Pig Roast: Arkansas’ 10 most heartbreaking football games

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In light of the Razorbacks’ current season, which began with great expectations but has been derailed yet again by a grueling SEC schedule, it seems appropriate to reflect on past seasons when the flicker of championship glory was brutally extinguished.

There’s a lot of heartbreak in this list. Better grab some tissues.

10. 1998 — The Stoernover

After five years with Danny Ford at the helm, Arkansas severed ties with its head coach and brought in Houston Nutt. An Arkansas native and former Razorback, Nutt was handed a veteran squad, and the season couldn’t have started any better.

The Hogs roared out of the gate to an 8-0 start, rolling No. 22 Alabama in the SEC opener and winning three straight road games. No. 11 Arkansas then breezed past Ole Miss to set up a monumental showdown against No. 1 Tennessee in Knoxville.

Now ranked No. 10, Arkansas jumped on the Vols early, leading 21-3 in the first half. But Tennessee clawed back to pull within two — 24-22 — with about three minutes remaining. The Hogs tried to run out the clock, but disaster struck when quarterback Clint Stoerner tripped over his lineman’s foot and fumbled the ball. Tennessee recovered and scored the winning touchdown five plays later.

Still, Arkansas wasn’t out of the national title hunt. The Hogs actually moved up in the rankings after losing to Tennessee, improving to No. 9. But a week later the shell shocked Razorbacks were upended 22-21 by Mississippi State on a dubious field goal.

Tennessee, meanwhile, went on to win the first BCS National Championship.

9. 1979 — New Year’s Day Debacle

The Razorbacks were in a peculiar position at the end of the ’79 season. Although the Hogs lost their bowl game to the eventual national champion, it’s plausible that had Arkansas prevailed, it still wouldn’t have finished No. 1.

The season in a nutshell: Despite beating Texas for the first time in eight years and reaching as high as No. 4 in the polls, Arkansas’ title hopes were derailed by No. 6 Houston. Later in the season Texas knocked off Houston, but both the Cougars and Hogs finished 7-1 to share the SWC title.

No. 6 Arkansas was invited to the Sugar Bowl while Houston went to the Cotton Bowl. The Hogs were paired with No. 2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide, SEC champions and undefeated at 11-0, steamrolled Arkansas 24-9 to win their seventh and final championship under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Although Houston won the 1980 Cotton Bowl, the Cougars had dropped a few spots — to No. 8 — entering the bowl game. Already ahead in the polls, Arkansas further benefited when No. 1 Ohio State lost in the Rose Bowl.

But that victory came thanks to No. 2 Southern California. Meanwhile, No. 5 Oklahoma topped No. 4 Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

So, it’s safe to assume even if the Hogs managed to upset Alabama, the best they could hope for was a top 5 finish in the polls.

Plus, even if Alabama lost, the Tide probably would just claim the 1979 title anyway.

8. 1988 — Help Wanted

By the late 1980s, the SWC was still recovering from SMU’s pay-for-play scandal that destroyed the Mustangs’ football program. Arkansas, although 10-0 with wins over Ole Miss, Texas and Houston — the latter two victories coming on the road — was ranked No. 8 heading into the season finale against No. 3 Miami.

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CBS laid out a convoluted path to the national championship for Arkansas.

As noted by Arkansas Fight, the SWC’s sordid reputation and a distaste for smashmouth football among the national media possibly contributed to the Hogs’ low ranking:

“[Sports Illustrated] paints a dismal picture of the ’88 Hogs, focusing on their performance in the Arkansas-Texas A&M game that … ‘was about as pretty to look at as the snarling wild pig emblem that decorates gas stations and convenience stores all across Arkansas'”

Heading into the game with Miami, Arkansas also was looking to avenge its 51-7 shellacking from the Hurricanes the year before in Little Rock. But to win the national title, Arkansas would need loads of help from other teams and the media, as CBS pointed out in its pre-game show.

Down in the Orange Bowl for the ’88 contest, the two teams traded blows until late in the second half, when Arkansas safety Steve Atwater came within a hair of making a game-clinching interception.

Miami settled for a field goal, but that was enough to edge the Hogs 18-15. While a win over Miami wouldn’t have guaranteed Arkansas a national title, it would’ve tipped the scales in the Razorbacks’ favor. But losing to Troy Aikman and No. 9 UCLA in the Cotton Bowl didn’t help, either.

7. 1977 — “The national championship is up for grabs!”

In some people’s eyes, the 1977 Arkansas Razorbacks were national champions.

For most of Arkansas’ tenure in the SWC, the Razorbacks’ biggest hurdle each year was Texas. The 1977 season wouldn’t be any different.

After a perplexing 5-5-1 finish in ’76, Arkansas rebounded in ’77 with a stellar cast that included future NFL Hall of Fame inductee Dan Hampton. The Hogs were 4-0 and ranked No. 8 when No. 2 Texas rolled into Fayetteville.

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Arkansas’ Roland Sales (21) rushed for a then-record 205 yards in the Orange Bowl.

A match-up of two undefeated teams, the game was a defensive slugfest. Early scores hinged on field goals, which included a then-record 67-yard make from Arkansas’ Steve Little.

But Texas’ backbreaking, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter sealed a 13-9 Longhorns victory.

Arkansas won the rest of its games and finished second in the SWC, earning an invite to the Orange Bowl. Texas, meanwhile, won the SWC and earned a trip to the Cotton Bowl.

Down in Miami, Arkansas blasted No. 2 Oklahoma 31-6. Earlier, in Dallas, the Longhorns were whipped 38-10 by Joe Montana and No. 5 Notre Dame. If the Sooners won, they could have a shot at a national title.

But thanks to an upset in the Rose Bowl and a lopsided win by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, there wouldn’t be a clear national champion. Despite division within the AP and UPI polls, Notre Dame received a majority of No. 1 votes. Today, the Fighting Irish are widely recognized as the national champions of 1977.

Still, it’s worth noting that Alabama and Arkansas also received a share of No. 1 votes — with the Hogs tallying 5 1/2 votes in the AP poll and two votes in the UPI poll.

6. 1982 — “Damn Texas refs”

Under six-year head coach Lou Holtz, the Hogs were ranked No. 13 in the 1982 preseason and climbed to No. 5 after a 7-0 start. Arkansas was upset Nov. 6 by Baylor, but crept back into the top 10 after drubbing Texas A&M 35-0 in Little Rock.

Up next for the No. 9 Hogs was a trip to Dallas to face No. 2 SMU. The Mustangs were undefeated and had a chance to win the SWC that afternoon in Texas Stadium.

Led by Billy Ray Smith, Jr., Arkansas’ defense slowed the vaunted “Pony Express,” and the Hogs were nursing a 17-10 lead late in the fourth quarter.

With just over four minutes remaining, SMU faced a third-and-long. Short on time, Mustangs quarterback Lance McIlhenny dropped back and hurled a prayer downfield to receiver Jackie Wilson.

The rest is sordid history — to Hogs fans, at least.

Nathan Jones, Arkansas’ sophomore defensive back, was whistled for pass interference despite the ball being overthrown and Wilson climbing up Jones’ back.

The penalty awarded the Mustangs a 40-yard gain, putting SMU in the red zone.

SMU scored a few plays later on McIlhenny’s scramble, held Arkansas on defense, and missed a kick in the final seconds to preserve the tie.

The 17-17 stalemate clinched the SWC for SMU and secured the Mustangs a Cotton Bowl berth, where they beat Dan Marino and No. 6 Pittsburgh.

Now ranked No. 6, Arkansas followed the loss to SMU with a 33-7 whipping from No. 12 Texas. The Hogs limped to the Bluebonnet Bowl just weeks removed from being in the hunt for a national title.

But Razorbacks fans got some pretty cool bumper stickers out of the fiasco.

5. 2006 — “The lost year”

Houston Nutt’s most successful season also was his most tumultuous.

The season seemed like a lost cause from the outset, when star running back Darren McFadden injured his toe in a drunken night club brawl in Little Rock.

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Houston Nutt was hired as Arkansas’ head coach in 1998. Over the next eight years, he moonlighted as the offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, Gus Malzahn had been hired as offensive coordinator. A legend in the Arkansas high school ranks, Malzahn brought with him a handful of his elite players, including former Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain, the 2005 Gatorade National Player of the Year.

Malzahn’s offensive scheme — described as a “before-its-time, no-huddle spread offense” — immediately clashed with Nutt’s conservative philosophy.

The rift deepened thanks to a brewing quarterback controversy between Mustain and starter Casey Dick, and Nutt’s reluctance to give up play-calling duties — something he oversaw during his previous eight years at Arkansas.

Oh, and then there was Nutt’s alleged extra-marital affair with a local TV anchor. Can’t forget Mustain’s overbearing mother, either.

Anyways, Arkansas got smoked in the season opener against No. 6 USC, but reeled off 10 straight wins. McFadden emerged as a Heisman candidate, and his two teammates in the backfield — Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis — became stars in their own right.

The Hogs were ranked No. 5 and had already clinched the SEC West when No. 9 LSU came to War Memorial Stadium for first top 10 matchup in the history of the rivalry.

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Despite a record-setting career at Springdale High School, quarterback Mitch Mustain and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn couldn’t replicate their success at Arkansas.

LSU won 31-26 thanks to a flurry of big plays and questionable offensive play-calling from Arkansas.

From there, the Hogs went to Atlanta to play No. 4 Florida in the SEC Championship Game, where they blew a four-point lead late in the third quarter. The back-breaker came when Arkansas receiver Reggie Fish tried to field a punt near the Hogs’ goal line, muffed the ball, and Florida recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Hogs capped the season with a heartbreaking loss to No. 6 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

4. 1970 — “Shootout fizzles”

The 1970 Razorbacks got off to an auspicious start. Arkansas was one of several schools to take advantage of a new NCAA rule allowing teams to schedule an 11th game. Other high-profile regular season matchups that year included LSU-Notre Dame, USC-Alabama and UCLA-Texas.

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Arkansas’ powerful running game was smothered by a stingy Texas defense.

But as the New York Times noted, “the national spotlight will be at Little Rock, where Arkansas opposes Stanford” on national TV.

No. 10 Stanford jumped on the Hogs early, taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Arkansas, ranked No. 4, rallied but fell short in the second half, as Stanford won 34-28.

Still, Arkansas returned a talented, senior-laden roster. The Razorbacks followed the loss by dismantling Oklahoma State and Tulsa, then ran roughshod through the SWC. After thumping No. 19 Texas Tech in Lubbock, the Hogs were back in the top 5 and heading to Austin for a showdown against No. 1 Texas.

It was the Big Shootout all over again: The winner of the 1970 contest would clinch the SWC and possibly a share of the national title. The Waco Tribune-Herald succinctly captured Arkansas’ pre-game misery:

“Last year’s tears, suffered on that cold, dismal day in Fayetteville have lingered for an entire season.”

But Arkansas wouldn’t exact revenge for ’69. And there was no dramatic finish — or much excitement at all — as the Longhorns skewered the Hogs 42-7.

3. 2011 — Bayou Beatdown

Despite being thumped by Alabama earlier in the year, the Hogs were within arms reach of the title game at the end of the 2011 season.

Thanks to a bevy of upsets and the Razorbacks’ “thrashing” of Mississippi State, the Battle for the Golden Boot became a top 5 match-up with massive postseason implications. Arkansas had jumped in the polls from No. 6 to No. 3 — the Hogs’ highest ranking since 1978 — while LSU and Alabama held the top two spots, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas-LSU rivalry had emerged on the national stage. Six of the previous seven games were decided by an average of 3.5 points.

After a scoreless first quarter in Death Valley, Arkansas appeared in control, bolting to a 14-0 lead. But the Tigers responded with a 77-yard scoring drive, held the Hogs on defense, and then returned the punt 92 yards for a touchdown.

The rout was on from there. LSU rolled to a 41-17 win, outscoring Arkansas 41-3 down the stretch.

2. 1969 — Game of the Century

What wasn’t at stake on Dec. 6, 1969?

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Arkansas’ defense — best in the SWC in terms of points allowed — forced six Texas turnovers.

For Arkansas and Texas, it was the final regular-season game of the 100th anniversary of college football. The winner would claim the SWC title, a berth in the Cotton Bowl — a potential national championship game.

Despite dreary conditions, Razorback Stadium was filled to capacity, while 58 million watched on TV.

The annual match-up between the Longhorns and Razorbacks functioned as a one-game referendum on a budding rivalry, a fact that was overlooked amidst all the chaos surrounding the game.

Texas was Arkansas’ most hated opponent, but the feeling wasn’t mutual. Still, Arkansas and Texas shared or won the SWC eight times in the 1960s. The average margin of victory between the two teams in their previous nine meetings was a paltry seven points.

By ’69, outsiders had taken notice. What was later coined The Big Shootout originated from the foresight of TV executives, who lobbied Arkansas and Texas to move their usual October meeting to December for the final game of the season.

The gamble paid off: the Longhorns and Hogs entered the game undefeated — ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively — and ABC had the ratings bonanza it hoped for.

Even the weather played along with the melodrama:

“[T]he day took on an eerie feeling. The night before, a steady, cold rain fell in Fayetteville and an icy fog hovered over the stadium as the crowd awaited the arrival of President Richard Nixon, who would award a plaque symbolic of the National Championship to the winner.”

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Texas quarterback James Street’s 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was a seminal moment in The Big Shootout.

Arkansas fans know well the heartbreak of the game. The Hogs looked unstoppable early, but blew a 14-0 lead and lost 15-14 to the hated Longhorns. Texas celebrated in the locker room with Nixon, who presented a plaque to the Longhorns and declared them national champions.

Texas went on to defeat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl to finish 11-0. Alongside, Ohio State and Nebraska, the Longhorns were named national champions by the National Football Foundation and UPI. The Hogs went to the Sugar Bowl, but were upset by Archie Manning and Ole Miss.

While the loss caused acute pain for Razorbacks fans, the long-term ramifications wouldn’t be fully realized until the 1980s.

Before Frank Broyles arrived, Arkansas was second-fiddle not only to Texas, but most of the SWC. That all changed in the 1960s. By the end of the decade, Arkansas had established a program to rival Texas. Losing the Big Shootout loomed over the program for the next few seasons, while Texas prospered.

The Longhorns opened the 1970s by winning four straight conference titles and dominated Arkansas as the rivalry reverted to a one-sided affair. Arkansas beat Texas just twice in the decade (’71 and ’79), losing eight times by an average of 25 points.

1. 1965 — “It had to end sometime”

The last time Arkansas was on the cusp of a national title, the Hogs were riding a 22-game win streak, ranked No. 2 in the country and facing an over-matched LSU team in the Cotton Bowl.

LSU’s 14-7 upset over No. 2 Arkansas in the 1966 Cotton Bowl kept the Hogs from winning consecutive national titles.

LSU’s 14-7 upset over No. 2 Arkansas in the 1966 Cotton Bowl kept the Hogs from winning consecutive national titles.

But the Razorbacks were undone by their own hubris and a feisty Tigers squad.

As Sports Illustrated noted before the game, Broyles knew his team souldn’t overlook LSU:

“A lady whose intention undoubtedly was kind wove through the balloons and paper hats at the Cotton Bowl New Year’s Eve party and clutched the arm of Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles. ‘Frank,’ she said, ‘you have nothing to worry about tomorrow,’ meaning the Razorbacks were certain to beat Louisiana State for their 23rd straight win. ‘Lady,’ said Broyles, ‘that is exactly what worries me.'”

Arkansas went up 7-0 in the opening quarter, the only score of the period. But the Hogs couldn’t contain LSU’s bruising running back, Joe Labruzzo. He scored both of the Tigers’ touchdowns and captured MVP honors.

Neither team scored in the second half and Arkansas’ last-second rally was extinguished when the clock ran out.

Thanks to losses by No. 1 Michigan State and No. 2 Nebraska, LSU’s victory inadvertently vaulted No. 4 Alabama to the national title. Arkansas finished at No. 3.

Had Arkansas won, the Razorbacks would’ve not only had a strong case for being known as “the team of the ’60s,” but the ’64 and ’65 squads would be regarded as two of the all-time best.

Honorable Mention

A total of six points kept Arkansas from an undefeated regular season in 1985.

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After a strong finish in ’77, Sports Illustrated ranked Arkansas as the No. 1 team heading into the 1978 season.

The Razorbacks opened the season 5-0 and were ranked No. 4 when an underachieving Texas squad came to Fayetteville on Oct. 19. Arkansas scored first and kept the Longhorns out of the end zone — but succumbed 15-13 thanks to five Texas field goals.

Roughly three weeks later, the SWC title was up for grabs when No. 9 Arkansas traveled to College Station. Texas A&M pulled the upset, 10-6.

Arkansas rebounded with a thrilling victory in the Holiday Bowl.

Just seven years earlier, Arkansas graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the magazine’s No. 1 team entering the 1978 season. The Hogs also were blessed with a No. 2 ranking from the Associated Press.

The Hogs picked up where they left off from ’77, but consecutive losses to No. 8 Texas and No. 11 Houston spoiled Arkansas’ championship aspirations.

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Arkansas’ 10 worst losses at War Memorial Stadium

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Toledo’s upset of No. 18 Arkansas isn’t the Razorbacks’ only soul-crushing defeat at War Memorial Stadium. There’s plenty of heartache to go around.

Where does the Rockets’ victory rank all-time? Read on to find out.

10) Oct. 18, 2014: No. 10 Georgia def. Arkansas, 45-32

Billed as the last significant Southeastern Conference game to be played at War Memorial Stadium, Arkansas’ plans for an upset were extinguished in the second quarter.

The Hogs started strong on offense, using a two-headed rushing attack to march 75 yards in about eight minutes for a score. But Georgia’s passing attack answered with a devastating counter-punch. The Bulldogs advanced 74 yards in just 88 seconds to tie the game.

Then Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney hit the panic button.

The Razorbacks abandoned the running game and imploded on defense, as Georgia outscored Arkansas 38-0 in the second quarter. Arkansas rallied with four second-half touchdowns but couldn’t overcome its early blunders.

9) Oct. 17, 1959: No. 3 Texas def. No. 12 Arkansas, 13-12

When Arkansas and Texas quarreled in 1959 in Little Rock, it was only the second time in series history that both teams were ranked for their annual showdown.

The game was a slug fest, played mostly on the ground. Arkansas scored first, when Steve Butler caught a 5-yard pass from quarterback Jim Monroe (one of only 10 completions Monroe had all year). The extra-point failed and Arkansas ended the quarter up 6-0.

Early in the second quarter Texas answered after a 14-play drive when Bobby Lackey punched it in from the goal line. The Longhorns booted in the extra point to take a 7-6 lead. Neither team scored again before half time.

Late in the third quarter, Arkansas scored after a 13-play, 89-yard drive. The Hogs tried a two-point conversion, but failed. Arkansas’ 12-7 lead was brief, as Texas scored six seconds into the fourth quarter. The Longhorns attempt at two points also failed, but Texas held on for the 1-point victory.

Arkansas overcame the heart-breaking loss, though, and finished as co-champions of the Southwest Conference alongside Texas and TCU.

Interesting side note: Despite reports of near-perfect weather, Arkansas and Texas combined for 14 fumbles.

8) Nov. 24, 2006: No. 9 LSU def. No. 5 Arkansas, 31-26

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK MCFARLAND--1123//07-- Arkansas Darren McFadden runs from LSU defenders at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge Friday, Nov. 23, 2007.

After a tumultuous season that saw indecision at quarterback and friction between Arkansas coach Houston Nutt and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, fans were primed for a top 10 Battle for the Golden Boot with national championship implications.

The Razorbacks entered the game 10-1, their last loss coming against No. 6 Southern California in the season opener. But questionable play-calling against LSU plagued the Hogs from the opening snap. Quarterback Casey dick was called on to pass 17 times, and he completed just three attempts.

Trailing 24-12 in the fourth quarter, Arkansas narrowed the gap thanks to a spectacular 80-yard touchdown run from Darren McFadden, in which the Heisman candidate barreled straight through the heart of LSU’s defense. But the Tigers countered with a 92-yard kickoff return from Trindon Holliday that put LSU on top 31-19.

The Hogs scored once more to make it 31-26, then forced the Tigers to punt. But four straight incompletions gave the ball back to LSU.

7) Oct. 22, 1960: No. 2 Ole Miss def. No. 14 Arkansas, 10-7

The Arkansas-Mississippi game, played regularly from 1913-1960, was often more contentious than the annual Arkansas-Texas game.

Both fan bases were rowdy and passionate; so much so that the in 1960, a riot reportedly erupted after the Rebels escaped with a 10-7 victory.

With the game tied in the waning seconds, Ole Miss booted a 39-yard field goal to go up by three. There was just one problem: referee Tommy Bell had called time out due to excessive crowd noise. The field goal was waved off and the Rebels were given a another chance. But the second kick hooked left — allegedly — sailing wide of the goal posts.

Still, Bell signaled that the kick was good. Fights broke out in the stands immediately. After the game, Hogs coach Frank Broyles chided officials and threatened never to play the Rebels again. When the series’ contract expired the following year, Broyles made good on his promise. Although the two schools met in the Sugar Bowl in 1963 and 1970, Arkansas didn’t renew its series with Ole Miss until 1981.

6) Oct. 17, 1981: Houston def. Arkansas, 20-17

Arkansas won its first three games in 1981, which included a road victory over Ole Miss. But a puzzling loss the following Saturday to TCU in Fort Worth bumped the Hogs out of the top 25.

A showdown in Fayetteville against No. 1 Texas was looming, and Arkansas regrouped to thump Texas Tech before throttling the Longhorns 42-11. It was the Razorbacks’ second-largest victory over their hated rival. Before the game was over, fans stormed the field trying to tear down the goal posts.

Then came the let down.

The following Saturday, the Hogs fell to a .500 Houston team in Little Rock. The three-point loss pushed Arkansas out of contention for the Southwest Conference and stymied a promising season.

5) Oct. 30, 1971: Texas A&M def. No. 8 Arkansas, 17-9

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Despite an inexcusable loss to Tulsa early in the season, Arkansas was pumping on all cylinders in the fall of 1971 as it inched towards bowl season. The Hogs were undefeated in conference play and had dominant victories over California and No. 10 Texas, the latter of which came on a rainy afternoon in Little Rock when quarterback Joe Ferguson scored four touchdowns.

After walloping North Texas in Fayetteville, the Hogs traveled to back to Little Rock for a matchup with a sub-.500 Texas A&M squad. The Aggies got the jump on the Hogs, though, beating Arkansas by nine points.

The upset lingered, essentially derailing the season. The following week, Arkansas tied with the lowly Rice Owls. The Hogs rebounded to win their final two SWC games, but still finished second in the conference standings behind Texas.

4) Sept. 12, 2015: Toledo def. No. 18 Arkansas, 18-12

With coach Bret Bielema entering his third year at Arkansas and looking to build on the momentum from last season, the Arkansas-Toledo game was supposed to be one of three tune-ups before the Hogs started their Southeastern Conference schedule.

The hype train left the station long before kickoff though, as prognosticators predicted a blowout victory for the Razorbacks on their way to — at the very least — competing for the SEC West.

Toledo’s pass-happy offense kept Arkansas off balance, and the Hogs’ sputtering running game didn’t do them any favors. Just one week removed from looking like world-beaters against Texas-El Paso, Arkansas resembled an SEC contender only on paper against Toledo.

3) Sept. 8, 2012: Louisiana Monroe def. No. 8 Arkansas, 34-31

Following a stellar 11-2 campaign in 2011, Arkansas fans were giddy with anticipation for 2012. That all changed when coach Bobby Petrino “wrecked” his motorcycle in the offseason — inadvertently revealing his extra-marital affair and illicit hiring practices — and the tone was set for a disastrous season.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long hired former Hogs assistant and debt-laden John L. Smith to try and rally the team. After a blowout victory over Jacksonville State in the opener, the Razorbacks still looked like contenders.

But when quarterback Tyler Wilson exited with a concussion against Louisiana-Monroe in week 2, Arkansas’ 28-7 lead evaporated. The Warhawks surged from behind to tie the game with less than a minute left to play in regulation.

Despite starting on offense in overtime, the Hogs were held to a field goal. Louisiana-Monroe answered with a 16-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kolton Browning to seal the upset.

2) Sept. 26, 1987: No. 5 Miami (FL) def. No. 10 Arkansas, 51-7

On paper, this game had all the right ingredients for an instant classic. Both teams were undefeated and ranked in the top 10, had national title aspirations and a unique history between coaches. Arkansas’ Ken Hatfield and Miami’s Jimmy Johnson were former Razorbacks and proteges of Frank Broyles.

But instead of ending up as a perennial replay on ESPN Classic, the game was a route. The Hurricanes swept the Hogs off their own field not long after kickoff.

Miami tallied more than 350 yards of offense in the first half and scored five touchdowns in 12 minutes to take a 38-0 lead at half time. The 44-point drubbing was Arkansas’ worst defeat in Little Rock since losing to Tulsa, 63-7, in 1919.

Miami’s resounding victory jettisoned Arkansas from the top 25.

1) Oct. 17, 1987: Texas def. No. 15 Arkansas, 16-14

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For many Razorbacks fans, nothing tops beating Texas. As Bielema discovered, thumping the Longhorns can provide quite a tingling sensation.

The joy of watching Texas lose is matched only by the sorrow of falling victim to the Longhorns. And in 1987, Texas delivered a knockout punch that still lingers nearly three decades later.

Only two years removed from losing to Texas 15-13 in Fayetteville, No. 15 Arkansas welcomed the Longhorns into War Memorial Stadium with open arms. Despite allowing Texas a first quarter touchdown, Arkansas tallied 14 points in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Longhorns held Arkansas scoreless in the third quarter and managed a field goal to pull within four points. In possession of the ball during the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Texas drove into Arkansas territory on the strength of an 11-play, 56-yard drive.

With four seconds left in regulation and Texas facing a 2nd and 15 from the Arkansas 18-yard line, quarterback Bret Stafford delivered a strike to receiver Toby Jones, who caught the ball in the end zone with no time left on the clock to seal the Longhorns victory.

100 Things I Hate About College Football

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Editor’s note — This article was originally written for Yahoo! Voices in September 2013. It has been reprinted here with the author’s permission.

Gene Wojciechowski’s ode to college football is a great read. The only problem is that it’s written as a love letter; he was (mis)guided by his emotions.

And don’t get me wrong, I love college football.

But let’s be realistic about this. While Wojciechowski does point out that college football has its shortcomings, simply giving them a passing mention isn’t enough.

As the Summer of Manziel has shown, it’s astonishing how college football has weathered so many scandals without serious blemish. The players and even the sport itself seem practically untouchable.

So why would someone who claims to be a fan find so many reasons to hate a sport they care so deeply about?

In hopes of fixing it, of course.

Wojciechowski got a lot of things right in his article. College football is an awesomely inspirational sport that’s uniquely American.

But it’s time to stop looking at it through rose-colored lenses.

Why? Here are 100 reasons.

1. I hate universities that make football a priority over education.

2. That in my home state of Arkansas, the football coach makes more than the medical school’s Chief of Surgery.

3. I hate the over-commercialization of the game.

4. Naming rights.

5. That places like TCF Bank Stadium and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium exist.

6. Fields with corporate stains on them.

7. The sheer number of bowl games. We’re up to 35 and counting.

8. 6-6 teams qualifying for a bowl.

9. And that nearly all the bowl games have names that sound like advertising slogans.

10. I hate that winning the Heisman Trophy has become a beauty contest.

11. Tim Tebow finishing as a Heisman finalist in 2008, while Graham Harrell missed the cut.

12. The stigma toward defensive players. If Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh couldn’t win one, what hope is there?

13. The fact that there are 125 schools competing in the FBS this year and no player outside of the Power Six has a chance to win the Heisman.

14. Stadium expansion while the rest of campus crumbles.

15. And the belief that having a bigger stadium equates having a better team.

16. Houston Nutt. We put up with this guy for a decade. How?

17. I hate pay-for-play proponents.

18. Writers who claim the NCAA treats [football] players like slaves.

19. Senior seasons. And the stigma that comes with it. Because in today’s game it usually means the player has no football prospects after college. Either that, or he’s a reserve.

20. The players who don’t care about the tradition or the pageantry of college football.

21. Knowing that they wouldn’t stick around campus any longer than they already have to.

22. I hate the BCS. Even now that it’s gone. I hate, hate, hate it.

23. Remember in 2003, when Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 Championship Game but still got to play in the BCS Championship Game?

24. Or when the Sooners got in again the next year instead of Auburn, and got thrashed by USC?

25. An inept and out of touch NCAA.

26. That high-profile schools and players often escape harsh punishments.

27. Terrell Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas playing in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

28. Also, we are two years removed from the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami (Fla.). Remember that? I guess a handful of suspensions was enough to satisfy the NCAA.

29. People who feel sorry for Joe Paterno and Penn State.

30. That for a few months, the fate of Penn State’s football program and Joe Paterno’s legacy was more talked about than Jerry Sandusky’s victims.

31. I hate that the Southwest Conference, one of college football’s premier leagues for more than 80 years, collapsed.

32. And the domino effect of conference realignment that it started.

33. West Virginia being in the Big 12.

34. Syracuse moving to the ACC.

35. Missouri joining the SEC instead of Florida State or Clemson.

36. The idea of Connecticut, South Florida, and Tulsa all being in the same conference.

37. I hate that most teams schedule an absolute dog on homecoming.

38. The fact that Florida hasn’t played an out of conference opponent on the road in nearly 25 years.

39. Indiana being a football-member of the Big 10.

40. That schools have cut down on playing in neutral site locations across their state.

41. Alabama and Auburn moving the Iron Bowl out of Legion Field.

42. Ole Miss and Mississippi State moving the Egg Bowl away from Jackson, Miss.

43. I hate the kitschy announcers.

44. Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist.

45. Pam Ward.

46. Brent Musberger.

47. Bob Griese.

48. This guy.

49. Can’t forget Mark May and Lou Holtz, either.

50. I hate that the Oklahoma-Texas game changed its name to the “Red River Rivalry.”

51. That Arkansas and Arkansas State won’t play each other.

52. The SEC crackdown on cowbells at Mississippi State games.

53. Boise State’s “Smurf Turf.”

54. Eastern Washington’s red turf.

55. The University of Central Arkansas’ alternating purple and gray turf.

56. I hate the ridiculous number of terrible uniform combinations.

The Maryland Terrapins have got to be the worst offenders.

57. People who think Bedlam is a premiere rivalry game. C’mon, Oklahoma holds an 75-17-7 all-time advantage. The Sooners only lost one game between 1967 and 1994.

58. AP writers who give No. 1 votes to undeserving teams.

59. The terrible officials that permeate every conference.

60. The terrible officiating that seems to haunt every big Arkansas game.

61. I hate how ESPN only gives intense coverage to the established programs.

62. The completely undeserved hype a high-profile program gets if it starts the season 2-0.

(Looking at you, 2009 Miami Hurricanes.)

63. And remember when good coaches used to stay at one school for an extended amount of time?

64. I hate that fans are dissuaded from storming the field.

65. That it happens too often now.

66. And that you might get arrested if you do it.

67. Oh, and the SEC will levy a serious fine against your school as well.

68. I hate that a pizza and a coke at Razorback stadium costs more than $20.

69. That Arkansas made student tickets harder to get.

70. Let’s not forget, they also stopped guaranteeing students seats.

71. And U of A’s eagerness to build a new practice facility while the campus runs out of space for its students.

72. I hate the “facilities arms races.”

73. Which happen while a majority of college students and athletes of less popular sports wallow in debt that will haunt them the rest of their lives. (Marble floors imported from Italy, are you kidding me?)

74. The people who believe football players “go pro” in something outside the world of football.

75. The people who believe a majority of college football players are “student athletes.”

76. And people who think the football players live in a dorm and eat in a cafeteria similar to anything like that of a normal student.

77. That students are forced to move their cars from student lots before game day and have to pay out of pocket to park it somewhere else. (Often far from their dorms.)

78. That Matt Leinart got to play one more season at USC because he took Ball Room Dancing as his only class.

79. Athletes who get free (expensive) textbooks and sell them back at a profit.

80. That Arkansas’ beautiful video replay board has most of its picture obscured by AT&T ads.

81. I hate how football players are treated differently than their fellow student athletes.

82. When authorities look the other way when a member of the football team is involved in a quagmire.

83. Case in point: Michael Dyer.

84. Coaches who get a slap on the wrist.

85. Jim Tressle at Ohio State.

86. And that Tressel actually believed Pryor’s promise that he would return for his senior season.

87. The rap sheet for Urban Meyer’s players.

88. And many (Leach), many others.

89. The depressing notion that steroids might have infiltrated the college game.

90. I hate that the Arkansas-Texas rivalry is dead.

91. And the Hogs will no longer play LSU at the end of the season.

92. Instead we’ll play Missouri. The Hogs have played the Tigers five times. Five. Now it replaces the LSU game. Yippee.

93. Even though I won’t miss LSU’s Les Miles mispronouncing Arkansas.

94. This pass interference call against Arkansas in the 2010 Florida game.

95. That Bobby Petrino will coach a major Division I team again.

96. The fact that the immortal Bear Bryant (an Arkansas native) potentially was taking a job in Fayetteville when World War II broke out.

97. Coaches who abandon their schools because of an oncoming scandal. (Looking at you, Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly).

98. Razorback fans who think winning a national title makes or breaks the season. (We’ve only appeared in three SEC Championship Games since leaving the SWC in 1991)

99. That tons of scholarships go to football, leaving the rest of the athletic programs to fight over the scraps.

100. And lastly, I hate that there are so many egregious problems with a sport I love so dearly.

10 Plausible NFL Conspiracies

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With the 2014 NFL season upon us, Enter the Razorback decided to take a different approach in covering kickoff week. The list below profiles  some of the league’s most noteworthy — and plausible — conspiracy theories.

10. Jimmy Hoffa was buried under Giants Stadium

The infamous union activist disappeared in 1975, around the same time construction was underway on Giants Stadium. Based on accounts from hitmen allegedly involved with Hoffa’s death, they dismembered his body before dropping the remains inside a concrete drum located at the construction site. Mythbusters investigated the rumors and came up empty. But if Hoffa’s body wasn’t there, how else do you explain Jerry Rice’s fumble in the ’86 playoffs?

9. Dome teams pump in crowd noise

Now that domed stadiums are ubiquitous across the NFL, accusations that teams pump in artificial noise have increased tenfold. Numerous coaches and players complain about the nuisance, which dates back to the late 1980s when the Minnesota Vikings’ Metrodome drew unwanted attention for its ear-splitting cheers.

More recently, the Indianapolis Colts, were charged with pumping in noise during the 2007 season. Despite the peculiar sounds coming through fans’ TV screens, the Colts were cleared of any wrongdoing on the dubious explanation that it was a technical glitch inside the RCA Dome.

8. Pro football is rife with Adderall abuse

nfl-conspiracies-2The Seattle Seahawks have taken the brunt of negative headlines regarding NFL players testing positive for Adderall. The drug, which is primarily used to treat attention deficit disorders and narcolepsy, can also serve as a “cognitive enhancer.” It’s become a popular supplement for players looking to gain an “edge” on game day.

Recent busts involved two of Seattle’s high-profile defensive stars, Bruce Irvin and Richard Sherman. Both players took Adderall looking for the upper-hand over the competition. Trying to deflect attention, Sherman claimed that “half the league uses Adderall.” A ominous statement for sure, but there have been a significant number of suspensions tied to the use of similar amphetamines over the last five years.

7. Does the NFL “hate” the Oakland Raiders?

Talk to any Raiders fan and you’ll hear endless stories about how the NFL has a grudge against Oakland. And evidence suggests that Raider Nation has a legitimate gripe.

For starters, there was a well-known rivalry between longtime Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. There were endless stories (usually one-sided) that Rozelle did everything in his power to undermine Davis, which culminated in a heated legal battle when Oakland tried to move to LA. But Davis didn’t make things easy. The abrasive owner drew the ire of the NFL in the late 60s, when he spurred a bidding war between the rival leagues. There’s also the issue of the 1983 NFL draft, when the Raiders failed to land John Elway and Davis blamed it on meddling by league officials.

More recent accusations have been hurled thanks to the infamous “Tuck rule” and examples of questionable officiating that have hindered Oakland’s success.

6. Super Bowl III was fixed

nfl-conspiracies-3It would be a travesty if the biggest upset in NFL history was actually a well-crafted ploy to drum up support for the AFL-NFL merger. But over the last four decades, Super Bowl III has been the target of several conspiracy theories, namely that it was rigged.

Colts fans often point to the bizarre interception(s) thrown by quarterback Earl Morrall, as evidence of foul play. Morrall, who was the MVP of 1968, missed a wide-open Jimmy Orr, who was waving his hands in the end zone late in the first half. Former Colts players have chimed in as well, claiming that the New York Jets needed to win to keep the AFL afloat. Bubba Smith, Baltimore’s Pro Bowl defensive end, possibly referring to the looming merger, that there was too much money at stake for the Jets to lose.

There’s also allegations that Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom bet against his own team and that Jets quarterback Joe Namath was urged by the mafia to throw the game.

5. The NFL orchestrated the “Blackout Bowl”

The Baltimore Ravens put a stranglehold on the San Fransisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. And with the Ravens leading 28-6 early in the second half, a Baltimore victory seemed to be little more than a formality.

Then the unexpected happened.

The Louisiana Superdome suffered a power outage, resulting in a 34-minute delay. The break revitalized the 49ers, who scored 17 unanswered points. San Fransisco’s incredible comeback turned the game from a blowout into a nail-biter. This sudden shift in momentum kept the NFL from losing viewers, and thus billions in advertising dollars — or so one theory says.

While Baltimore held on for a thrilling victory, current and former Ravens players contend the NFL was plotting against them. Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis said the blackout happened to make the game more competitive; meanwhile, teammate Terrell Suggs claimed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used “parlor tricks” because of a personal bias against Baltimore.

Other theories cast a large net of blame, citing everyone from irate New Orleans Saints and 49ers fans, to Bane and Beyonce as the true culprits.

4. LA is just a bargaining chip

When the Raiders and Rams departed Los Angeles in the mid 1990s, the possibility of SoCal recouping a pro football team has been a never-ending saga of letdowns. It seems every other season a well-established franchise is on the brink of moving to LA.

Usually, the threat is spurred by the team wanting a new stadium (with a lot of help from the taxpayers). Over the past decade, cities routinely caved and agreed to help fund new facilities. But do these stadium deals really just serve to keep teams in their original or current cities. In fact, what if moving to LA is just a threat that owners agreed could be used to hold cities (and their taxpayers) on the hook for construction expenses?

Some writers are convinced the NFL has left LA for good. Empty threats from owners (the last franchise to relocate was the Houston Oilers, which moved from Houston to Nashville in 1997 to become the Tennessee Titans), the NFL’s unapologetic plans to put a franchise in Europe and Goodell’s reticence to commit a team to the region give this theory credence.

3. Spygate was worse than we thought

nfl-conspiracies-5Not long after Goodell took over as commissioner, news broke in fall 2007 that the New England Patriots had videotaped the New York Jets’ signal calls during a recent game. Those who viewed the tapes said it gave the Patriots an unfair advantage, but the real news stemmed from complaints that the Pats had been videotaping their opponents for years, including the St. Louis Rams’ practice ahead of Super Bowl XXXVI, which New England won.

Since the NFL destroyed the notes and videotapes associated with Spygate not long after its investigation, some have charged the league with covering up rampant cheating by the Patriots. Another theory says that the scandal is more complex. Supposedly, this type of behavior is so widespread that New England coach Bill Belichick sent Goodell tapes from other teams videotaping their opponents’ practices. The commissioner, fearful to clamp down on systemic cheating, chose only to punish New England and protect the NFL’s image.

2. The ’99 Browns were “set up to fail”

In 1995, the NFL expanded to 30 teams when it added the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams quickly found success, reaching their respective conference championships the following season. Their meteoric rise — unprecedented for expansion teams — allegedly rankled owners of more established clubs. So when Cleveland regained a franchise in 1999, established NFL owners conspired to curb the Browns’ efforts to field a competitive team.

The theory, postulated by former Cleveland sports writer Terry Pluto, is one of the most well-researched entries on the list. Backed up by loads of peculiar evidence, which includes numerous examples of roadblocks the Browns faced thanks to the league’s other owners, the theory’s implications are startling. It serves as an explanation as to why the Browns have struggled mightily since rejoining the NFL. And while it doesn’t totally absolve the Browns of their failures since returning to Ohio, it certainly explains some of their early hurdles.

1. Who was New England’s “man in the trench coat”?

NFL fans would have a hard time recognizing the New England Patriots in their formative years.

Known as the Boston Patriots for the first decade of their existence, the club only made one playoff appearance between 1960-1970. The Pats wouldn’t appear in a Super Bowl until the 80s, and nearly 20 more years would pass before they became one of the dominant franchise of the modern era.

One thing those early Patriots teams did have going for them was sterling fan support. Playing inside the constricted confines of Fenway Park, fans were often right on top of the action. It wasn’t uncommon for fans to stand along the sidelines during a game or pat players on the back near the team benches. And in 1961, one fan took advantage of that unfettered access, helping the Pats pull off a much-needed victory.

The unknown fan, identified only by his trench coat, was standing directly behind the opponent’s end zone during the game’s waning minutes. With New England leading the Dallas Texans 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, the Texans were threatening at the Patriots goal line. But as Dallas’ Cotton Davidson dropped back to pass, the overzealous fan sprinted onto the field and deflected the ball. As soon as the ball hit the turf, the crowd stormed onto the field.  No one, not even the officials, realized what happened until the film was reviewed nearly a week later by coaches.

The gentleman became known in Patriots lore as the “man in the trench coat.” Rumors were rampant that the fan was actually Patriots owner Billy Sullivan, who was often spotted in a similar trench coat. Sullivan embraced the publicity, never denying the rumors.

5 Iconic Stadiums That Didn’t Get A Proper Farewell

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Dozens of iconic American stadiums have come and gone over the last two centuries. Unfortunately, some of them weren’t spared the agony of decay and neglect. The five stadiums on this list were once sanctuaries for their teams and landmarks in the community. Sadly, their legacies were tarnished thanks to years of abandonment.

5. Metropolitan Stadium — Bloomington, Minn.

Known affectionately to Minnesotans as “the Met,” Metropolitan stadium was the original home of the Vikings and the Twins. Built on a farm in 1956 for the minor league Minneapolis Millers, the stadium eventually lured the Washington Senators to Bloomington, and later, the NFL expansion Vikings.

Minn. Star TribuneDespite its disjointed seating — the outfield bleachers weren’t even connected — the Met (1961-1981) proved to be indispensable for its tenants.

Only four years after leaving D.C., the Twins won the American League pennant by seven games before losing a hard-fought World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Earlier that summer, the Met hosted the annual MLB All-Star Game, which saw six Twins make the American League squad. And while the brutal Minnesota winters were great for the Vikings, they were anathema for their opponents. The Purple People Eaters reached four Super Bowls during their 20-year tenure at the Met, largely thanks to the decisive home-field advantage.

Even The Beatles dropped by the Met for a concert. It was the group’s lone gig in The Gopher State.

But during the 1970s, the Met fell into disrepair. The stadium was notorious for its dilapidated facilities, poorly maintained field, and considered one of the worst venues in professional sports.

By 1982, both the Twins and Vikings had moved into the Metrodome. The Met was officially abandoned, and it became a breeding ground for vandalism and urban explorers. Eventually razed in 1985, the Mall of America was erected in its place nearly a decade later.

4. Tulane Stadium — New Orleans, La.

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For almost half a century, Tulane Stadium was one of the most revered football venues in America. The home of the Sugar Bowl from its inaugural game in 1935 until 1974, Tulane Stadium holds a special place in the annals of both college and pro football.

Opened in 1926 as the third home of the Tulane Green Wave football team, Tulane Stadium (1926-1980) became a household name thanks to the prestige of the Sugar Bowl. When the NFL expanded to New Orleans in the late 1960s, the Saints used Tulane Stadium for their home field from 1967-1974. It was there in 1970 that Saints kicker Tom Demspey booted a then-record 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions.

Nola.com - Times-Picayune ArchivesThanks to its seating capacity of nearly 81,000 and ideal location in the Big Easy, Tulane Stadium was a popular choice for the Super Bowl. The stadium hosted three NFL championships in a six year span, and is one of five host stadiums no longer standing.

But in 1975, on the same day that the lavish Superdome opened, Tulane Stadium was condemned. Much of the stadium was shuttered, but thanks the outcry of university officials, it remained viable for NFL practices, high school football games, and other low profile events.

A gloomy relic in its twilight years, Tulane Stadium was completely demolished by 1980. Dorm rooms and other university facilities occupy the site today.

3. Astrodome — Houston, Tex.

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Hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965, the Houston Astrodome was the Arc de Triomphe of American stadiums. For visionary Roy Hofheinz, the Astrodome wasn’t just the center of Houston’s sports universe, but its entertainment hub as well.

The world’s first indoor, multipurpose domed stadium, the Astrodome was replete with swanky restaurants, upholstered seats, and opulent luxury boxes. Everything the modern fan (and athlete) takes for granted today was pioneered by the Astrodome.

But the dome’s influence wasn’t limited to its wondrous engineering. In 1968, the Astrodome (1965-2006) inadvertently revolutionized the sports landscape when it hosted college basketball’s “Game of the Century.” The showdown pitted No. 1 UCLA against No. 2 Houston, with the Cougars edging the Bruins 71-69 in front of more than 50,000 fans. The positive response to college basketball’s first regular season game aired in prime time nationwide was unprecedented, and the NCAA picked the Astrodome to host the 1971 Final Four. Nearly four decades later, practically every Final Four is played in a football stadium.Houston Astrodome, 1965

In the fall of ’68 the Astrodome opened its doors to the NFL’s Houston Oilers. The notion that football could be  virtually weatherproof  was groundbreaking. The dome’s affect on football can still be felt today, as evidenced by the proliferation of domed stadiums — most of which keep the roof closed all season.

Despite its extravagance,  Oilers owner Bud Adams felt that the Astrodome wasn’t enough for his troubled franchise. In the mid-1990s, Adams threatened to move the team if Houston didn’t fund construction for a new stadium. The city had already buckled to his demands before, removing the stadium’s iconic, “Astrolite” scoreboard in 1988.

City officials refused to budge this time, and the Oilers departed for Tennessee in 1997. The Astros made a similar request, but stayed put when funding for Minute Maid Park was secured. Despite voters rejecting a measure to renovate the Astrodome in November 2013, the stadium has yet to be demolished as of this writing. Its fate is still uncertain.

2. Silverdome — Pontiac, Mich.

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Once a state-of-the-art domed facility built to house a multitude of events, the Pontiac Silverdome is nearly unrecognizable today.

Originally part of a larger “urban renewal” project for Pontiac, Mich. — which included plans for a dual stadium complex — the palatial Silverdome was the only building to materialize from C. Don Davidson’s vision to revitalize the sleepy suburb.

Opened in 1975, the Silverdome was declared the world’s largest inflatable domed stadium. One of the few facilities of its era built without accommodations for baseball, it paved the way for facilities like the Hoosier Dome and the Metrodome.

Due to its cavernous seating capacity — just north of 80,000 — the Silverdome was the NFL’s largest stadium for more than two decades. Despite its short lifespan (1975-2001), the Silverdome hosted a number of prestigious events, including Super Bowl XVI, the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, Wrestlemania III, a handful of World Cup matches, the 1988 NBA Finals, and several legendary musicians. It was also the site of the Lions’ last home playoff victory.

SilverdomeBut when the Lions bolted to Ford Field in 2002, the Silverdome was left without a primary tenant. Pontiac experienced a financial crisis trying to maintain the stadium, and the Silverdome quickly fell into ruin. There dome hosted a handful of events between 2003-2005, but it closed in 2006. Auctioned off in 2009, it reopened in 2010, and its parking lot was briefly used as a drive-in.

There were plans to use the Silverdome as a stadium for an MLS team. But when that fell through, the dome again was left untended, and it deteriorated rapidly. The roof collapsed in 2012, and mother nature took over from there. Most of the field is submerged, dotted with Teflon corpses. Hallways are flooded, expensive equipment languishes, and the once glitzy luxury boxes are decrepit.

The Silverdome’s most recent owner started auctioning off parts of the stadium in June 2014. Despite the Silverdome’s likely fate, the high cost of demolition has postponed its demise.

1. Tiger Stadium — Detroit, Mich.

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Opened the same week the Titanic sank, Tiger Stadium (1912-1999) was one of Major League Baseball’s most storied venues.

Tiger Stadium’s location on the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Trumble Ave. gave rise to its nickname, “The Corner.” Its compact and intimate design allowed fans to get close to the game, especially when equipped for baseball. Despite a handful of obstructed views common to parks of its era, Tiger Stadium’s upper deck was considered one of the best in the majors for watching a baseball game.

For power hitters though, it was something of an enigma. The upper deck in left field was practically two stories tall and about 340 feet from home plate. Only four players ever cleared the roof in left: Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Cecil Feilder, and Mark McGwire.

The home of the Tigers and the NFL’s Detroit Lions for more than four decades, Tiger Stadium saw an incredible run of success for its two professional sports teams. The Tigers won four World Series and eight of their 11 American League pennants at The Corner.

Tigers2The Lions, meanwhile, had their most successful tenure in team history at Tiger Stadium, winning three NFL Championships in a five year span.

The Corner also hosted other monumental sporting events through the early 1970s. Joe Louis defended his world heavyweight title in 1939, knocking out Bob Pastor in what was then called Briggs Stadium. MLB also awarded three All-Star games to The Corner. The final midsummer classic in the venerable park was in 1971, when Reggie Jackson smash the longest home run in All-Star history.

In 1989, Tiger Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places. But by the mid 1990s, the antiquated facility started to wear on management. Plans to refurbish Tiger Stadium failed to get traction, and when construction began for a new ballpark in 1997, The Corner seemed destined for demolition.

Tiger Stadium’s sendoff was bittersweet. Detroit won its final home game, but the stadium was shuttered soon after. Efforts to save or preserve it fell on deaf ears, and The Corner became little more than a backdrop for movies and TV specials.

Unlike most American sports facilities, Tiger Stadium wasn’t demolished after its successor opened, and the new millennium offered little respite to The Corner. Its continued deterioration brought comparisons to  the urban decay sweeping Detroit. But in 2008, demolition finally began. By Sept. 2009, there was nothing left but its frayed baseball diamond. Still, the community rallied around what remained, and worked tirelessly to preserve the memory of one of baseball’s sanctuaries.

Razorback Stadium: 75 Years In Pictures

Razorback Stadium celebrated its 75th season as Arkansas’ primary football home in 2013. This gallery showcases the stadium’s evolution over the past seven decades.

Unintended Consequences

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Ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com ran a story on former Arkansas coaches and players who appeared in the NFL’s championship game. The list was meant to showcase the litany of players the Razorbacks have sent to football’s most hallowed game.

Instead, it served as a sad reminder of the shortage of decent pro players who attended the state’s flagship university.

Outside of Steve Atwater and Dan Hampton, only a handful of former Hogs have ever had any measurable impact on their team’s championship season, let alone effected the outcome of a Super Bowl.

A few Hogs have shined on Super Sunday, though. All-SWC tailback Lance Alworth caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl VI. Hampton anchored Chicago’s ferocious defensive line when the Bears trounced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Meanwhile, Atwater, who knocked out a Broncos teammate in Super Bowl XXXII, headlined a stingy Denver secondary.

However, to today’s fan, this all happened eons ago.

The most recent Razorback to appear in the Super Bowl? Seattle lineman Alvin Bailey. While his team did win the game, his only noteworthy play was a holding penalty which brought back a Seahawks first down.

Oh lord, it’s hard to be humble.

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Dan Hampton (99) and Lance Alworth are the only two Razorbacks to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

However, Arkansas has sent a litany of coaches to the NFL, many of whom not only found success at the pro level, but attained Super Bowl glory.

Joe Gibbs, Barry Switzer, and Jimmy Johnson all guided teams to NFL titles. Pete Carroll, despite spending only one year with the team — as a graduate assistant in 1977 — joined that hallowed fraternity on Sunday. Even more remarkable, all three joined the short list of coaches who have won an NCAA national championship and an NFL title.

Others, like Baltimore Colts legend Raymond Berry, Arkansas’ receivers coach from 1970-72, guided the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1985. Monte Kiffin, the Hogs defensive coordinator in the late 70s, was the defensive play-caller for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2008. His innovative Tampa-2 defense helped the Bucs thrash the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Most of the aforementioned coaches emanated from one man: Frank Broyles. The legendary Arkansas coach sullied his legacy thanks to his tumultuous reign as the school’s athletic directory, but fans can’t deride his coaching career. He presided over the Hogs lone national championship and is largely responsible for the success of Razorbacks athletics.

Now that’s something to showcase.