Jim's Notebook: Where Arkansas Is Headed, and Improving That Awful Bowl Record

by Jim Harris  on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010 11:48 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

With Texas A&M's invitation to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and the extreme improbability that the bowl would pair A&M against Arkansas because they meet every year there, we can deduce that Arkansas is headed to New Orleans if Auburn beats South Carolina on Saturday, or much further eastward should Auburn lose.

The bowl destinations in Florida would be the Capital One or Outback, depending on what matchups everybody involved prefers. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has been listed as a slight possibility if Auburn falls and throws the whole SEC bowl distribution out of kilter. You've got big bowl stadiums looking for big crowds, of course, and Alabama and Florida have to go somewhere.

Arkansas has never played in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. The game typically has been “reserved” for anyone east of the Mississippi-Alabama state line, despite the records. Razorback fans can still recall winning the SEC West in 1995, beating both Alabama and Auburn that season, losing to Florida in the SEC title game, and being dumped off to the Carquest Bowl in Miami as, presumably, the seventh-best team in the SEC that season.

No Citrus (now Cap One), no Outback, no Peach/Chick-fil-A. Some way to treat a legitimate division winner. But then, Arkansas was only in its fourth season as a league member.

It was only after that snub that the SEC became aligned with the Cotton and Independence bowls to placate the “far west” membership. (The Indy is no longer affiliated with the SEC, now that the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville has signed up the conference, but Shreveport served as a destination for a pretty good Hog team in 2003.)

Arkansas has never played in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which started life as the Peach Bowl. Many times in years past you heard "Peach Bowl" tossed out there as a possible Hog holiday destination, pre-1992. But since its sponsorship with Chick-fil-A and since the UA joined the SEC, the bowl seems to have gone out of its way NOT to want Arkansas, and to pretty much say so publicly.

Saturday, I asked a representative from the bowl attending the Arkansas-LSU game if he realized that Hog fans never expect to get a Chick-fil-A invite.

"Oh, no, we'd LOVE to have Arkansas. We always have and we'd love to have a chance to have this team in our bowl. In the past you've always picked the Cotton Bowl over us when we'd have loved to have had Arkansas," he said.

OK. It's always seemed to us that it was easier to take the sure thing of many thousands of fans from either Auburn or Knoxville traveling only a couple of hours or so to Atlanta on New Year's Eve to play an ACC team, and that's why it was easy to not list Arkansas among the contenders.

Arkansas lost the SEC Championship Game in 2002 in Atlanta to Georgia, 30-3, and Arkansas didn't appear to have great representation there anyway. So figuring even more Hog fans wouldn't pack up and make it to Atlanta for New Year's made perfect sense. Can't bemoan that logic. Still, what was left for the Hogs and Hog fans was suffering through a poor UA performance and frigid Nashville and the Music City Bowl. What a bummer that was.

UNKIND BOWL VISITS: Arkansas is 1-4 in the Sugar Bowl and 0-2 in the Citrus/Cap One. The Hogs faced a No. 1-ranked Alabama twice in New Orleans, losing 10-3 in the 1961 season and 24-9 in the 1979 season. No. 3 Ole Miss, one of the greatest Rebels teams of all time, beat the Hogs 17-13 in the 1962 season, and the Archie Manning-led Rebels beat the Hogs 27-22 following the 1969 “Big Shootout” with Texas.

Arkansas got the better of then No. 4 and unbeaten Georgia 16-2 in the 1968 Sugar Bowl.



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