It all started with pop music sensation Katy Perry.
No. 1 Alabama rolled into Oxford to face No. 23 Ole Miss. It should have been just like any other first Saturday in October, Oct. 4. 2014, to be exact, except that it wasn’t.
You could feel the electricity in the air in the Grove. This was a huge deal. What was once just another game in the SEC West was now a major college football rivalry. CBS was there, ESPN College GameDay was there — I’ve covered a lot of games in both Tuscaloosa and Oxford and I had never seen anything like this.
And I blame Katy Perry.
Never miss a local story.
Her omnipresence was everywhere. I took my brother-in-law, attorney Phil Wittmann, to the game with me because he’s an Ole Miss guy. We tailgated with his family in the Grove and their area was literally at the edge of the GameDay set. It’s as if the all-powerful Perry was watching my every move.
Seeing celebrities at SEC games are nothing new, especially at Ole Miss and Alabama. There’s always a good chance of seeing ol’ Shepard Smith or Archie Manning or even Eli in Oxford. Country singer Sara Evans and actress Melissa Joan Hart probably can’t count the number of selfies and photos they’ve taken with people in Tuscaloosa. Even the sightings of Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth in the Grove before the Alabama game couldn’t eclipse the star that is Katy Perry. If it had been Liam’s brother Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, then maybe, but yeah, probably not.
What a lot of people don’t know about Katy Perry is that she is a high priestess of pixie magic and when she waved those magical corn dogs in the air that day and publicly defiled the head of Big Al, something happened. Katy Perry had unleashed the eye of the tiger and her fireworks and a curse was placed on the University of Alabama.
Ole Miss, led by Bo Wallace, defeated the Crimson Tide 23-17. Thanks, Obama, I mean, Katy Perry.
But we’ll get ‘em next year in Tuscaloosa.
Um, no. We didn’t.
Katy Perry’s magic spell was so strong that Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly got a high snap, caught the ball in mid-air, threw it downfield, bounced off someone’s helmet and into the arms of Quincy Adeboyejo — who turned it into a touchdown. You can’t win when the football gods are smiling on your team and Alabama turns the ball over five times. Once again, Ole Miss beat Alabama by six points.
This is what I’m talking about, Willis:
We love you, Katy Perry. The Clark family are big fans. We even took your side in that nasty “Bad Blood” dispute with Tay Tay. But we beg of you — please lift that curse from the Alabama football program when it comes to Ole Miss. Give us a break this year. Let us get a little bit of that eye of the tiger.