as published in the Blytheville Courier News on Thursday, August 27, 2015
By TOM HENRY
I am not calling the hogs, I am calling the hogs out for continuing to peddle former Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles’ “Kool-aide” of squealing, crying and running away from an annual game with the Arkansas State Red Wolves Football team.
Its loudest argument has been that Arkansas is too small to support two successful big time programs and therefore all support and resources should be directed to “Hog Heaven” in Fayetteville. Not true.
Why can’t Arkansas support at least two major programs? Look at these other poor rural and/or southern states and how they thrive: Alabama-Auburn, Arizona-Arizona St., Florida-Florida St.-Miami, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Kansas-Kansas St., Iowa-Iowa St., Kentucky-Louisville, Michigan-Michigan St., Ole Miss-Mississippi St., North Carolina-North Carolina St-East Carolina, Oklahoma-Oklahoma St.-Tulsa, South Carolina-Clemson, Tennessee-Memphis-Vanderbilt, Texas-Texas A&M-Houston-Texas Tech-TCU-Baylor, Virginia-Virginia Tech, and even the tiny state of West Virginia can support U. of West Virginia-Marshall. These are not all of the possible examples, there are a lot more.
If the citizens of those states had taken Broyles’ “Kool-aide” then college football fans would miss out on the Iron Bowl (Alabama-Auburn), Palmetto Bowl (Clemson-South Carolina), the Golden Egg Bowl (Ole Miss-Miss.St.) or the battle for the Seminole War Canoe (Florida-Miami) among others.
The second lie is that Arkansas State is not good enough to be allowed to defile the Hog’s schedule. Hmm. Well, when you look at the schedules for the past twenty seasons and the future schedules that have been announced, just take a gander at all of the major football programs that did NOT find Arkansas State a defilement: Alabama, Auburn (4 times), Baylor, Boise St. (3 times), BYU, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Georgia (3 times), Illinois (3 times), Indiana, Iowa, Louisville (twice), Louisiana Tech (twice), LSU (twice), Memphis (12 times), Miami (3 times), Minnesota, Missouri (4 times), Northern Illinois (twice), Nebraska (3 times), North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St. (twice), Ole Miss (8 times), Oregon, SMU (3 times), Southern Miss (3 times), TCU (twice), Tennessee (twice), Texas A&M (3 times), Tulsa (twice), USC, Virginia Tech (3 times).
Boise St., Cincinnati, Louisville, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma St., Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, and Tulsa even played in Jonesboro when they faced Arkansas State.
The third lie is that if they play a team like ASU, their power index is hurt due to a weak strength of schedule. Did playing Chattanooga, Eastern Michigan, Florida International, Jacksonville St., Louisiana Tech (3 times), Louisiana-Lafayette (3 times), Louisiana-Monroe (10 times), MTSU, Missouri St. (4 times), New Mexico St. (2 times), Nicholls St., North Texas (3 times), Samford, SE Missouri St., Tennessee Tech, Texas St., Toledo, Troy (4 times), UAB, UNLV (twice ), UT-Martin, Utah St., UTEP (twice) and Weber St not hurt them more?
During the last four years the Red Wolves have won 35 games and been to four straight bowl games. Those same years, the Razorbacks have won only 25 games and went to two bowls. (Last year was a gift since they ended the regular season with only a 6-6 record.)
Everyone knows Fayetteville gets twice their share of state money and support, and that is not limited to just sports. Arkansas State finally completed their new humanities building this fall, but it was only after embarrassing the legislature into more money. ASU took a paltry amount of allocated money, built a steel skeleton and let it sit in the weather for numerous years rusting, to the embarrassment of the legislature and ASU Alumnus former Governor Mike Beebe. When the political heat turned up, more money finally appeared to complete the much needed project. Should a local resident of Washington County really be given a better education or better facilities than one from Mississippi or Craighead County going to their local university?
According to the USA Today website, Razorback football spends $94,640,408 in total expenses as compared to Arkansas State’s mere $20,151,793. That’s $3.785 million per Arkansas win and $575,766 for every ASU win. Of course, Arkansas also brings in $96,793,972 in total revenue as compared to Arkansas State’e mere $20,151,793. That disparity will grow quickly now that the SEC Network is sending truck loads of cash to Fayetteville as well. Why such disparity? It is primarily because of the “big lie” (shame on you Mr. Broyles) that has conditioned the citizens of Arkansas to only publicly support the Razorbacks and to contribute to the Razorbacks program through contributions to the tune of $21,276,161 to a mere $1,560,468 for ASU.
Additionally, since the Razorbacks don’t support the Little Rock fans at War Memorial Stadium anymore, citizens there are increasingly supporting ASU. A yearly game in Little Rock would provided needed funds for the stadium, the city and the state. In 2014, the National Association of Sports Commission and the Destination Marketing Association International estimated the direct gross spending by spectators at a game played at War Memorial Stadium would be $3,757,875. It’s time to start the annual rivalry. Both teams would benefit and Arkansas would become an even stronger football state. Arkansas one day will be like Mississippi was in 2014, with both teams being contenders, then Arkansas will become a football state worthy of its fans. How long can the hogs run?