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.

Blown Coverage: Pony Excess Whiffs On Arkansas-SMU Game

University of Arkansas Archives

If you missed ESPN’s 30 for 30 special chronicling the rise and fall of Southern Methodist’s football program, then you’re in luck. It’s now available for streaming on Netflix.

One of the series’ more riveting documentaries, Pony Excess focuses on SMU’s sudden resurgence as a national power in the 1970s and 80s, while also probing the program’s shady recruiting tactics. The film pays special attention to the Mustangs 1982 team, which finished 11-0-1 and claimed a piece of the national championship, albeit at a hefty price.

While the filmmakers did a terrific job of weaving a complex tale of corruption into a gripping film, their coverage of the Arkansas-SMU game, a polarizing match-up for both fan bases, was severely lacking. The Hogs were one of only two ranked teams the Mustangs faced in the regular season, and the game matched the conference’s best two teams. A controversial call essentially decided the outcome, forcing the NCAA to change a its pass interference rules. And the outcome effectively set in motion the collapse of the Southwest Conference.

So how could they have devoted so little time to it?

BACKGROUND

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Craig James (32) and Eric Dickerson (19) guided SMU to a 34-11-1 record between 1979 and 1982.

The Mustangs entered the 1982 season as defending Southwest Conference champions. They returned a wealth of talent, too, anchored on offense by two of the nation’s best running backs: Craig James and Eric Dickerson. Meanwhile, Wes Hopkins and Gary Moten headlined a defense that allowed a paltry 11.6 points per game. The SWC was theirs to lose.

Also, understand that back then, winning the SWC was comparable to winning the SEC. The SWC was stacked top to bottom with established programs that played physical, defensive-minded football. Thanks to tie-ins with all the major bowls of the era, if a team made it through the SWC unscathed, they’d likely be playing for a shot at the national title.

As luck would have it, the conference was “down” in ’82. All the Mustangs really had to worry about in terms of adequate competition was Texas and Arkansas. None of the other six SWC teams even finished with winning records.

SMU easily dispatched Texas early in the season, thumping the No. 19 Longhorns in Austin, 30-17. Pony Excess gave that game ample coverage, portraying the Mustangs in an underdog role, as if SMU beating Texas finally meant their program needed to be taken seriously.

The Mustangs followed a win over Texas with blowouts against Texas A&M and Rice, beating the Aggies and Owls by a combined 88-23. Undefeated (9-0) and ranked No. 2 in the country, SMU was scheduled to face a mediocre Texas Tech squad in Lubbock, where the Mustangs hadn’t won since 1968. This had “trap game” written all over it.

Battling to a 24-24 standstill, the Red Raiders appeared to have spoiled SMU’s national title hopes when they tied the game with just 17 seconds left to play. But on the ensuing kickoff, SMU’s Bobby Leach took a lateral from Blaine Smith and sprinted 91 yards for the game winning touchdown.


The miraculous win set up a mammoth showdown between No. 2 SMU (10-0) and No. 9 Arkansas (8-1). The Mustangs could clinch the SWC with a victory.

THE GAME

University of Arkansas Archives

Arkansas’ Billy Ray Smith, Jr. (87) was a consensus All-American defensive end in 1982.

Arkansas was still seething from its loss to SMU in 1981. Adding to the Hogs’ woes, they were were also just two weeks removed from an inexplicable loss to an inferior Baylor squad.

Needless to say, the Razorbacks were fired up heading into Dallas that weekend.

Playing inside a rowdy Texas Stadium, Arkansas scored first, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 3-yard run from running back Gary Anderson. Following an SMU turnover, Arkansas had a chance to go up 10-0, but the Mustangs blocked the Hogs field goal attempt.

Riding the momentum, Dickerson scored on a 6-yard run a few plays later to tie the game. Neither team scored again before halftime.

In the third quarter, the Mustangs took a 10-7 lead on Jeff Harrell’s 49-yard field goal. But the Hogs countered with a field goal of their own, as Martin Smith booted in three points from 27 yards out.

Midway through the fourth quarter, still tied at 10, Arkansas put together its best drive of the afternoon. The Hogs marched 77 yards to SMU’s goal line, where Anderson punched it in to give Arkansas a commanding 17-10 lead with just six minutes left in regulation.

The Mustangs regained possession of the ball deep in their own territory. After struggling to gain positive yardage on its first two plays, SMU faced a third-and-long with just over four minutes remaining. Knowing he was short on time, quarterback Lance McIlhenny dropped back and hurled a prayer downfield to receiver Jackie Wilson.


It still hurts to watch.

Nathan Jones, Arkansas’ sophomore defensive back, was actually a few steps ahead of Wilson on the play. Realizing the ball was overthrown (you can actually see it sail past both players at the :40 mark), Jones started to slow down. Wilson, watching the ball, unwittingly ran into Jones, trampling and pulling him to the ground.

Referee Horton Nsersta whistled Jones for the infraction, handing the Mustangs a 40-yard gain. Pass interference was a “spot foul” back in ‘82. Meaning, whichever team benefited from the infraction gained all the yardage accumulated between the line of scrimmage and the location of the penalty.

So instead of SMU being backed up even further on fourth down, the Mustangs were in Arkansas’ red zone with a fresh set of downs.

The rest of the game is sordid history – to Hog fans at least.

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 Championship for SMU and secured the Mustangs Cotton Bowl berth.

THE AFTERMATH

Arkansas' Gary Anderson (43) rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns to win MVP honors at the 1982 Blue Bonnet Bowl.

Arkansas’ Gary Anderson (43) rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns to win MVP honors at the 1982 Blue Bonnet Bowl.

Like most soul-crushing defeats in Arkansas football history, the Razorbacks followed their game against SMU with another letdown. No. 12 Texas thrashed the Hogs, 33-7, in Austin the following Saturday, and Arkansas fell out of the top 10. The Razorbacks limped to a third-place finish in the SWC.

SMU, meanwhile, had completed its conference schedule by beating Arkansas. The Mustangs went on to upend Dan Marino and the No. 6 Pittsburgh Panthers in the Cotton Bowl in a track meet, 7-3. The bowl victory secured a final No. 2 ranking  for the Mustangs, and the Helms Athletic Foundation awarded them its vote for national champions. An 11-1 Penn State team, widely recognized as the “true” champion of 1982, was awarded the No. 1 ranking by the Associated Press, United Press International and the Football Writers Association of America.

Arkansas found success in the postseason as well. The Hogs knocked off Florida in the Bluebonnet Bowl, 28-24, with Anderson earning MVP honors. To date, it’s the team’s only victory over Florida. The Razorbacks finished the season ranked ninth in the AP poll and No. 8 in the UPI.

In the mid-80s, the NCAA amended its pass interference rules, changing it from a spot foul to a 15-yard penalty. It was the second time since 1964 that Arkansas’ misfortune had been the catalyst for a major rule change.

So then why, after more than 30 years, is Enter the Razorback so torqued up about this game?

Because Pony Excess did a disservice in not adequately covering it. The Hogs were the only top 10 opponent the Mustangs faced in the regular season — how could such an important match-up get such little screen time?

Pony Excess is 102 minutes long, and here’s all the coverage it gave Arkansas-SMU:

“In 1982, the Mustangs dominated the college football landscape. But in the last game of the regular season, new coach Bobby Collins settled for a tie against Arkansas, putting a blemish on an otherwise perfect record.”

That narration was read over about 15 seconds of game footage.

We’re nearly two decades removed from the collapse of the SWC, but one fact still remains when it comes to discussing the Hogs: Arkansas isn’t Texas.

That’s how it went for the Razorbacks for the almost eight decades they spent in the SWC. Arkansas was the only non-Texas school in the conference, and despite being perennial contenders in the three major sports (football, basketball, baseball), the Razorbacks were always considered the stepchild of the SWC.

Glossing over the SMU-Arkansas exemplifies the attitudes and bias held toward the Texas schools in the SWC. Don’t believe us? Here’s what some of the former players said about the tie:

“That team was unstoppable,” said Doug Hollie, SMU’s defensive end. “No one could beat us, and we settled for a tie – that was a slap in the face.”

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Pictured above are members of the SWC from 1956-1975. Houston joined the conference in all sports in 1976.

Dickerson issued similar frustrations:

“I feel like they [the pollsters] really screwed us out of a national championship more than anything. I still believe we were the best team in the country. For sure.”

Arkansas, the tie, the historical context of the SWC, and the game’s ultimate ramifications, were little more than an afterthought in Pony Excess.

The irony is lost on these Hollie and Dickerson. How Hollie thinks the Mustangs were unstoppable, considering that the Razorbacks shut down Pony Express that day in Dallas — and were leading before officials gift-wrapped a 40-yard gain for the Mustangs — remains a mystery to us.

But Dickerson’s gall is the most troubling. How can he fail to see the similarities between the two teams? The Razorbacks’ season was derailed by forces beyond its control, too. But the only mention Arkansas gets from him is when he accused the Hogs of sharing SMU’s slimy recruiting tactics.

After more than 75 years of being overlooked, Arkansas saw the writing on the wall. Razorback administrators were sick of getting the shaft from Texas, sick of SWC officials, and sick of the salacious recruiting. Athletic Director Frank Broyles was  ready to move on. So in 1992, the Hogs bolted for the SEC. It was the beginning of the end for the SWC.

SMU, meanwhile, had its football program dismantled by the NCAA. The ensuing fallout from the pay-for-play scandal, combined with a dwindling lack of competition sans Arkansas, eventually dissolved the entire conference. The SWC officially disbanded in the summer of 1996, after the conclusion of the college baseball season. Founded in 1914, the Southwest Conference of college football’s most prestigious leagues, was dead.

The Mustangs and Hogs will be forever linked by their tie in 1982. If SMU hadn’t beaten Arkansas, the Mustangs likely wouldn’t have won the SWC. That means no Cotton Bowl appearance. And without that, they don’t finish ranked in the top three.

Maybe Arkansas rides that momentum and beats Texas. Then the Hogs have a shot at the Cotton Bowl. Maybe they don’t leave the SWC, adding stability to the conference. Maybe the SWC doesn’t collapse.

We’ll never know what could’ve happened, but at least the complete story is out there. It was about time.