I don't mean this existentially (although it's fair comment on a state Mississippians shake their heads at). We're doing another home and home with these sophisticates in 2008/2009.
Why do we continue to insist on scheduling these roadside jam-peddlers? Did the Freedom of Information Act requests for Nutt's Blackberry (I'm going to make that the new Dirty Sanchez in the urban dictionary) also unearth some saucy text chat between DeLoss Dodds and Frank Broyles?
Blackmail is the only logical explanation.
Make no mistake, Razorback Fan values a win over Texas more than his common-law marriage. Their state has an intensity for this contest we couldn't match if our team watched Houston Nutt spinning backfist Sally Brown during warm ups and then stomp a blind man's seeing eye dog to death for wearing foam longhorns. We roll in like it's a scrimmage with our "Too cool to care, we're Texas" vibe and Arkansas is in full riot, switchblades in their tube socks, hiding WMDs in our Gatorade.
Consider the Laws of Non-Con Scheduling - Arkansas violates every one of them:
1. Prestige. Every team in college football is a worker at TGIF. Your wins are flair. In the minds of the media, out of conference wins over name opponents are the brightest flair of all. Arkansas offers no flair. Once Darren McFadden goes pro, they'll have no national presence, continue to have no fan base beyond their fetid borders, no media interest beyond the Fort Smith Daily Shopper. Yet they are good enough to beat you when they play on a high (we've lost 2 of 3 in the Brown era). That is bad. High Risk/Low Reward is the methodology of fools.
2. Recruiting. Mack Brown predicates everything he does on recruiting - except when he schedules Arkansas. We schedule a Stanford or UCLA to show a Cali kid that there are areas of the country where college football is valued more than Ashtanga Yoga. We schedule a weak sister Florida school (UCF) to appeal to the four kids in Florida who don't have THUG LIFE branded on their abdominals. Playing Arkansas gives them an entrance into our stomping grounds. There is no reciprocal benefit.
3. TV Sets/National Exposure. We have an athletic department that would sell the rights to their mother's cervix to earn a sixpence, yet we play the shockingly untelegenic Hawgs at any opportunity. A Texas fan and an Arkansas fan watch Texas/Arkansas. A college football fan watches Texas/Ohio St. Comprende, DeLoss?
4. Road Atmosphere. Our fan base doesn't have a very good time traveling to Arkansas. First, there's the battery of Hep C shots. Then a five stop regional flight, where Ozarkian upper respiratory infections are distributed like peanuts. On the game day stroll to the stadium, there's a general sense you've entered the Village Of The Insane like Kurt Thomas in Gymkata.
Like most white trash, Hawg fans are massive conspiracy theorists. Even a lost coin flip is met with knowing jeers and catcalls about rich Texans payin' off dem gol' durned refah rees and altering the laws of probability. It's a tiresome, ignorant fanbase. With any opponent, I've always been able to find a rival fan to exchange thoughts with in a cordial manner; to date, Arkansas and Mississippi St are the only exceptions.
5. Tradition. Overrated. Irrelevant. We used to play them in a league so shitty that the Big 12 was an improvement. Who cares? The whole point of non-conference games is to embrace the novel and non-traditional. Playing Ohio St, Michigan and USC was non-traditional. I kind of enjoyed it. You want SEC? Give me Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss. Those are goosebump worthy.
My next post on this subject will be Arkansas: What!?
Or maybe Arkansas: Clean Your Fucking Yards Up, You Prideless Crackers.