Starkville, MS - It is basically impossible to get here, the home of Mississippi State University.
No airlines fly to Starkville. You can't catch a train. You probably could get here by bus, but it would take two weeks. What you do is get in your car or van and head west until you are in the middle of nowhere, and then you turn left.
So those of us who have made the trip were sitting in hotel rooms awaiting the cocktail-hour Georgia- Mississippi State game when we got the word Alabama had decided not to travel to College Station, Texas, to play Texas A&M because Hurricane Gilbert had passed so close - 500 miles away.
"Do you mean to tell me," asked one Bulldog fan, "that I drove to Starkville in a constant rainstorm with my wife telling me what was wrong with my driving for seven hours and Alabama can't get to Texas?"
ESPN, the cable sports channel, was to have telecast the Alabama-Texas A&M game Saturday afternoon. After Alabama decided to no-show, ESPN interviewed some Crimson Tide fans who were already in town awaiting their team.
"Bunch of wimps," said one lady.
"This never would have happened," said a man standing by his Winnebago, "if Bear Bryant were still alive."
We laughed in the hotel room while another Georgia fan offered his explanation of why Alabama chickened out of the trip to Texas.
"Texas A&M lost its first two games and the NCAA put them on probation last week. They were mad enough to beat the Chicago Bears. Ol' Curry (Bill Curry, the Alabama head coach) didn't want no part of that, especially with his quarterback hurt."
The hours dragged on. We tuned in the Florida State - Clemson game on television.
"I don't know who to pull for," said one man. "FSU broke Bob Taylor's leg back in '65, but nobody in his right mind would pull for Clemson."
"I hate anybody wearing orange," said another Georgian, referring to Clemson's Halloweenish outfits.
Somebody cracked open a cold one and asked, "Wonder how Tech is doing?"
"Who are they playing now? Brenau?" came the inevitable snide remark when a Bulldog discusses anything regarding the rivals from pagan Atlanta.
Later on, we got the Tech story. The Yellow Jackets had lost to Virginia, 17 - 16, but you haven't heard the best part. Virginia scored a late field goal to win, thanks to a couple of passes caught be Derek Dooley, son of Vince.
"Another Dooley does in Tech," said the guy with the beer. "How sweet it is."
Game time finally arrived in Starkville. People are nice to you here. The local police actually help you find your parking spot.
"Imagine this happening at the Florida game in Jacksonville," one observer noted.
I spotted a car with a Georgia license plate. "Gilbert is a dawg." was written on the window.
Georgia beat Mississippi State 42 - 35 in as good a college football game as you would ever want to see. Sometime around midnight, back at the hotel room, somebody toasted the night.
"I couldn't be happier," he began. "Tech and Clemson both got beat. We won. And Alabama didn't show up."
Then, we all thought about the drive home from Starkville that faced us in a few hours and silence prevailed.
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