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The only missing ingredient for No. 15 Ole Miss’ clash with No. 11 Texas A&M Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN) is superstar pop singer/songwriter Katy Perry appearing as the guest picker on ESPN’s College GameDay that morning in The Grove in Oxford, Mississippi.
And some corn dogs, of course.
Perry is managed by Ole Miss alum Bradford Cobb, a native of Tunica, Mississippi and a 1996 Ole Miss graduate with a degree in English. Perry was GameDay’s guest picker, whose identity is usually kept secret until the very end, on Ole Miss’ only previous appearance on GameDay on Oct. 4, 2014, when the No. 11 Rebels upset No. 3 Alabama, 23-17.
Perry yelled, “Are you ready?” Then she picked Ole Miss and took the Elephant headpiece off of GameDay host Lee Corso, who had just picked Alabama, to the delight of the Ole Miss fans. She also tossed a corn dog and displayed a platter of a dozen of those when the LSU vs. Auburn game of that day previously came up. And the Ole Miss fans went wild.
“We heard about you LSU,” said Perry, dressed in a purple frock or sweater or something. “Heard you were hungry.”
Cobb previously told Perry of the Ole Miss tradition of saying Tiger Stadium smells like corn dogs.
And LSU lost that day, 41-7, its worst defeat since a 41-7 loss at home to Auburn in 1999.
Perry returned the favor and a corn dog on Nov. 21, 2015, when LSU played at Ole Miss. Before the game on the Vaught-Hemingway video board, Perry appeared and said, “Are you ready?”
Then she took a big bite out of a corn dog, and Ole Miss went on to chomp on LSU, 38-17, for its most lopsided win over the Tigers since a 32-0 victory in 1992 in Jackson, Mississippi.
So, the hope is Perry returns. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has voted for that.
The two exchanged messages on Twitter back in September. Perry said, “All board the Lane Train” and “@corral_matt for Heisman” in reference to Ole Miss junior quarterback Matt Corral’s Heisman Trophy campaign.
“Thanks KP. Come to the Sip any time,” tweeted Kiffin.
Asked this week who he hopes the GameDay picker would be Saturday, Kiffin said, “It would be Katy Perry, that’s a no brainer if you read my Twitter. I just like when things have worked before.”
Kiffin was Alabama’s offensive coordinator when the Tide lost at Ole Miss in 2014.
“Well, I’ve seen this script before, this movie where Katy Perry shows up and Ole Miss wins,” he said. “I was on the other side of it. It worked before. Let’s do it again.”
Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2 SEC) will need more than Perry to upset Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC), which is a 2.5-point favorite by FanDuel.
The A&M defense is No. 2 in the nation in fewest points allowed with 14.7 a game and No. 3 in the SEC and No. 16 nationally in fewest total yards allowed a game at 317.
“It really looks like when you watch NFL defenses, where basically everyone is a really good player and looks right,” Kiffin said.
A&M defensive end Tyree Johnson is third in the SEC in sacks with eight.
Kiffin says A&M coach Jimbo Fisher learned from Alabama coach Nick Saban when Saban was LSU’s coach from 2000-04 with Fisher as his offensive coordinator.
“Jimbo figured out from Coach Saban — find the best defensive players in the country and get them on your team and be a really good head coach,” he said. “And that’s what these guys have. Really special players that are dominant.”
Corral, still bothered by a recurring ankle injury, is No. 14 nationally in passing yards a game at 280.8, and the Rebels are No. 4 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC in total offense with 524 yards a game and No. 2 in the SEC in rushing with 237 yards a game.
“They’re very good all around on defense,” said Ole Miss junior tailback Jerrion Ealy, who has rushed for 436 yards and four touchdowns on 72 carries. “They’ve got a good front. I think we’re going to go out and get them, though. It’s going to be a task, but a task that we’re capable of handling.”
Ole Miss junior receiver/tailback/quarterback John Rhys Plumlee thinks the Rebels can handle a rare GameDay host appearance, too.
“GameDay’s coming, but I don’t think anybody’s going to get huge eyes or get butterflies in their stomach,” he said. “Not to downplay it. It’s really exciting. I don’t think it’s going to give anybody stage fright any thing like that.”