Welcome to this week’s installment of the Game of the Week Game Day Guide which features an SEC matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the #21 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs to be played at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. This is the sixth edition of the Game of the Week Game Day Guide and will continue each week of the 2010 football season.
We return to the Southeastern Conference this week and visit Starkville, Miss., as the Kentucky Wildcats come to town to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday at 6 p.m. The Bulldog football team is on the rise with a five game winning streak and Kentucky is looking for a victory to challenge South Carolina and Georgia for lead of the SEC East. With clear skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies, game day in Starkville should be an exciting event for all in attendance.
Mississippi State pre-game activities are most associated with the Junction, a large tailgating area rooted in the history and development of Mississippi State University. The University was developed in proximity to the Mobile and Ohio rail line that students across the state utilized to attend school. Original rail lines are embedded in the area know as the Junction, preserving a part of State’s history. On game days, the Junction is the main tailgating spot on campus with tents set up in every direction. The Junction opens on the Friday prior to home games at 5 p.m. and the opening is signaled by the playing of the Mississippi State fight song, “Hail State.” The Junction closes at midnight each day.
Prominently featured on the south and east entrances of the Junction are bronze statues, built to scale, of Bully, State’s English Bulldog mascot. Each week, fans can find State’s mascot on the sidelines of each football game. The Junction tailgating festivities center around the Dawg Walk, marking the football teams arrival to the game. The Dawg Walk is led by Mississippi State’s Maroon Band and fans cheer on the Bulldog football coaches and players as they enter the stadium and prepare to “fight for that victory today.”
The one item as ubiquitous as the color maroon at a State football game is a cowbell. Mississippi State proudly rings cowbells to show school spirit. They have sparked a great debate in the college football community about whether the ringing of cowbells should be allowed during the game. The oppositions suggest that it gives Mississippi State an unfair advantage at home football games. The policy currently in place allows State fans to ring when State scores, at quarter breaks, during timeouts, pregame, and halftime. Penalty for ringing at inappropriate times, like when the visiting team has possession, consists of fines from the Southeastern Conference. State fans often decorate and personalize their cowbells to show spirit for the Bulldogs.
Gates open at Davis Wade Stadium at 4 p.m. CST on Saturday. The Dawg Walk, which goes through the Junction, will begin at 3:45 p.m. From 3:30-5:30 p.m., the Cellular South Bulldog FanFair will take place in the west lawn across from the Junction and will consist of autograph sessions with student-athletes and inflatable games for children. The final pre-game event occurs at 4:45 in the Junction as the Maroon Band makes their Parade to the Stadium. Fans are encouraged to ring their cowbells at the Junction as the band performs their traditional march. This should be another exciting football Saturday in October. Bulldog fans, as well as visitors, can expect a fun-filled day in Starkville.