BY MICHAEL LEESE
The first thing you need to know about attending a game at the University of Arkansas is how to call the Hogs. This has to be one of the better traditions in the country and there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, as I found out. I am proud to admit I had several fans get me dialed in before game time, so I was good to go before kickoff. Every home game, 76,000 fans stand in unison before kickoff and call the Hogs onto the field. The Hog Call is one of the most recognizable chants in all of sports.
Here are the basics, so you can practice at home:
1. Raise your arms above your head while yelling, “Woooooo” and wiggle your fingers for a few seconds.
2. Next, bring both arms straight down with fists clenched while yelling, “Pig.”
3. Then extend your right arm while yelling, “Sooie.”
4. Repeat these steps two more times and finish by yelling
It goes like this:
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie!
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie!
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!
WHAT IS A RAZORBACK? – There are a few different stories about just how the Razorbacks got their name, but the prominent one comes from all the way back in 1909. An account from Phil Huntley, a member of the 1909 team, says that when the team got off the train in Dallas someone yelled, “here come the hogs.” Head Coach Hugo Bezdek then said, “Boys, I like that. We’re the Razorbacks from now on.” During this season, Bezdek proclaimed his team played “like a wild band of razorback hogs” and the phrase became so popular the team changed its name from the Cardinals to the Razorbacks for the 1910 season. The Razorback, characterized by a ridge back and its tenacious, wild fighting ability, became a popular nickname, and one year later, the student body voted to change the official mascot to Razorbacks.
Tusk, the live mascot that represents the Razorbacks today is no barnyard pig. Tusk IV, the hairy hog that attends all Razorback home football games, is a Russian boar, which closely resembles the wild hogs known as razorbacks that are native to the Arkansas wilderness. These razorbacks are tough and at times ill-tempered — animals whose fearlessness and doggedness were the inspiration for the Razorback nickname.
The tradition of having a live Razorback mascot has been a fan favorite since the university’s first hoofed beast made its debut in the 1960’s.
SENIOR WALK ……The U of A boasts one of the most unique traditions found on any campus. Senior Walk, consisting of more than five miles of sidewalks engraved with the names of each one of more than 150,000 University of Arkansas graduates, dates back to 1876. It’s the university’s longest tradition in both length and years. Senior Walk is concrete proof of the university’s pride in its graduates.
SOME HISTORY……The first University of Arkansas football team was formed in 1894 and coached by John Futrall, who was a professor of Latin. That team played three games: two against Fort Smith High School and one against Texas, and finished with a 2-1 record. In 1909, Arkansas was declared the unofficial champions of the South and Southwest, after prevailing over powerhouses Oklahoma, LSU and Washington University of St. Louis. This was accomplished with the help of Steve Creekmore, perhaps the first Razorbacks star. He was a quarterback from Van Buren, Arkansas and under Bezdek, ran a very early edition of the hurry-up offense, never huddling and chasing the ball after every play. Creekmore was also known for “fast and slippery running, blocking, and passing” and could also return punts and tackle well.
HEADING SOUTHWEST …….The Razorbacks joined the Southwest Conference (SWC) as a charter member in 1915. The conference also included teams from Texas (Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M) and Oklahoma (Oklahoma, Oklahoma A&M). The Razorbacks struggled, and wouldn’t have a winning conference record until 1920. In 1933, Arkansas had the best record but had to forfeit the SWC Championship because Ulysses “Heine” Schleuter, who had no eligibility remaining, played on the team. Schleuter was recognized by an SMU player during the game as a former Cornhusker, after he told coach Fred Thomsen that he was eligible to play. That season, Arkansas made its first bowl game appearance, accepting an invitation to the 1934 Dixie Classic, the predecessor to today’s Cotton Bowl Classic. In 1936, the Hogs would win their first Southwest Conference Championship.
Arkansas won the conference in 1946, earning a bid in the 1947 Cotton Bowl Classic with LSU. The game would become known as the Ice Bowl, as a winter storm hit Dallas before the game. The two rivals battled to a scoreless tie, with Razorback great Clyde Scott tackling an LSU Tiger at the one yard0line to preserve the tie on the second-to-last play of the game. LSU would fail to complete the field goal attempt on the next play. In 1948, the Razorbacks defeated William & Mary in the Dixie Bowl.
THE FRANK BROYLES ERA……Frank Broyles was hired as head football coach in 1957 and served in that position for 19 years. Arkansas would become a national power with Broyles at the helm, winning several conference title and becoming the 1964 National Championship.
Arkansas would earn a share of the 1959 SWC Championship, splitting with Texas. That season, Arkansas lost only to No. 3 Texas and No.6 Ole Miss. The Hogs went to Jacksonville and defeated Georgia Tech in the 1960 Gator Bowl 14-7, avenging an earlier Cotton Bowl Classic defeat. Barry Switzer was a co-captain on the team.
The 1960’s was the best decade in Arkansas football history. The team was awarded the 1964 National Championship by the Football Writers Association of America and the Helms Athletic Foundation. The FWAA and HAF awarded their National Championships to Arkansas, who was the only team to remain undefeated after the bowl games that year, as Alabama lost in the Sugar Bowl to Texas, a team Arkansas had defeated. At the time, the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) awarded their national titles before the bowl games, and both gave their trophies to the University of Alabama.
The next season, 1965, the Razorbacks were 10-0 in the regular season, and were once again the Southwest Conference Champions. That sent the Razorbacks back to the Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year’s Day, this time to play against LSU. Because of the controversy in determining the national champion in 1964, the AP polls would wait until after the bowl games to announce its champion. With top-ranked Michigan State losing in the Rose Bowl, the No. 2 Razorbacks had a chance to become national champions, but were defeated 14-7 by the Tigers.
In 1969, the Razorbacks had another chance to claim the national title, when No.2 Arkansas played the No.1 Texas Longhorns, coached by Darrell Royal, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The game, known as “The Big Shootout” or the Game of the Century, is perhaps the most notable football game in Razorbacks history. Arkansas led 14-0 at halftime, but Texas stormed back and took a 15-14 lead on a two-point conversion play, after a questionable passing play was called late in the game by then coach Frank Broyles, which was intercepted by Texas. President Richard Nixon was in attendance, and proclaimed Texas the national champions, even though they had a bowl game to play, and Penn State was also undefeated. Arkansas would lose to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, 22–27, and Texas would beat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic for the national title.
Broyles, stepped down at the end of the 1976 season and became the Athletic Director of the school. His first order of business was to hire a new head football coach. He hired Lou Holtz who immediately led the team to a 10-1 regular season record, in what turned out to be one of the most intriguing seasons of football ever at the university.
The No. 6 Hogs were invited to play in the Orange Bowl against No. Oklahoma. The Sooners had a chance to become national champions with a win over the shorthanded Razorbacks, who had suffered a season-long rash of injuries and player suspensions. Prior to Christmas, the University announced that star running back Ben Cowins, leading receiver Donny Bobo, and back-up running back Michael Forrest would be suspended and were sent back to Fayetteville. Following the suspensions, several African-American players on the team threatened to boycott the game. The always-quotable Holtz said two days before the game, “I’m one step short of suicide.” The Razorbacks found an unlikely hero in Roland Sales, who rushed for 205 yards on 23 carries and two scores, and also led the Hogs in receiving in the contest. The Hogs ended any title hopes for the Sooners with a 31–6 victory. This game is notable not only as one of the biggest upsets in Razorback football history, but also for the cast of characters. University of Arkansas alumnus Barry Switzer coached the Sooners in the contest, and late in the game future Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt played quarterback for Holtz.
MOVING TO THE SEC……Broyles led a charge to move the Razorbacks to the SEC in 1992. Arkansas has made three appearances in the SEC Championship Game as winner of the SEC Western Division but the Hogs are 0-3 in those appearances. Arkansas was also the SEC Western Division co-champions in 1998 with Mississippi State but did not represent the SEC Western Division in the SEC Championship Game due to Mississippi State having won the head-to-head victory tiebreaker. In 2002 Alabama had the best conference record in the west with a 6-2 mark, but had been prohibited by the NCAA from participating in post season activity. Arkansas played in the SEC Championship game via being the winner of a three-way tie with Auburn and LSU, both of whom Arkansas had beaten that season.
ALL-AMERICANS AND HALL OF FAMERS……..Twenty three consensus All-Americans have played here. Some of the more notable ones include; Lance Alworth, Shawn Andrews, Chuck Dicus, Dan Hampton, Felix Jones, Steve Little, Johnathon Luigs, Darren McFadden, and Billy Ray Smith. Both Alworth and Hampton are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame!
A RECENT TEAM OF NOTE – The 2007 Arkansas Razorbacks, coached by Houston Nutt, and featuring Gus Malzahn as offensive coordinator had a 10-4 record, but played perhaps one of the hardest schedules ever. Their four losses came included losses National Champion Florida, No. 3 LSU, No.4 USC and No. 5 Wisconsin. During the season, they also defeated then No.2 Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. That year the Hogs may have had one of the best offensive backfields ever, featuring Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Payton Hillis.
THE GAME……Auburn’s Tre Mason gave head coach Gus Malzahn a welcome home present, as the Tiger tailback rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Tigers over the Razorbacks 35-17. Malzahn a former walk-on player and offensive coordinator at the school, refered to the visit home as a, “business trip.” Mason scored on a nine-yard run in the first quarter, and added a four-yard run in the second, to give the Tigers a 14-3 halftime advantage. The Junior tailback added two more scores in the second half to seal the victory. The Tiger defense forced three turnovers in the game to help stop Razorback scoring attempts. The loss was the sixth straight for the Razorbacks, the longest since the 1990 season. The six straight losses is also the longest of head coach Brett Bielema’s career.