In what classifies as the least surprising story ever (just inching out David Cutcliffe being terrible at Duke), it turns out the Great Cowbell Compromise of 2010 isn't going as planned. If you recall, Mississippi State and the SEC struck a deal that allowed State fans to bring cowbells into their home stadium, provided they ring them at the appropriate times (before and after games, halftime - GO BAND! - during timeouts and after scores). If, meaning when, those rules were violated, the SEC would begin fining State based on the number of violations. The fines would start at $5,000 and go up as high as $50,000 for repeated violations of the rule.
When I read about the agreement last spring, I assumed that State was perfectly okay with making a $200,000+ donation to the SEC (I would say charity of the SEC's choice, but we know those bastards aren't giving away that kind of money; RUNNING SHIT IS EXPENSIVE). Yesterday, the SEC finally announced that those fines were indeed coming at the end of the year for repeated violations and that the policy itself was in danger of being scrapped.
What no one will say is that the policy is going to get scrapped because State is now fielding a competitive football team. If they finished this season at 4-8, no one would care about the cowbells. But now that they're a competent team and putting people in the stands, the noise is an issue to opposing teams and coaches, and God forbid one of the smaller schools has even the slightest of advantages. Personally, I hate the cowbells and find nothing but delight in the fines and eventual banishment that really won't be a banishment just like the "banishment" that happened some years ago wasn't really a banishment (BANISHMENT BANISHMENT BANISHMENT....just wanted to break the record for the use of that word in a post of less than 1,000 words). But, being a fan of a smaller school in the conference, I do find it irritating when the bigger schools throw their weight around and get what they want (of course, in this case EVERYONE hates the cowbells). I suppose they've earned it, considering the cash money they've helped bring in to schools like Ole Miss and State, but that doesn't lessen the irritation.
So, being a man of the people (please, keep your hands off me), I'm here to offer a few suggestions as to what else State fans could ring or wave without having to pay for the repairs to the east wing of Mike Slive's villa on the Mediterranean (and you know he has one).
1. The portable bleachers in the north end zone
Even though they've been there since 2000 or 2001, if they're portable, they can move. Sure the students would have to cram closer together as seating capacity shrank, but detached metal bleachers waving in the air would strike me as terrifying. Just who are these people who choose to rip their seats up rather than sit in them?
They make lots of it so why not make a little more. Plus, if people started throwing it on the field, and they most certainly would, injuries to players and coaches would not be a concern. Unless someone threw a whole wheel off the upper deck, which, again, they most certainly would. This is a questionable idea at best.
3. Copies of the preliminary letter of investigation former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat created, wrote and delivered to the NCAA to bring down Jackie Wayne Sherrill
YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE!
4. The balls of the bull Jackie Wayne had castrated before State played Texas in the early '90s
The only problem here is that there's only one pair (I know they've been kept in a jar somewhere in the State football offices...don't lie, Scott Striklin!), which makes sharing difficult. But being an agricultural school, shouldn't they know how to clone stuff like that now?
5. The golf cart used by Sylvester Croom to move eight yards at a time at football practices
Granted, this one cannot be waved or rung. But it can lead the football team out on the field at four and a half miles an hour. Attach a flag to it and it would be less embarrassing than when Ole Miss thought it was a great idea to lead the team out with a chopper bike.
6. Woody McCorvey
Mainly because I'm sure they would like to wave him around and throw him off the top of the stadium for the offensive crapfest he so prominently displayed during his time in Starkville.
7. Years of inferiority complex due to the whole sons of the gentry and people of the land thing
According to someone who knows history (I can't remember their name, nor will I look for it), originally Ole Miss was to be the only school in Mississippi. When the time came for the need of an agricultural college, it was set up at Ole Miss. However, none of the people of the land wanted to go to school with the sons of the gentry, so a separate school was created to prevent any mixing of classes and the fighting that would surely ensue (let it never be said Mississippi didn't know how to segregate). And because the class system at that time was so divided, they cost the rest of us a national football powerhouse that could compete for national championships on a yearly basis. SCREW YOU, 19TH CENTURY MISSISSIPPI.
8. Their strength coach
One thing all the schools in the SEC like to claim is OUR STRENGTH COACH IS SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN ANYONE ELSE'S. Nevermind that all these guys share information and ideas with one another or that a workout that involves flipping over tractor tires can be matched by doing something else just as physically miserable, fans love, love, love to talk about how great Coach NoNeckandVeinBulge is. Changing bodies, reducing baby fat and making everyone tougher. It's all the same. However, few teams have turned their strength coach into a mascot of sorts and by jumping on this idea early, State could be one of the pioneers of ultimate strength coach worship.
9. Pictures of Cam Newton ringing a cowbell after the 2009 Egg Bowl
Oh, what could have been. Of course, they'd have less money to pay the cowbell fines, but they'd also be 8-0.