Lane Kiffin comments on Egg Bowl rivalry as Ole Miss turns its attention to Mississippi State
After a shootout win over South Carolina, Ole Miss is 3-4 and was scheduled to play Texas A&M but due to the Aggies not having enough scholarship players available to compete, the Rebels are off this weekend before taking on Mississippi State (2-4) in Oxford on Thanksgiving weekend.
This will be both Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach’s first exposure to the Egg Bowl as head coaches, and Kiffin was asked about the intensity of the rivalry during his media availability on Wednesday.
“I know there’s a lot of tradition in this rivalry, and not the friendliest of rivalries, I guess is the best way of putting it,” said Kiffin. “But they’re all big games, especially when every game is SEC, so it would be good to get back on the winning track with this game.
“It’s just awesome to win rivalry games for fans, then they got a whole year of talking about it.”
Kiffin looked back at his time in the Pac-12, and noted that this type of tension between teams is unlike any he has experienced before in his head coaching career.
“I’ve been in rivalries where they’re much more friendly,” said Kiffin. “USC and UCLA, you know, with everybody working together in L.A. and all that. This one doesn’t seem to be like that. I think it’s probably may be different than before with the head coaches.
“I don’t think either of us build upon that, you know, the hatred part of it. I don’t think that’s really our style, but at the same time for whatever reason that is what it is.”
Although Kiffin says the toxicity of the rivalry doesn’t quite fit he and Mike Leach’s style, there could be a hint of revenge on his mind because of the last time the two faced off as head coaches.
“Little known fact that the last time we played, you would think there would be a lot of points. Actually, we lost to him 10-7. I recall we threw a pick six in the game so we only scored seven, they only scored three on offense, which would probably surprise people,” stated Kiffin.
“That game didn’t help my longevity in my career at USC, I think that was two games before I got fired so that didn’t go over real well, in the coliseum losing to Washington State. So, it’s our turn to win.”
How about a little PAC-12 animosity to add a little spice to the Egg Bowl? It’s not like the rivalry needed any more gasoline on the fire, but watching Kiffin and Leach go head to head in Oxford is going to be fun next Saturday.