Hogs excited about rivalry's renewal
On the phone the other day from his office in Fayetteville, Ark., Frank Broyles considered the question. Had he really never watched a tape of his No. 2 Arkansas's 15-14 loss to No. 1 Texas and his close friend Darrell Royal in 1969?
"That is correct," said Broyles, the head coach of the Razorbacks on that chilly December day. "And we didn't have tape. We had film."
Broyles paused. "And I haven't read the book, either. I don't need to go through that game."
He is referring to "Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming: Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie's Last Stand", the book recently released by ESPN.com contributor Terry Frei. That's how big this rivalry once was. They write books about it. For decades, when Arkansas lived as the only non-Texas school in the Southwest Conference, nothing mattered more to Razorback fans than beating the arrogant cattle from Austin.
"They've got everybody wanting to beat them down there," Broyles said. "We're just one of that group."
For the first time since 1991, Arkansas will play Texas during the regular season. The teams last met in the 2000 Cotton Bowl. On the first day of the new century, the Razorbacks beat the Longhorns, 27-6. Texas fans remember more than three years later that Arkansas coach Houston Nutt left the field giving an upside-down version of the "Hook 'em Horns" symbol.
"In 1999, the Arkansas people were more excited about the Cotton Bowl than the Texas people," says Texas coach Mack Brown of the game that concluded his second year in Austin. "In the fourth quarter, they whipped us. I can see the state of Arkansas is more excited about this game."
Arkansas gets 4,000 tickets in the 80,082-seat Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. "We could have sold 30,000," Broyles said. For the first time ever, Arkansas is opening Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium to its fans for an away game. The ABC telecast will be shown on the 107-foot screen in the north end zone. Broyles says the university expects 10,000 fans and students to come.
The home-and-home series between the schools, which concludes next year, didn't come to be until Brown arrived in Austin. He had to talk athletic director DeLoss Dodds into it. Dodds figured that it would make it easier for Arkansas to recruit within the state (Twenty-six Razorbacks on the 2003 team come from Texas). But Brown discussed it with Royal, and Dodds had no objection.
"It would be a chance for all of us to say 'Thank you,' for what these two gentlemen," Brown said, referring to Royal and Broyles, "have done for college football."
Broyles has been at Arkansas as head coach and/or athletic director since oh, about the dawn of time. He tried to explain why, 11 years after the Razorbacks headed for the Southeastern Conference, the game Saturday against Texas still resonated with Hog fans.
"When fans talk about games in the past," said Broyles, who arrived in Fayetteville as head coach in 1958, when Bill Clinton was 11 years old, "99.9 percent are Texas games. That gives you an idea of the passion. When you play Texas, you have a chance to get on a level of acceptance by the football public. Any year that we beat Texas, we thought we were going to be conference champions."
Broyles only won four times in 18 games against Texas, which is another reason why the Longhorns became so important to the Razorbacks. It felt so good to beat them.
Beginning with the first game between the schools in 1894, it took Arkansas five games to score against Texas, and 10 more to beat the Horns, a 20-6 victory in 1933. They played for the next 58 years, even during World War II. Of the 74 games, Texas has won 54 of them.
Broyles retired from coaching after the 1976 season. So did Royal. Their friendship endures to this day.
"Darrell and I are going to play golf on Friday," Broyles said. "In all my years as coach and athletic director, I've never played golf on a Friday before a game. We'll have stories to tell, although all through Darrell and I's friendship, we've never discussed an Arkansas-Texas game.
"Well, once we did," Broyles said. It was after we retired, and Bo Schembechler asked us to come to Michigan for a coaching clinic. Darrell asked me on the plane, 'I know we've never talked, but in 1971, were you picking up our defensive signals?'
"I said, 'In 1962, were you picking up our offensive signals?'
"He said yes.
"I said yes.
"That was it."
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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