Excellent ESPN article on SWC demise

It’s titled “I don’t wish either of them well”. The demise of the SWC 25 years later.

Old timers like me enjoy hearing about the SWC imploding after our Razorbacks left town.

Good read.

Sorry I could not post a link:

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Here is a link to the story

I read that. It was an interesting read. I don’t feel the nostalgia for the SWC that some feel. We excelled in it, but it was really a Texas league. We were always something of an outsider. I only wish our program & facilities were a bit better when we left. We came in to the SEC when we were down & the SEC isn’t a place where climbing to the top is easy.

If I’m being honest, the nostalgia I feel about the SWC days is a combination of how successful we were as a football program in those days (compared to now), and mostly what age I was when I was attending/listening/watching those games, and what else was going on in my life at the time.

In other words, on a football competition level, I’m fine with the SEC. I don’t like being the whipping boy for everyone, but hope that is going to change. And if it does, we’ll experience positive reaction like we’ve never felt before. I just hope I’m still around when that happens.

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Grant Teaff, Baylor coach, 1972-92: There were some of us that weren’t cheating and were not going to cheat. And so it’s hard to go out on a football field and know that you can have that player and he could be scoring touchdowns for you, except that black bag arrived at the little airport.

Yeah Grant, you may not have cheated in recruiting, but you darned sure coached you teams to be dirty.

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Yep. Just because the ref blew the whistle to end the play didn’t mean Baylor was going to stop headhunting. Not to mention the cheap shot on Steve Little.

Jerry Clower used to have a comedy routine about playing football for Moo U against Baylor in the 1950s and how those good Baptists played a little bit dirty. The line I remember is a Baylor player told him, “the Good Book says the meek shall inherit the earth, and you just inherited a mouthful of it.” Jerry would have felt right at home playing against Teaff’s “saints”.

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I’ll never get over the cheap shot on Little. They also hit Daryl Mason with a cheap shot to the head in WMS. Knocked out several teeth. Daryl came back and finished the game.

Then the sexual assault cover up. Wow. Those folks are dirty. Plain and simple.

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I remember that vividly. Mason went over the middle for a pass and somebody went headhunting. Absolutely would have been kicked out of the game for targeting today. From the press box I could see pieces of Mason’s helmet flying. Somewhere amid that debris were those teeth.

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I remember both the Steve Little assassination & the cheap shot on Mason. I’ve never liked Baylor since.

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That’s interesting that you felt that way. I’m too young to know what it was like or how it compares (born in ‘87). But I’ve always felt the same way about the SEC today - an outsider vibe, a bit of an odd fit. I think our lack of fiercer rivalries contributes to it, and we are so far from other SEC campuses.

Maybe that’s the nature of Razorback fans, or maybe we’re just victims of geography.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would create a conference with LSU, some Texas schools, and the major programs from Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. Maybe throw in an Iowa or Nebraska (Lincoln is about 6 hours from Fayetteville).

Maybe then I would feel at home. We’d have some real rivals, and geography would be on our side.

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I’m slightly younger than Chip and I definitely felt that way. Seven, then eight Texas schools (Houston joined the SWC in football when I was 15) and us. And it was many years before anyone who lived in Arkansas was allowed to ref a Hog game, whether they went to UA or not. The Texas-Arkansas series became a rivalry to both schools in the 1960s because we were at the top of the league virtually every year, whereas other schools came and went.

To be honest, I feel like less of an outsider in the SEC than I did in the SWC. We’ll never be what Bama is in the SEC, or what Texas was in the SWC. That’s geography and population and sustained success and a few other factors. But we don’t have eight schools in Alabama ganging up on us.

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Good read, brings back a lot of memories. Of course the big shootout, also the QB sneak in Lubbock. Some good memories filed away too.

I think that’s much of it. We’re remote from every SEC school except Mizzou & even that is a recent addition. OM, Bama, & MSU are all closer to each other than Fayetteville is to Little Rock. Even Vandy, Aub, & LSU are not very far from that group of schools. All the SEC schools except TAMU & MU are relatively close to each other. That gives them natural rivalries & lots of fan interaction.

So, yeah, I understand what you’re saying about our relationship with the SEC. I think our being new contributes to that outsider feel, as well. But we’re no longer the newest kid on the block. MU & A&M are newer. We’ve now been in the conference nearly 30 years so a whole generation of fans don’t think of us as new.

I think the main thing we need to overcome any sense of not belonging is to win an SEC championship. I don’t think the SEC is out to screw us because we’re Ark. I do think it tends to protect its more powerful programs. That means Alabama is always going to get “most favored nation” treatment. It also helps them that the league office is in Birmingham.

Regardless, the old SWC was run almost exclusively by Yew-tee & it was definitely a State of Texas organization.

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I agree Jeff that I feel less of an outsider in the SEC than SEC. Texass vs us. How they whined when JFB made the deal of the century.

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Amen!

Most especially the hit on Steve Little. Dirty as hell.

GHG!

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It’s 589 miles from Baton Rouge to Gainesville and 598 from Red Stick to Athens. It’s 661 miles from Oxford to Gainesville (which might explain why the Rebnecks and Wallets have only played 25 times in history; they’ve played us much more than that and we weren’t in the same league until '92). That’s not exactly around the corner. Fayetteville to Lubbock is closer than all of those. So is Fayetteville to EOE.

I didn’t mean to suggest the schools on the outer edge of the footprint are close to schools on the opposite edge. Everyone knows they’re not. What I mean is that most all of them are much closer to several other conference rivals than we, MU, or TAMU are–although TAMU isn’t terribly far from Baton Rouge.

IMO, Arkansas seems to belong in the SEC more than the SWC. The high level of competition in all sports has been met with excellence in many: all of the track disciplines, basketball, soccer, baseball, golf, gymnastics, etc. Even football to some extent, hey, if you make it to the conference title game, you are good.

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Per growing up in Houston in the 70s, had great memories of the SWC rivalries especially since Arkansas frequently played ut, aTm, UofH, & Rice locally. Arkansas was always in the local Houston news headlines, both in football & basketball (due to Eddie Sutton) which boosted our TX exposure & recruiting. For years SWC was the ut vs Arkansas conference.

Arkansas, being the only non-TX team, was always the SWC outsider. Texas referees here were open about their bias against Arkansas which was reflected in their play calling, especially prior to tv replay.

Unfortunately, cable tv, smaller schools unable to compete, too many teams in one state, the ongoing backstabbing, rampant recruiting violations, scandals, toxic infighting, & inability to compete against the other Power5 conferences with their big state schools destined SWC to collapse. There was so much pressure for smaller schools with big $ to compete for recruits “at all costs” so used $ & dirty recruiting vs TT, & aTm & mostly ut. Did not help that SWC private schools played in empty stadiums. When Arkansas left, SWC evolved into ut vs all remaining teams which only made SWC more toxic.

UofH was the biggest loser. As a SWC newby, they upset ut with some big wins in football & basketball that ut well remembered & therefore excluded UofH from the Big12. UofH destiny to a 2nd tiered conference was set when aTm left for the SEC. aTm & ut decided to split the lucrative Houston metro recruiting market by excluding UofH from any consideration for Power5.

Arkansas invite to the SEC was an enticement for ut & aTm to move to the SEC which would have been a financial windfall for the SEC due to large TX tv markets. ut was too arrogant to risk being an equal in the SEC & used legal & financial means in the TX legislature to force aTm to remain. Perhaps the SWC could have survived & kept Arkansas by inviting OU & OSU + other Big8 to join while evicting Rice & SMU. However, Arkansas had to take the SEC offers, & the departure started the wheels in motion for the SWC’s inevitable collapse.

Interesting that the Big12 is now facing similar dysfunctional challenges & likelihood of collapse for similar reasons as the SWC. Makes no sense for WV to be a long distance member but nowhere else to go. longhorn network on ESPN is a big point of contention plus ut strong-arm tactics in monopolizing $ & decisions for Big12. Consequently, most Big 12 state schools are positioning themselves to eventually leave. While most in SEC are against further conference expansion, ut & OU would make the most sense for SEC but unlikely due to ut reluctance, plus OU tied to osu whom no one wants.

Lot of old timer nostalgia about the SWC & was a fun time for Arkansas football & basketball. SEC money is much better & every game against SEC state schools is a big game, unlike SWC. During SWC days the ut game was often UofA’s only big game. We need to regain the nearby Texas recruiting market that we lost & has hurt us since our SWC departure. For same reasons, OU will be smart to never give up their ut rivalry game. As much as I dislike ut, maybe we should do the same.

Sorry about the long ramble!

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I had a unique perspective, my first two years at the UA were in the SWC, last 2 years in the SEC.
great basketball, baseball, track. Great football my freshman year. I vividly remember a sign held up in Barnhill that said Kenny’s Bowling and Nolan’s Rolling.
I will say I enjoyed my Jr and Sr year a lot. Road tripping around the Southeast Was a blast. One of the more impressive hangovers I’ve ever had was after being in Neyland stadium in 1992. So yeah I enjoyed the SWC, especially against Houston in 89 down in the Rock (following year in Houston was brutal) but I’ve enjoyed 30 years of building SEC memories.