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An Egg Bowl Guide to the Mississippi State Flag Finalists

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A good flag should evoke the mix of hate, joy, and fatalism that is Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State.

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports. Banner Society Illustration.

The state commission responsible for recommending a new Mississippi State Flag, after reviewing nearly 3,000 submissions, has narrowed it down to five choices. We at Banner Society have already endorsed the idea of changing state flags on a regular basis. Today, we’d like to extend our skills in vexillology by offering an analysis of those five choices.

Naturally, we will be using the only metric that matters: how well does each design reflect the recurring nightmare that is Having a Stake in the Outcome of the Egg Bowl?

FIFTH PLACE

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

The blue’s a little too calm to properly evoke Egg Bowl anguish, and the tree suggests growth, which is definitely not what watching the Egg Bowl is about. This flag feels better suited for the Ole Miss English major who’s not even watching the game because they’re too busy working on their short novel, which they insist is not in any way autobiographical even though it lifts entire characters and scenes from the author’s childhood with only the thinnest coat of paint over them. Writing: it’s cheaper than therapy!

FOURTH PLACE

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

The single magnolia’s much lonelier, which gets you points in this competition, and the circle of stars being broken up with “In God We Trust” reinforces 1) the idea of something being close to completion but never quite getting there and 2) that being the Lord’s will. That’s a pretty good approximation of the emotional place that is the losing end of the Egg Bowl.

But this flag’s a little too serious and somber to be perfect for this rivalry. The red bars on each side feel like boundaries meant to keep everything orderly, and the gold stripe feels almost stuffy. It also calls to mind this lovely little alternate Adidas put together for the Bulldogs before the 2014 Egg Bowl.

(State, ranked fourth entering that game, lost 31-17. When in doubt, blame the uniforms.)

I can see this flag being lowered at a heroic fire dog’s funeral. I have a harder time seeing anyone waving it triumphantly after an Egg Bowl victory.

THIRD PLACE

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

This works a little better for the Egg Bowl because changing one of the bars to blue creates a natural opposition on the flag, and making the center portion white calls to mind the blood draining out of a Bulldog fan’s face as they watch Mississippi State lose their third fumble of the day in the red zone.

SECOND PLACE

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

The presence of the river is a thoughtful touch here because it reminds Ole Miss fans that Ed Orgeron won a national championship at LSU. It’s also interesting that the opposite border isn’t present, almost as if Mississippi is trying to forget that Alabama even exists. In most years, that is quite literally what both programs want to do at the Egg Bowl. And then there’s the unbalanced layout of the flag as a whole, which, well, that’s awfully on the nose, isn’t it?

FIRST PLACE

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

A beautiful flag that we believe is the best representation of all things Egg Bowl. The shield shape calls to mind the logos for interstates and routes. Are you fleeing town in a fury, swearing you’ll never return to this stupid game? Are you organizing an impromptu victory parade after a big road win, which ends with your party unsuccessfully attempting to take over a Sonic and establish it as Winners County, MS? Either way, the road awaits you.

Most importantly, there’s the water imagery. The river’s present in the second place choice, but as a cartographical feature. Here, you get the sense of the Mississippi River’s depth, and that’s crucial to the Egg Bowl. Because when your side loses thanks to a penalized dog pee pantomime, you want to know that the water will come up over your head when you just walk into the river.