STARKVILLE and OXFORD, Miss. -- On the week Mississippi will take its rightful place as the epicenter of the college football world, the Magnolia State is beaming with pigskin pride.
And why not? There are two games, featuring four of the nation's top 12 teams, being played on Mississippi soil.
No. 6 Texas A&M travels to No. 12 Mississippi State, and No. 3 Alabama visits No. 11 Ole Miss as both Mississippi schools sport a 4-0 record in the same season for the first time in history. ESPN's "College GameDay" is setting up shop in the Grove in Oxford for the first time.
It's almost too good to be true for a state that treats football as nothing short of a religious experience. Of course, the great irony is that even some of the most impassioned Mississippi State and Ole Miss fans would have guessed that only divine intervention would have positioned both programs to make this kind of noise in the big, bad SEC West.
Not since 1958 have both teams been ranked this highly in the polls in the same season. Even more telling, both schools have recruited and developed their programs to the point, which includes raising the kind of money to build state-of-the-art facilities, that there's no reason they won't continue to be relevant in the West race for years to come.
"There have been some big games, some big moments and some great players in this state, but I'm not sure anything tops what we're going to see [Saturday]," said Rockey Felker, who is in his fifth different decade of association with Mississippi State football in some capacity, most recently as the Bulldogs' director of player personnel and high school relations.
"A lot of eyes will be on the state of Mississippi."
Click here to read more from Chris Low on the state of Mississippi's huge upcoming weekend.