On the eve of Turkey Day, the curtain closes on another season of college football.
As a native Arkansan, it’s been a holiday tradition to watch my Hogs get beat by LSU.
Call it Black Eye Friday.
There’s not much to give thanks for this season. My Razorbacks peaked in their first game of the season, hammering a good ULL team, and have been downright awful since.
Even though most Tigers fans can’t understand why we view the Battle for the Gold Boot as a full-on rivalry (LSU owns the all time series 36-20-2), it’s the game that most fans in Arkansas circle long before a football is even teed up. It’s the ones the players, even though they may quit other games, usually get up for.
Call me negative, but I’m not icing the champagne tonight.
This year’s game is in Death Valley, and even though the Bayou Bengals are not their normal dominant selves, they’re miles above the Hogs. That means the close games with national title hopes sometimes hanging in the balance we saw for a while lose their luster.
There was a stretch of games, from 2005-2010, where they were all decided by 8 points or less. LSU was unranked only once in that stretch, and was even ranked as high as No. 1.
I can’t speak for the LSU side of things, but I can remember both last second victories in Little Rock — known across the border as the Miracle on Markham in 2002 (named for a street close to War Memorial Stadium where the games were played) and the Miracle on Markham II in 2008. As well as the three-OT victory against No. 1 in Baton Rouge.
I was personally on hand for Arkansas’ 2010 victory in Little Rock, coincidentally their last showdown that will conceivably be played there. As a late birthday present to my mother, a life-long Hog fan, I bought her a ticket and took her with me for her first Razorback game. A few big plays saw Arkansas beat No. 5 LSU and head to their first BCS bowl game.
It’s weird to be thankful to LSU for its role, but that’s a memory that will last a lifetime. It’s something that wouldn’t have been as amazing without the rivalry between the teams.
Even though I saw LSU lift the boot more often than Arkansas, I still appreciate our rivals. Living in LSU country has done nothing to dilute this rivalry in my heart, either.
Again, it’s just part of my holiday tradition.
Sad thing is, thanks to the SEC expansion and a revamp of these traditions, this is the last Black Friday LSU-Arkansas showdown we will see for the near future. Arkansas will close out its season by playing its much closer neighbor to the north, Missouri, while LSU will play the Texas A&M Aggies.
Honestly, I’m hoping this fires up the players enough to put on a show, one last time. It’s what we, as fans of college football, deserve. I think no matter how you line up in a couple days, in gold and purple or cardinal and white, a good game of football is a good game of football.
Now, wouldn’t that be something we could all be thankful for?
Sean Green is the Managing Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. You can contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org