STARKVILLE, Miss. — Local clothing store Maroon & Co. doesn't normally sell game-specific T-shirts.
But Saturday's game isn't a normal game. It's Florida coach Dan Mullen's return to Mississippi State. On his spring speaking tour, he said it will likely be one of the biggest contests in state history. Store manager Lauren Ferguson said it feels bigger than the Egg Bowl.
"Ole Miss isn't what they used to be, so everyone's put this hype on the Florida game," said Ferguson, 26. "We knew we had to do something big for it."
Her marketer, Amber Kay, found the perfect something last week: A white T-shirt with the two-word message Dan who?
It was simple. It fit the white-out theme.
It sold out in a week.
"We've had phone call after phone call after phone call all day," Ferguson said Thursday afternoon. "I quit answering the phone."
She's not exaggerating. When I was waiting to talk with her, two different customers asked the cashier if she had any left.
Ferguson said Maroon & Co. ordered about 500 of them. Management considered reordering but chose not to after the Bulldogs lost to Kentucky last week. The store was in a similar position a few months ago when the baseball team's rally banana became an overnight sensation. Then the Bulldogs were eliminated from the postseason, and the store was stuck with 50 banana shirts it couldn't sell.
"We didn't want to have another banana shirt fiasco," Ferguson said.
So the store stuck with the initial order. The final two (a small and an XXXL) disappeared from the rack Thursday morning.
Ferguson said a lot of State fans feel as if Mullen "kind of left like a thief in the night." Some social media posters have said the shirts were mean-spirited, but those comments are mostly coming from other fan bases.
Regardless, Ferguson said Saturday will be "the biggest game of the year."
"This is a game that's going to go down in history," Ferguson said.
And 500 lucky State fans will have a T-shirt to commemorate it.