The Texas-Arkansas Rivalry: One-Sided and Out of Date

Rivalry
ri·val·ry
Pronunciation: r-vl-r
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ries
1 : a competitive or antagonistic state or condition

Growing up as a child of the 60's and as a Longhorn fan meant that every year three games were circled on the schedule. Oklahoma, Arkansas and A&M.

Two of those rivalries are long-standing and continous.

OU

The Death Star. The Evil Empire


"DKR, I Am Your Father."

The Sooners are the renegade program that invades your territory to steal some of your finest talent, and then bring them back across the border to try and humiliate you on home soil. It was/is a yearly passion play.

Texas A&M

The Aggies are the goofy, half-wit cousin who loves to play dress up and protect the tree house in the backyard with toy sabers.

You tolerate them because, hey they're family and because they are always good for a couple of laughs at family reunions. Of course every once in a while they would ruin the family picture by doing something inappropriate or embarrassing, like actually winning a football game against us.

These two rivals continue on a yearly basis.

Arkansas?

There was a period back in 1960's and 1970's when the Texas-Arkansas rivaly mattered nationally, but that time has long passed. The two teams don't play each other on a regular basis, and for Texas there is no compelling reason to put the Razorbacks on the schedule.


Because no matter how much lipstick you put on this pig, the Texas-Arkansas series is one-sided, both on and off the field.

Texas dominates the overall series, winning 55 games while losing only 21 times to the Hogs. That is a 72% winning percentage. Texas won the first game played between the two schools 54-0 in 1894, and Arkansas didn't win a contest until 1933 after losing 14 straight to the Horns.

What do former SWC members Arkansas, SMU, TCU and Rice have in common?
They all have less than 23 wins against Texas

Arkansas 55-21
SMU 47-22-4
Rice 68-21-1
TCU 61-20-1

Baylor has more wins against Texas (22) than Arkansas.

Off the field, the rivalry has ALWAYS mattered more to the Razorbacks, to the point of paranoia and obsession. This no doubt had a lot to do with the fact that Arkansas was the lone out-of-state member in the Southwest Conference. As the outsider, they looked at Texas and saw all that they hated  and envied in an opponent, from facilities to recruiting advantages to historical success. Losing on a regular basis just rubbed salt into the wounds.

The series reached the national stage when Frank Broyles arrived in Fayetteville and forged a friendship and rivalry with Darrell Royal. Broyles won three SWC championships outright and shared four others in 19 seasons. He was 144-58-5 at Arkansas. In the game that mattered most, Broyles was 5-14 against Royal and Texas. That's a winning percentage of 26%.


Frank Broyles won 5 out of 19 games against DKR and Texas. And for this, Arkansas families named babies after him.

Broyles won the adulation of hog fans everywhere by winning four out of 10 games against Texas in the 1960's. The total win margin in those four games was 10 points. The one blowout win over Texas under Broyles was in 1971 when Arkansas took out the frustration of 1969 and 1970 on the Longhorns 31-7.

Texas had several close call wins as well over Arkansas under Royal, but the average score of a Texas win over the Razorbacks during that 19-year run (1958-76) was 27-11.

Houston joined the SWC in 1976, and it caused a scramble to reorganize the yearly schedule. The 8 teams already in the SWC were given the option to "reserve" one game for the same weekend it had always been on. Arkansas requested that they continue to play Texas the week after the Horns played OU.

After Royal and Broyles retired, Fred Akers kept up the Longhorn domination of the Razorbacks, until the wheels fell off his program. Texas won 7 out of 10 contests between 1977-86. The Longhorns imploded, and Arkansas eventually ditched the SWC for the SEC.

Mack Brown put Arkansas back on the schedule for a home-and-home when he arrived at Texas. He thought it would be "neat" to pay homage to the past. It's been so "neat" that Arkansas has won 2 out of 3 matchups. Even after leaving the Southwest Conference, Frank Broyles understood fully how his fan base still viewed Texas.

When we left the Southwest Conference and I'd see fans and they would talk about a game back when I coached or (Ken) Hatfield or Lou Holtz coached, the only game they ever talked about was a Texas game," Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said. I have not had a single soul say, 'Do you remember the SMU game of '55 or '66?' They don't even talk about it."For Arkansas fans, Texas has been the No. 1 rival for 70 years."

The players on the present Texas team don't know a Razorback from an Owl, a Miner, a Knight, or any other recent non-conference opponent. Rest assured that the Arkansas players have been made well aware of as to who is on the schedule this week.

Through the years, I have witnessed numerous examples of just how obsessed the fan base is.


The sophistication of the Razorback fan base knows no bounds

* Back in the 1960's my dad was General Manager of the Driskill hotel in Austin. Arkansas week was the one he dreaded the most. Win or lose there would be property damage. A Hog win meant the celebration would include objects being tossed out of windows, or fans attempting to celebrate by bringing their Harley inside. Lose, and rooms would be trashed amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

*Travel to Arkansas for a game with Texas license plates, and be prepared to find gas and food service hard to find.

*When Texas team stayed at a Holiday Inn on one trip, the local paper printed the location, and Hog fans circled the parking lot with lots of Woooooo Pig Sooey!!! Razorbacks!!!!, trying to keep the players awake throughout the night.

* The standing order for all Texas players whenever playing a game in Arkansas was to keep your helmet on at all times. No telling what might come flying out of the stands. In 1985 Texas was staying in Ft. Smith for the contest. The team got caught in pre-game traffic, and pulled into the stadium less than an a hour before kickoff. Arkansas was already through with their warm up routine when the Texas special teams unit made it out of the locker room, and was greeted by a chorus of boos along with a couple of empty Jack Daniels bottles. After a few kicks, Jeff Ward decided that he had had enough of the nasty atmosphere and headed back in. Texas defeated Arkansas 15-13 on five Ward field goals.

* 1987 Texas trails 14-10 when on the last play of the game, Brett Stafford hits Tony Jones in the endzone with an 18-yard pass for the winning score. As the Texas bench quickly celebrated, and then ran towards the locker room, the Arkansas fans were too busy spewing their invective towards Hog coach Ken Hatfield to bother with the Longhorns.

The obsession with all things Longhorn isn't just limited to football.

*As a student I ran camera for the production company that worked the SWC regional football and basketball broadcasts. I was running the floor camera in Fayetteville for an SMU-Arkansas basketball game. There was a small student section where it was physically impossible to get a shot of that group. They kept pleading to be put on TV. Finally during a commercial break one guy yells out, Why won't you put us on TV?

I turned and flashed the Hook 'Em (I realize not the smartest move ever by a college student, but what the hell.) Coke cups, bottles, heated pennies rained down. An SMU assistant joked afterward that he thought I would need a police escort to leave the building.

*Early in the Nolan Richardson Era, before the "40 Minutes of Hell" got untracked, Texas actually led by 10 in Fayetteville late in a contest. Arkansas made a run, and then a crucial officials call cut their momentum off. Suddenly the players on the Texas bench jumped up and started to point to the student section behind them. They said they were getting drinks, heated pennies (they love those up there) thrown their way.

The Texas coach goes to the Arkansas security guard at the end of the bench and asks what he plans to do about this. The guard replies, "If you didn't bring your own refs from Texas, you wouldn't have this problem."

All of this is to say that a Texas-Arkansas series leaves little to be gained by the Longhorns. It simply isn't as important as a non-conference game for the Horns as it is to Arkansas. By playing the Razorbacks you give them an entry into Texas for recruiting purposes, and you give their fan base a reason to live. One Razorback fan joked that Tennessee is a big SEC game because while it may not be the same hue of Orange, they are UT, so it's close enough.

New coach Bobby Petrino has asked Texas to postpone the return trip to Arkansas, so it may never happen. Fine with me. I've had more than enough experiences in Fayetteville and Little Rock to last several lifetimes.


I say send 'em back home next Saturday squealing like a stuck pig. And don't invite them back.

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