Cole's Corner: Three matchups to watch this Thanksgiving weekend
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Cole Patterson takes a look at some of the biggest storylines surrounding the Mid-South region during Thanksgiving weekend, highlighted by the Egg Bowl rivalry on Thursday.
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EGG BOWL TAKES CENTER STAGE
Other than food and family, the Thanksgiving holiday is also celebrated with football. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have been a staple, but the Battle for the Golden Egg has also become must-watch television to go with your dessert after a large feast.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss take center stage of the college football world on Thursday evening as the two squads will compete in a heated rivalry matchup with intense in-state bragging rights at stake. For the Bulldogs, the home team - led by interim head coach Greg Knox - is looking to get bowl eligible while knocking off their hated foe in the process. Mississippi State was victorious in last year's meeting that went all the way down to the wire.
As for Ole Miss, the opportunity is there for the Rebels to win 10 games again under Lane Kiffin and win the rivalry for the third time in the last four years. Kiffin's squad sits in striking distance of a New Year's Six bowl game and is riding all kinds of momentum.
On the recruiting front, there will be no shortage of star power in Starkville for the matchup. Elite 2025 wide receiver Caleb Cunningham is among the headliners, as the in-state pass catcher is a priority target on the trail for both staffs and each program will want to make a strong impression. MSU commit JJ Harrell and Rivals250 WR Braylon Burnside are among others expected to be in the building.
Regardless of what the outcome is on Thursday, the Egg Bowl has taught us to expect the unexpected. From massive upsets that ruin otherwise successful seasons to celebration penalties that lead to a domino effect on the coaching carousel, there is always something that comes out of this battle.
MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY IN THE LONE STAR STATE
On Black Friday, Texas will play host to Texas Tech in what will be the final regular season Big 12 game for the Longhorns. So there is no doubt that emotions will be extremely high in Austin when the ball is kicked off.
But more than that, the game presents different opportunities for the two programs. For Texas, the Longhorns are looking to get to 11 wins on the year and solidify a berth in the conference title game. Steve Sarkisian has recruited well and has the Longhorns on the brink of potentially playing in the College Football Playoff.
Texas sits at No. 7 in the most recent rankings, within striking distance of finishing in the top four depending on how the next couple of weeks play out. A dominant effort on Friday would certainly catch the committee's attention, remind everybody just how good this team is when hitting on all cylinders and spark even more confidence heading into Arlington next week. Not to mention avenging last season's loss to the Red Raiders.
As for the Red Raiders, it hasn't been the season that head coach Joey McGuire drew up after exceeding expectations a year ago that included handling Ole Miss in the bowl game. But Texas Tech will have all the motivation in the world on Friday as the Red Raiders look to play spoiler and put an end to any Longhorns playoff hopes.
McGuire and his staff have proven that they can recruit, evidenced by landing five-star wide receiver Micah Hudson and putting together an impressive haul in the 2024 cycle. But beating Texas ... in Austin ... in the Longhorns' final Big 12 game would be quite the statement made by McGuire and the program that he is building in West Texas.
The Lone Star State is fully worth your attention in between shopping for the best deals online.
LAGWAY VERSUS DESOTO
High school football is also going strong while NFL and college football take up the headlines during the holiday weekend. And there may not be a tastier entree than what San Antonio has to offer on Friday evening.
Florida quarterback commit DJ Lagway and his Willis squad take on undefeated power DeSoto in the third-round of the Texas state playoffs. Lagway has had a tremendous season while leading Willis to its first double-digit win campaign and only its second time this deep into the postseason.
Lagway has proven to be a dynamic threat behind center with his arm and legs, which will undoubtedly put a ton of stress on the DeSoto defense that is led by Nebraska commit Mario Buford, 2025 Rivals250 DB Sael Reyes and others. He has accounted for more than 70 scores as a senior and is playing at his best at the perfect time.
But DeSoto has passed similar challenges before. Just last season, DeSoto had a masterful game plan to limit Oklahoma quarterback Jackson Arnold, which led to a victory and a berth in the state title game - which it ended up winning. Of course, Lagway presents a different test, but DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis knows how to prepare for these kinds of moments.
The chess match between Lagway and the DeSoto defense is everything that you could want in a playoff setting.