THE BATTLE OF CLASS VS. CRASS: A LIVE BLOG
Today's clash between LSU and Ole Miss is something far greater than a simple meeting between the best and worst teams in the SEC. Rather, it is a battle of competing ethos, a war of ideas with symbolic cosmic resonance. In one corner, dispensing couth and class with a flick of their linen-clad wrists, the gentlefolk of Mississippi. In the other, the life-loving, manners-be-damned Hell spawn of Baton Rouge. Their battleground - the vaunted Grove. Civility against savagery. Decorum against decadence.
If it was any more epic, they'd need to get Bono involved.
By noon, the influence of LSU's loose morals was already beginning to show.
10:00 am - The atmosphere at the Grove is subdued, calm before the storm. A few of the more diligent Ole Miss faithful are quietly set to tidying their tents, hanging chandeliers and candelabras and other such preparations. A few restless Louisianans, fresh off the five hour trip northward, tour the grounds with a sense of curiosity, anxious to inject the hallowed bunch of trees with their rude sensibilities. Clad mostly in the purple and gold jumpsuits, they carry all the menace of a Bayou-bred Paulie Walnuts.
10:24 - The peace is broken with the arrival of five stretch hummer limousines with Tennessee plates. The doors open slowly, and fifty-four grown men emerge, dressed as solicitors for women of the night. That's right. Tiger Pimp Nation has arrived. Score one for vulgarity.
10:52 - The Mississippians strike back quickly with the arrival of that most proper of endeavors: a fashion show. No joke. A local station is hosting a little fashion show complete with runway and models, most of whom seem to be sightly young coeds from the university.
11:35 - Another score for Ole Miss. A pair of LSU fans just got nabbed with a cooler full of lager. If they'd read their rulebook, they'd know that beer, as well as wine, is explicitly forbidden in the Grove. That's right, in a surprise move, the Ole Miss higher-ups have embraced a hard booze only policy. These young men could have felt right at home. Instead they're pouring out the contents of ninety fraternity sodas. Somewhere in Baton Rouge, an angel just lost his wings.
12:21 pm - The Tiger fans gain back some ground by heckling the Ole Miss cheerleaders with the always reliable "Tiger Bait" chant, as the young ladies walk through the Grove.
1:31 - Ole Miss takes a commanding lead, as Miss Marcia just let the Going South journalists partake in what must be the loveliest spread I've ever had the pleasure of sampling. Salmon smoked over the course of days, a ball of spiced cheese the size of my dome - simply top to bottom elegance.
The Grove faithful did their best to maintain a sense of dignity and decorum.
2:43 - LSU draws even with a great defensive stand by the team. Wait, I thought this blog was about a war of niceties. Well, every time LSU makes a defensive stand, the denizens of Baton Rouge participate in a ritual called the "Chinese Bandits." Which pretty much consists of bowing to and hailing the defensive unit to a tune named "Chinese Bandits." Dude, that is not the preferred nomenclature.
You guessed it. Impossible to say. The graciousness of Ole Miss is a perfect match for the garishness of LSU. Well, at least at the Grove it's an even match. I have a feeling that were the battle to take Death Valley, Mike VI might be dining on something a little tastier. Something called Mississippi manners.
An elegant spread.
Brief sidenote - They just ran the Al Pacino "Inches" monologue from Any Given Sunday on the jumbotron, spliced together with scenes of Ole Miss victories. Let me tell you, the man's power may have peaked with Scent of A Woman, but this stadium is going absolutely bonkers, LSU fans included. Note to self - if possiblie, hire Pacino to deliver famous speeches at son's Bar Mitzvah:
"Baird men? All I see is a bunch of Baird bums... the lot of you."