When you think of Alabama football, there are a number of rivalries that come to mind, one of the oldest ones is no longer going to be on the yearly schedule after Saturday. It’s almost surreal to think that the 108th meeting between Alabama and Mississippi State, better known as The Battle for Highway 82, will be the last annual meeting between these two football programs. This is one of the most lopsided rivalries in SEC history, but there is no doubt this game is held in high regard by lifelong fans of both football programs.
After Saturday night Alabama vs. Mississippi State will go from an annual football game to one that will only be played every three or four years. There is so much tradition associated with this game. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have literally played every single season since 1948. The almost 80 years these teams have been lining up against each other on Saturdays in the SEC has provided some memorable times for their fans.
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Alabama Football has played Mississippi State more times than any other team and on the other side, Mississippi State has only played Ole Miss and LSU more times than they have played Alabama. I often wonder with all the tradition associated with this rivalry game, how difficult was it for the SEC schedule makers to determine that this game was no longer one that needed to be played every season.
As I’ve gotten older my appreciation of The Battle of Highway 82 has grown tremendously. Just the tradition and history that surrounds the Alabama vs. Mississippi State rivalry just means more. There are so many memories, that I have from this game from my childhood to my college days in Tuscaloosa, and of course now as an adult. I hope Saturday night in Starkville there is a pre and post-game celebration of this rivalry as we come to the end of an era. Who knows maybe not playing annually will allow for a stronger appreciation of this rivalry amongst both fan bases and the college football world in general.