The End Of A Razorback Era
Bumpkin Bob here with a few thoughts on the Razorbacks and the ongoing issue surrounding War Memorial Stadium. Perhaps the most controversial topic amongst Razorback fans is whether or not any home games should be played in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium, let alone if more than one should be played there. This topic has again come to light recently with the threat of the U of A no longer playing games in Little Rock after the 2018 football season.
Growing up the son of an avid Razorback fan, most of my earlier Razorback experiences were at War Memorial in Little Rock. One of the most memorable games was in 1989 when Quinn Grovey and the "wild band of razorback hogs" took the field against a strong Andre Ware and Houston for a high scoring, high yardage game. Arkansas came into the game knowing the throwing offense of Houston would be tough to beat and knew they would have to adapt to the same. Hatfield let his star quaterback lose, and the Razorbacks were able to roll up 647 yards in total offense and 45 points to beat the Cougars. It was a game that kept us in the hunt for the SWC title. And who could forget the "Miracle on Markham", the epic showdown between Arkansas and LSU at War Memorial. It was a Battle for the Boot and the deciding game of the SEC Western Division. These are special moments for any program.
Arkansas, however, seems to dismiss the fans' need for a place like War Memorial. When it began, it was done as a way to attract money and students both to the university, which at the time was far from it's fan base. Arkansas wanted One Team, One State, and Little Rock accomplished that for us. Now, it seems Fayetteville has grown tired of taking money from central Arkansas donors or serving games closer to their extended fan base. Remember, UALR does not have a football program, so most of central Arkansans, save those in Conway, either by default or through the generations that proceeded them, have become Razorback fans. This, too, may be changing soon.
UALR has recently announced a feasibility study for starting a football program in Little Rock and hosting their games at War Memorial Stadium. Now, I will agree with most Razorback fans, in that this won't affect much over the next 5 or 10 years, but what about 20 years down the road? In 20 years, UALR would have time to build a program. Football fans around Little Rock and alumnus and current students of UALR would attend those games and root for those players. When kids start getting presents or parents buy hoodies, t-shirts, etc, for them, which football program do you think will be represented? Sure the Razorbacks will at first, but more and more Little Rock football fans will become UALR fanatics just as Jonesboro residents have become A-State fanatics. Money from merchandise will flow to UALR, and eventually, so, too, will the booster dollars that are flowing to the Razorback Booster now. If you think you can't afford a coach that can compete in the SEC now, wait until you run off Little Rock donors because you won't play a game down there any more. Even worse, keep losing games while other state programs continue to thrive and draw attention (Arkansas State)...the Razorbacks can't have it there way; they must listen to the fans.
The Arkansas Razorbacks and the powers that be in the athletic department seem to keep pushing down this road. No longer does the university wish to see War Memorial Striped on Game Day, or the entire golf course filled with tailgaters waiting for their beloved Hogs to play. Where does this lead? Where do the fans fall on this, and do the Arkansas Razorbacks come out of this alive and kicking?
Let us know...
Till Next Time Bumpkins!
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