew up in Starkville but later made his home in Hattiesburg where his restaurant was a gathering place for coaches, officials and sports media from all over south Mississippi.

I wish I could read Orley Hood’s take on the game and then discuss it with him. Orley privately cheered for all the Mississippi teams but he had a special place in his heart for the Bulldogs, his daddy’s team.

Also, I wish I could discuss recent events with Harold “Bird Dog” Grove, who was the person I always called (especially after Bob Hartley passed) when I needed to know something about Mississippi State history. Bird Dog Grove, who played for truly great State football teams, dearly loved his school but he kept it in the right perspective. He didn’t hate Ole Miss; indeed, I’m not sure Bird Dog hated anyone or anything.

I’d love to have a beer with Hal White and Michael Rubenstein at the right corner of the bar at Hal and Mal’s and get their take on all this. Indeed, there are many more departed ‘Dogs and Ole Miss Rebels I wish were here to enjoy.

I’d love to hear the legendary Wobble Davidson’s take on this undefeated, No. 3 ranked Ole Miss team. I’d like to hear the nicknames he would have for these Rebels. He called Archie Manning “Ichabod Crane.” I’m guessing he would call Robert Nkemdiche “Alphabet.” I know one thing: Coach Wobble would love the way this team plays defense.

I’d like to read Carl Walters’ account of the Ole Miss-Alabama game, and I would dearly love to discuss the Texas A&M game, into the wee hours of the morning and beyond, with Willie Morris and Dean Faulkner Wells. Deanie, William Faulkner’s niece and a fine writer and editor in her own right, always said she was a Rebel nose guard at heart. All 95 pounds of her.

Willie graduated from the University of Texas but dearly loved the Rebels. The one-sided victory over the loathsome Aggies before 110,000 Texans would have delighted him.

And I wonder what the late Tom Patterson, the guy who named the Egg Bowl, would think about all football success at Ole Miss and State. Back in 1978, Patterson, then the sports editor over both Jackson newspapers, turned the Battle for the Golden Egg into the Egg Bowl.

The irony of that fact would not be lost on Patterson. He created the Egg Bowl because Ole Miss and State, in those days, were not good enough to be invited to a bowl game. Tom wanted to put out a bowl game special section to show off the talent of his sports staff. No Mississippi teams were good enough to get to one. So he just made up one.

He wouldn’t have to do that this season. Patterson would put out the special section to end all special sections about this year’s Egg Bowl. And then the bowls beyond that.

•••

Coming soon: A coffee table book about the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Mississippi’s sports heroes. Click here.

3 thoughts on “A wish to share this with departed Dogs, Rebs”

  1. Is Bulldog John the same person as Cap’n John? I cried after the Auburn game. I, too, thought of the many State family and friends who have left us who I wish I could share this with. I thought about my Dad taking me to game after game in Jackson, rain or shine. He would have loved this!

  2. If Ole Miss and State play for the West Division title in the Egg Bowl, TomP would have had us write 300 words on every SERIES, not just each quarter. With quotes, of course!

  3. Paul, Tom might have had us do 100 words on every play. And he would have wanted “art.”

    Phil, Bulldog John was a character I modeled after Cap’n John Buckley. He was as loyal a Bulldog as there ever was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *