'Column: "The Sports Trail": Real' burnt orange on schedule a yawner for Texans

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

by David McNeal

As usual, Alice and I spent our Fourth of July holiday with her family near Tyler, Texas. This time, our little family also gathered. Kerrie flew in from North Carolina, and Amy and Bobby brought our new grandbaby, Connor, when the threesome arrived from New Orleans.

With UofA Athletics Director Frank Broyles returning the mighty Texas Longhorns to the football schedule this year, I was hoping for some excitement, possibly a few side bets, and a lot of mouthing.

The subject never came up.

Seems the "rivalry" is a little more one-sided than we thought, leaning heavily to the Arkansas side. I would have thought that reviving the now-ancient Southwest conference tilt would have Texans chomping at the bit to get at their poor cousins to the north.

With Arkansas traveling to Austin for the game on Sept. 13, and a possible network broadcast holding up announcement of the game's starting time, the suspense and buildup should be spectacular.

It might be ---- for Hog fans.

Truth is, Arkansas was always an underdog when it came to competing with the Longhorns. Apparently, things haven't changed. UA-Fayetteville has about 15,000 students ---- UT-Austin has about 50,000.

Arkansas has some nice facilities, mostly provided by wealthy alumni and loyal businessmen who have chipped in over the years. Texas has a small city for an athletics complex, and I don't even want to talk about "money" and "Texas fans" in the same breath. It hurts too much.

So, not much has changed. We here in the Natural State are still the underdogs when it comes to Texas and football. It's like a little dog chasing a big bus. No matter how fast the dog runs and how much he improves, this particular bus just keeps getting bigger and shinier.

Not that any of that will matter in Arkansas. Even if the Longhorns continue to think their main rival is Texas A&M, we know who it really is. How dare those arrogant Texans try to displace us with any ---- gasp ---- Texas team.

When the ball is kicked off in Austin on Sept. 13, every Hog fan with a job in Texas will be watching, in person or on the tube. They'll wear Hog hats and noses, wear red right down to their underwear and socks, and scream and yell until their voices vanish.

Arkansas fans in both states will go insane with glee if Coach Houston Nutt's team comes through with a win, and black with gloom if the unthinkable happens.

It's incredible that so much of fans' egos can get tied up in a mere football game with Texas. They should save it for a REAL rivalry, like the current SEC one with LSU.

You know, that little school in Baton Rogue.

Did I mention I have a son-in-law who is a graduate of that institution? And that he dresses our new grandson in purple and gold?

Now, that's a rivalry.

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