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The SEC says Mississippi State is our “rival,” but…

(Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

When the SEC expanded to twelve teams in the early 1990’s, it also split teams into two divisions: the East and the West. In an effort to preserve rivalries, the league created permanent cross-divisional opponents in football for its 12 members, and Kentucky got Mississippi State. Even though I’ve never sensed much animosity between the two schools, they face off annually in a “rivalry” that, quite honestly, feels pretty weak. The rivalry between actual cats and dogs is probably more heated. Hating on Mississippi State is like hating on that polite, chubby guy three cubicles down. Sure, he always burns the popcorn in the office microwave, but he’s always been nice to you, so why be rude?

Regardless, there’s no denying there have been some big games between the two schools over the years, and both programs would have a lot to gain with a win Saturday. In that spirit, let’s do our best to make this a rivalry…and probably fail.

The series is tied at 21-21…

Pretty even, right? That certainly would qualify this as a rivalry.

…But Mississippi State has won the last six.

Oh. The last time Kentucky beat Mississippi State was in 2008 in Starkville when Randall Cobb scored both touchdowns to give the Cats the 14-13 win over the Bulldogs. UK went on to win the Liberty Bowl that year, but ever since, Mississippi State has owned the Cats. In Mark Stoops’ first year, Kentucky actually had a shot to win in Starkville, but finished just short, and last year, the then #1-ranked Bulldogs beat the Cats by two touchdowns in Lexington. This year, they’re more evenly matched, but Mississippi State’s still an 11.5-point favorite.

Their stadium is pretty cool…

Davis Wade Stadium underwent a $75 million expansion in 2014 to increase the capacity to 61,337. The north end zone was bowled in and a new high-def video board was installed to complement the humungous video board in the south end zone, at one time the largest high-def video board in college football.

…But it’s in Starkville.

By now, you know our thoughts on Starkville. I battled a snow and ice storm to cover a basketball game there earlier this year and I’ve seen interstate exits that are more exciting. I remember tweeting as much during my trip and getting in a heated exchange with a member of Starkville’s Chamber of Commerce who kept insisting what a beautiful, wonderful town it was. I kept asking her to tell me the cool places to go and she never responded. Case in point.

All of that being said, the La Quinta Inn was a wonderful haven from the snowstorm. If I ever go back, I’m determined to find the Cotton District, which my Mississippi State friends insist is the cool part of town. Google Maps and I tried and tried and kept ending up in an apartment parking lot. Have fun with that, Nick and Trey!

Cowbells are annoying…

Mississippi State’s signature tradition is the ringing of the cowbells. Bulldogs fans started ringing them at games in the late 1930’s, and even when the SEC tried to outlaw artificial noisemakers in 1974, fans still found a way to sneak them in. In 2010, the SEC amended the rule by acknowledging the role cowbells play in Mississippi State history (eye roll), so they are once again legal in Davis Wade Stadium.

…But they are effective.

The noise the cowbells make is awful, like ten thousand buckets of silverware being dropped at once. For that reason, they’re pretty damn distracting. There have been conflicting reports on whether UK is piping cowbell noise into practice this week or not, but here’s hoping Patrick and the offense will keep their cool when CLANGA CLANGA gets going.

…They also made Lou Holtz dance like this:

And for that, we should be eternally grateful.

Their coach is a sneakerhead…

Dan Mullen may not seem like the most exciting coach in the world, but he turned heads at SEC Media Days when he rolled in wearing Yeezy 350 Boost Lows, a popular pair of kicks designed by Kanye West:


…But most of the sneakers he wears are ugly.

A week later, he wore these airbrushed Mississippi State-themed kicks:


Those are not attractive, but at least they’re better than these “Starkvegas” shoes Mullen wore last season:


The only thing worse than the nickname “Starkvegas” is putting it on a pair of shoes.

That time they beat us in 2007 really sucked…

UK was ranked 14th in the country when they hosted Mississippi State in 2007, two weeks removed from the stunning upset of #1 LSU and one week from a disappointing loss to Florida. A win over the Bulldogs would have kept UK in the hunt for the SEC East title and Andre Woodson in the Heisman conversation, but it wasn’t meant to be. Mississippi State beat the Cats 31-14.

…but UK kind of shot itself in the foot.

UK lost a season-high six turnovers, all in the second half. When you do that, it’s not as much the other team winning as you losing. Rich Brooks called it an “all systems failure.” As DeMoreo Ford (how’s that for a blast from the past!) said afterwards, “It just seemed like Mississippi State was hungrier than we were.”

Can’t fault them for that.

Dak Prescott is great…

Through seven games, the senior quarterback has thrown for 1,700 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, and he’s completing nearly 66% of his passes. Yeesh. Last weekend, he became only the third quarterback in SEC history to throw for 50 touchdowns and rush for 30. This time last year, Mississippi State was #1 and Dak was considered a Heisman candidate. As Mississippi State has fallen out of the national spotlight, so has Dak, but he’s easily the best quarterback Kentucky has faced, or will face, all season.


Actually, I can’t find anything wrong with Dak. After seeing all the sob stories about him and his late mother last season, he seems like a great kid. (His mother died of colon cancer in 2013. Click this to read more about her and Dak’s relationship. Bring tissues.)

Their bulldog is cute…

If you’ve looked at my Instagram page even once, you know I’m a huge fan of dogs, and Mississippi State’s Bully is pretty adorable. Earlier this year, they “passed the harness” from Bully XX to Bully XXI, also known as “Jak,” and there’s enough “aww” in that Google Image search to narrate a Pound Puppies commercial.

…But it’s not even the cutest bulldog in the league.

That honor goes to Georgia’s Uga IX, Russ. Like most Ugas, he looks like he’s either drunk, grumpy, or asleep most of the time, all traits that are a million times more adorable in animals than people.

The UK game is Saturday…

That’s a big deal, right? With a win, Mississippi State can clench bowl eligibility and potentially move back in to the top 25.

…But 85% of the posts on their messages boards are about Ole Miss.

Considering the same could be said about us and Louisville, we don’t have a lot of room to talk.

This UK fan thinks they’ll be tough…

…But he was talking about basketball.

He was also very drunk and peed on a building about two minutes after this was over. True story. (Love you, Helmet guy!)

So, bring it on, Bulldogs. We’re gonna beat the hell out of you!

…or lose and go back to nodding politely at you across the break room. Either way, Go Cats!

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

23 Comments for The SEC says Mississippi State is our “rival,” but…

  1. roharmon
    8:40 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

    What do you mean there is nothing to do in Starkville? What about a little place called The Pony? MSU hospitality at it’s best.

    • Matt
      1:27 pm October 23, 2015 Permalink

      The Pink Pony, I know it well..

  2. James
    8:44 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

    nice post, go Cats!

  3. katsrock
    9:00 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

    Pretty good synopsis of the rivalry except you forgot the great story of Dicky Jr guaranteeing a win, then having a career night against them in Starkvegas.

  4. huck
    9:27 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

    Where are they gonna put us. We don’t have a rival in the SEC – unless you call the fight for last place a rivalry.

    • Dude
      9:36 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

      UK is 3rd in the East… We aren’t in last place. Five places up from last, actually.

      What teams are you referring to? This is a UK site, you do realize?

    • huck
      10:20 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

      Yes, I realize this is a UK and dumb ass site. The teams I am referring to are, all of them – except Vandy. I started UK in 82 and didn’t miss but a handful of home game in the 80’s. Do you realize that you are one of those “other” than UK types and that the rivalries were set a a few seasons back? The teams I am referring to are all of them – except Vandy.

      I wonder how loud the SEC would have yelled if we were Alabama’s bitch.

    • Dude
      11:14 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

      Then why have you posted on several articles today? Who’s the dumbass now?

      Have a good day.

  5. Wikipedia Facts on Starkville MS
    11:56 pm October 22, 2015 Permalink

    Starkville Mississippi has a population of 23,888 people according to the 2010 census. I laughed as I read this because Rupp Arena can hold 23,500 people. And the town of Nicholasville Ky has a population of 28,000 people. So you get the picture how small in size this town is!

    But when school is in session at Mississippi State, the population of Starkville is higher because 20,000 college students attend school there. Go Football CATS!!

  6. troll
    8:02 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    Towles throws two more int’s, another game without a passing TD, giving him more int’s than td’s for the season. Mark it down. State wins by 17 for the second of a four game losing streak.

    • Elmer Skaggs
      8:12 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

      But that’s small potatoes compared to the ass reaming my Cards are about to endure over the next 2- years. The damage may be unrepairable. Whores, man. Whores.


    • Larry Clapp
      8:15 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

      I agree, Elmer. I just hope we don’t slip into a laughingstock irrelevancy like Indiana has over this……

    • Linda Shnitz
      8:16 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

      Karma, linebeards. 😉

  7. Memphis UK Cat
    8:06 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    T.T. great analysis. We were also at the basketball game last year and was surprised how small it was. Due to the bad storm, we did not see much.

  8. GatorCat
    8:34 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    Just feels like a respectful football game, not a rivalry. The MSU fans that travel seem to really look forward to the Lexington games, as do the other teams from the SEC West. Sat next to a very nice MSU family last year and really nice Auburn fans last week (they were amazed at the new CWS and game atmosphere). Afraid I can’t say the same for the coonhound-loving rabble that will show up next week.

  9. Matt
    8:49 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    their stadium is awful lol. When I went there as a UK manager their student section was separated from the rest of the crowd by a chain link fence. The visitor locker room is on the second floor and the players have to come down a steep ramp in metal tipped cleats (very slippery). A lot of SEC stadiums had terrible visiting locker rooms, actually I think UK has probably the best visitor set up in the conference.

  10. LOTR
    9:33 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    Is it just me, or does Georgia’s Bulldog look like the Orc Commander from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King?

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:59 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

      Now that you mention it…funny sht right there.
      Bulldog is more attractive though.

  11. Rise
    10:11 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    This will be a game where we get throttled. Our defense stands no chance against a QB who can throw and run. Mississibbi St by 20.

  12. DrSayre
    10:13 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    Even though they’re not really a rival, we have to play somebody every year from the SEC West. LSU, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State are the only 3 schools without a natural SEC East Rival and of those 3 teams, Mississippi State gives us the best chance of a win in any given year.

  13. The Rest of the story
    10:53 am October 23, 2015 Permalink

    As much as I would love to see a UK win tomorrow night, I cannot see this team with the current talent and inability to stop a running QB winning this. Mullens has an experienced staff and UK does not. Cats will have to play a mistake free game to even be close in this one. If I was a betting man I put my money on the Dogs, by 14+ easy.

    • Dude
      3:41 pm October 23, 2015 Permalink

      You should stop watching UK sports. Its apparent your fragile emotions cannot handle it like a mature human being.

  14. barney howard
    9:44 am October 25, 2015 Permalink

    yuk got whipped.