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Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss is called the Egg Bowl because of newspapers, not actual eggs

This rivalry game’s name has an interesting history.

Mississippi v Mississippi State Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

On Thursday night, a game that’s been played on Thanksgiving Day a total of 21 times will return to the holiday primetime slot. Ole Miss will travel to No. 14 Mississippi State in their 114th meeting and first Turkey Day battle since 2013.

The winner will receive the Golden Egg Trophy, and that’s part of the reason this whole thing is called the Egg Bowl.

The tradition of the Golden Egg as the game’s trophy started in 1927, which also marked the first game between these two on Thanksgiving.

The Golden Egg was first proposed by members of Iota Sigma, an Ole Miss honorary activities fraternity. As thoughts of last year’s game, Iota Sigma proposed that a trophy be awarded in a dignified ceremony designed to calm excited fans. One proposal that was rejected was to send the goal posts to the winning side each year.

A&M [MSU at the time] approved the suggestion of an award, and Ole Miss, two weeks before the game, officially added its approval. The trophy, to be called “The Golden Egg”, would be a regulation-size gold-plated football mounted on a pedestal. Costs of approximately $250 would be shared by both schools. Ole Miss students held a tag day to raise funds.

As for the “Egg Bowl” nickname, it wasn’t coined until 1978. Both teams were having down years and not bowl eligible, so Tom Patterson of the Clarion-Ledger used “Egg Bowl” throughout the week leading up to the game, just to try and give the game some importance.

That’s the story. The egg-shaped trophy ended up becoming the whole game’s nickname because a publisher needed to sell papers.

A whole lot of passion has been exerted over this rivalry, though, and even before the Egg came about.

The year before the trophy, after a 7-6 Ole Miss victory, the matchup ended in a brawl:

After the final pistol, the Ole Miss boys rushed to the field, warmly congratulated their warrior, and proceeded to tear down the goal. The Aggies swarmed the field, but were late to save the goals. A fistic combat ensued, but the melee was put to a stop by the more sober minded before the Aggie "chair brigade" got into serious action.

That bad blood between these two fan bases is, um very much alive, as my colleague Steven Godfrey reminded us in 2013:

But on Egg Bowl week it's still suitable to boil everything down to the rednecks vs. the country club.

Before the game, you notice how willing the participants are to play to their own stereotypes.

This is not the Iron Bowl. There are no national titles at stake. There haven't been since the early 1960s. The Egg Bowl is a potent distillation of Mississippi as compared to its neighboring Southern cultures, a stronger high and a harsher burn.

Live in Mississippi long enough with an open ear and you can learn to hate everybody. Trust me.

You're either a red-dirt, hillbilly dipshit, kin to farming families outside Tupelo (and a cheater) or a racist, fork-tongued Jackson lawyer (and a cheater). And tonight everybody's a damn cheater, a "cheeeetin son of a bitch" precisely, as it echoes through the stands.

I've often wondered out loud around Oxford and Starkville that if everybody's cheating so damn much, is anybody really cheating? The answer around Thanksgiving week is, "yeah, those sons of bitches are."

And ahead of the 2017 matchup, Mississippi State and Ole Miss urged fans not to fight each other with a joint statement: