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The Nittany Lions face Ole Miss in Tad Smith, I'll be there...Again!

 

The last time I can remember Penn State coming to Oxford, MS to play Ole Miss, in any sport, was in 1986/87 for an NCAA 2nd Round match up vs the LADY rebs. I was 12 years old and along with my brother (14) and father, a PSU alum, we were excited to introduce Oxford and MISSISSIPPI to Penn State...

{of note: the lady netters have traded licks since, five times total to be exact, but only once more in the tad pad and I was out of town so it doesn't count - and this is the MEN we're talking about now!)

PSU was still a football independent at the time so the BigTen/SEC banter didn't exist yet, but the PSU/Ole Miss banter certainly did, at least among our friends, colleagues and classmates.

For years (6 to be exact) after moving us to Mississippi (he still asks why) my father took us to Ole Miss Football and Basketball games, trying to get us excited about the sports, the game-day atmosphere, the traditions..the uh wait. Yup, after about four seasons where my brother and I literally threw nerf footballs from the top to the bottom of an empty section E in Vaught-Hemingway stadium and begging to go home to listen to PSU on the Radio or catch them on the tube vs Miami, Bama, WVU or the like - he finally gave up. He finally realized Ole Miss just didn't compare - sure the stadium was cool, especially when you had an entire section to yourself, the Grove was nice but at 12 yrs old I didn't care much about sorority girls and certainly didn't care about recreations of the old south. I love a game-day hot dog and some popcorn just as much as the next kid in the 80's but the football (and basketball and baseball) well, just stunk.

...so - when we heard the Lady Lions were coming to town we were so excited, It wasn't Penn State Football but it was Penn State - and to us Ole Miss didn't hold a candle to the words "Penn State" (still doesn't in my opinion). We didn't usually go see the lady rebs who unlike the men's team were pretty good (kinda like PSU basketball back then) - but we didn't care, we talked the talk, walked the walk, dawned our PSU shirts, hats, signs and anything else navy and white I could carry. It may have been Tad-Smith, but they were gonna know Penn State was in the house! And they did...to the tune of a 80-75 Lady Rebs Win!! Man, talk about dejection. Luckily it was women's basketball and the feeling didn't linger, and I even got the Nittany Lion's autograph (yes, I still have it).

That was the last time the Lions made it to Oxford, can't say that's necessarily a bad thing, if we ever lose to Ole Miss, in anything, I'd be sick for weeks and hear about it for years, especially in men's sports and especially now that it is more about Big Ten and SEC. You see, it's not just football down here. SEC people think they rule the world in all sports. Yes, everything, they apply their stupid SEC speed gibberish to everything. It could be the sport of slow-walking and they would still say "ew k'nt kepup wit dat SEC speeeed". Man I hear it daily.

Now I haven't bought an Ole Miss ticket (except for my ex-wfie, Ole Miss alum) since I went to the 1986/87 basketball match. Not a single one,  not for any sport. But I bought four for Friday night -- and I'll be there with father, brother and now nephew and we'll be wearing PSU shirts, hats, signs and anything else navy and white we can carry.

I know its PSU basketball and this is the SEC but damn it - this is Penn State, and the words "Ole Miss" just don't compare.

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