Punch “the Policy” right in the junk. The Arkansas State Red Wolves will be playing the Arkansas Razorbacks in the sport of football, despite the horrible risks to recruiting, merchandising, fandom and fragile feelings. It’s going to happen, not because of a legislative mandate or an Act of God, but merely because the fans on both sides thought it was about damn time.
“We look forward to being part of a spirited in-state matchup of FBS programs for college football fans throughout the state. It will be an exciting day at historic War Memorial Stadium for the Red Wolves and Razorbacks.”Chuck Welch, A-State System President
Yeah, the arrangement is less-than-perfect. I’d have preferred a HvH arrangement rather than playing at War Memorial, but I’ll take it. I live in Little Rock. How very convenient. How convenient, really, for everyone. Why haven’t we done this much, much earlier?
If Razorback fans believe Arkansas State alums are falling to their knees in gratitude, brace yourself for another think. There is a loud contingent of Red Wolves fans who will grumble and grouse, rightly labeling War Memorial a “home venue” for the Hogs. They will also share a dim view of the Thursday night time slot. A smaller but more hardscrabble minority won’t even want to see the game played – the Red Wolves are just fine without acknowledgment of the school northwest, and we have nothing to gain by playing.
Me, I’m overlooking the warts for the cheekbones. The Red Wolves and Razorbacks are meeting on the gridiron – a dustup over a century in the making. For lo these many years, I loathed the Razorbacks for their elitist selfishness. I despised them for their cold-hearted imperialism and their monopoly over the media. I laughed ruefully whenever someone would refer to the University of Arkansas as “the state’s flagship university.” After all, what kind of flagship university abdicates its responsibility to helping its sibling institutions rises and succeed? They were bullies. Buttheads! Mingebags! A Fiddeling bends! Jacobites!
Clearly, I still have issues. And I’m going to have to wait four seasons until my trauma is met with closure. In the meantime, the Red Wolves and Razorbacks already have a game scheduled this year – on the diamond, when Arkansas State busses to Fayetteville in May. Let’s see how that tastes.
PHOTO CREDIT: It’s mine, MINE!