As you are likely aware, Ole Miss elected to adopt a new mascot last year - the rebel black bear. Whether this means it is a bear named "Rebel" or a roguish bear nonconformist or something else entirely isn't totally clear. All that matters is that it's not a licensed property of Lucasfilm nor a racist. Beyond that, who cares? You'll be watching the cheerleaders anyway and you know it.
Still, if the selection is meant to reflect the character of the teams that play for the school, it might provide an insight into the means by which to best them on the playing field. Luckily, while doing some reasearch this morning, we came across a story on the Smithsonian Magazine website addressing this very issue: How to Avoid Being Eaten By a Black Bear. So let's investigate, shall we?
1 ) Travel in groups of three or more. Fatal attacks were more common when people traveled singly or in pairs. Larger groups are likely louder, and a bear may find them more intimidating.
If that's not a recipe for zone blitz against the Ole Miss offense, we don't know what is.
2 ) Learn to recognize signs that bears are in the area.
3 ) Keep food and garbage away from bears. Food or garbage was present in 38 percent of the documented fatal black bear attacks, and the scent may have attracted the bears. In addition, the scientists speculate the presence of food may make the bears more aggressive, thus increasing the possibility of an attack.
Ok. We call bullshit on this one.
4 ) Carry bear spray (which has capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers hot) if you’re going to be in bear territory. No one who has been killed by a black bear in the past was carrying bear spray with them. That doesn’t mean that the spray is guaranteed to fight off an attacking bear, but it could help.
And only one Nick Saban-coached squad has been beaten by Ole Miss. The Process > Bear Spray.
5 ) Learn to recognize the behavior of a black bear that is considering you for its next meal. These bears silently stalk their prey, sometimes for hours, before quickly rushing to attack.
Not gonna lie. This is terrifying to consider.
6 ) A black bear that is stalking you may be deterred by aggressive actions, such as shouting, spraying it with bear spray or hitting it with rocks, sticks or even fists. Avoid harassing bears that are just going about their business, though; females seldom attack humans except when provoked by people or dogs.
We'll let Michigan State's quarterback corps answer that for us.
7 ) Be extra careful in August, when hungry bears are filling up with high-energy foods in preparation for winter denning. Fatal attacks most often occur in this month.
Ole Miss doesn't come to BDS until
November Oct. 15. They'll be well into their mid-season apathy by then.
8 ) Don’t assume that there’s less danger in Canada and Alaska simply because there are fewer encounters between black bears and humans. A greater proportion of fatal attacks occur in the northern parts of the black bear’s range, perhaps because these bears are less habituated to people or more food-stressed than southern bears.
Doesn't really apply to us but with the Egg Bowl in Starkville this season, that's probably good news for the Bulldogs.