Sunday, September 25, 2022

Anderson: Ready To Get Epic? Rebels Host Tide, Rock the Vaught

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The football game Saturday with the Crimson Tide is going to be epic.

Saturday, October 4 sets up to be epic – in Oxford, the Grove and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
No. 1 Alabama. No. 11 Ole Miss. Off to a program-best start since 1970 (4-0). ESPN College GameDay live from the Grove. An SEC West, Top 11 clash airing nationally on CBS at 2:30 p.m. CST.
This one has all the makings for something we won’t soon forget.
Since 1893, when the Rebels fielded their first team, there have been plenty of “big” games in Oxford.
While the Vaught has played host to many, highlighted by Maryland in 1952, LSU in 2003 and Texas in 2012, all that’s to come with a Saturday afternoon date with the Tide may well end up the greatest.
A 15-year Rebel fan, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the absolute electric atmosphere that stirred around the 2003 LSU game. With an estimated 100,000+ soaking up the Grove experience ahead of a clash of titans battling for a trip to Atlanta, Eli and Co. made their way down the Walk of Champions before a crowd some 25-30 deep as far as the eye could see. The pride, passion and youthful exuberance of Ole Miss fans from two to probably too-old to be out there was immeasurable.
It was literally one of those “you had to be there” moments. The kind of moment that doesn’t come along very often. The kind of moment that college football fans yearn to experience, if only once.
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The Vaught will be rocking for this nationally televised game.

Well, with the Saturday ahead, Rebel Nation is in for something special. Bank on that, my friends. Thanks to a guy named Hugh and an amazing supporting cast, Ole Miss will be front and center of the college football universe when ESPN College Game Day hits the air early Saturday morning. After that famous intro medley wraps, The Grove, Ole Miss and everyone wearing red and blue takes center stage.
Just close your eyes for a moment.
It’s early Saturday morning and there’s the Game Day crew perched atop the Grove Stage to a backdrop of utter tailgating heaven. The scene of thousands of passionate Rebel fans in their finest Grove attire, a plethora of creative, Ole Miss signs, hundreds of tents scattered beneath those stately and majestic Grove trees and Hotty Toddy chanted on a near continual basis. This is Ole Miss. This is The Grove.
That’s the scene folks from Alabama to Alaska will see when they wake up and flip to ESPN. And it’ll be something they’ve never quite seen before. At least those that haven’t yet visited the tailgating mecca.
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Kickoff is only two days away.

All the while asking themselves, “Why hasn’t Game Day been there before?” And a good question it is. For the next two hours, from 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m., college football fandom across that 10-acre grassy plot former Chancellor Robert B. Fulton once preserved and grew will be the backdrop on television sets in millions of living rooms across the nation. That’s right. The nation will be introduced to Rebel Nation.
We’ve long yearned for Chris, Kirk, Lee, Dez and Sam to join us in our Saturday sanctuary, and they’ve finally heeded the advice. So this is our collective chance, Ole Miss alumni, students, faculty, staff and fans, to show the world why Ole Miss is the greatest college in all the land, why The Grove is a timeless treasure to all that pass through and why those unfamiliar with Ole Miss and The Grove will want to plan a trip to God’s Country.
So when that red light turns on and the Game Day crew says, “Welcome to The Grove” to everyone at home, it’s imperative to exude that same family, friendly and personal touch that brought so many of us to Ole Miss in the first place. Remember that each and every one of us out there and each of every one of us wearing the red and blue are “Ole Miss.” With that being said, let’s show the world why we take such pride in being Ole Miss. And when Corso finally puts on that elephant head we all know he will, let’s bust out one of the loudest, most passionate Hotty Toddy that’s ever echoed throughout The Grove.
Then as morning quickly becomes afternoon, time will come for the coaches and players to take that memorable stroll through tens of thousands of passionate fans, en route to the Vaught. Whether you’ve experienced the Walk of Champions one hundred times or never before, make sure and claim a spot on Saturday to show support for what our Rebels are about to embark upon. Soak up final minutes of pre-game in the Grove, and make sure you’re “in” the stands by 1:00pm. The atmosphere inside Vaught-Hemingway for LSU (2003) and Texas (2012) was absolutely indescribable, due in large part to the deafening roars of a full house of Rebel fans before kickoff even took place. We’re expecting coaches and players to leave it all on the field against the Tide, so we have to come through on our end of the deal, too. That means be there early, be loud and stay loud. We’re in this thing together. We’re the Ole Miss Family.
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Can the rebel defense stop the young Tide Quarterback?

Looking ahead to the game, as well as Alabama QB Blake Sims has performed this season, he hasn’t faced anything closely similar to what he’ll encounter in the Ole Miss D. Throw in a relentless and thunderous crowd for four quarters and that’s a recipe for confusion. Give that added shot of adrenalin to one of the single greatest Ole Miss defenses of all-time, and I like our chances.
In the end, Rebel Nation, simply enjoy what’s in store for Saturday. A day like this only comes around every once in a while, so take in every minute of it. Take pride in showing off all that we love about this special place and let’s just see what Freeze and friends can cook up come late Saturday afternoon.
Behind a team that’s going to leave it all on the field and a raucous crowd that’s going to be relentless for four quarters, post-game in the Grove might just surpass the pre-game electricity. In the words of Chucky, “It’s Time,” my Rebel friends.
Seph Anderson is a HottyToddy.com contributor. To contact Seph about this story, email him at seph@olemiss.edu

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