Three times during the month of September, thousands of Arkansans will make their pilgrimage to Fayetteville to partake in what many have deemed a religious experience: University of Arkansas Razorback
The UA season kicks off Saturday, Sept. 4, with a game against New Mexico State University in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Though all 74,000-plus seats may not be filled this Saturday, they all likely will be taken the following Saturday when Arkansas meets longtime hated rival the University of Texas Longhorns at 7:45 p.m. The Southeastern Conference opener for the Hogs comes Sept. 25 at home with the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
Under head coach Houston Nutt, the Razorback game-day experience has grown to include a walk-through-the-red-clad-throng by the players about two hours before home-game kickoffs. In the bucolic greenspace of the UA’s Poultry Science Center, just north of the stadium across from Maple Street, the fans gather three hours before kickoff at the Hog Trough
, awaiting the players’ arrival.
While not quite the pregame tradition that is seen at Auburn, Tennessee and other SEC football hotbeds, the UA’s version is growing, and the university provides music and food vendors in the Hog Trough, along with local deejay John Williams of Mix 101.9 in Fayetteville emceeing the event. A Kid’s Zone offers youngsters entertaining diversions, while longtime Razorback fans can gather with their heroes of yesteryear in the Fuji Legends Tent; that day’s honorary captain and other former players will be on hand to sign autographs.
Plus, three big-screen TVs will keep fans apprised of what’s happening in games around the country.
This Saturday’s honorary captain is former kicker Lance Ellison of Conway, who has been recovering from a near-fatal auto accident suffered in 2001. Clyde Scott, an Olympian and star for the Hogs in 1948, will be on hand Sept. 11.
Admission to the Hog Trough is free. Food (barbecue, burgers and pizza in a food-court-style setup) and beverages (only the soft version or water) are available for purchase.
The first of two Little Rock games for the Razorbacks is Sept. 18 against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
For ticket availability to the games, call 1-800-982-4647.
This goes in a box at the bottom right corner with a mug shot of bruce james
This Week’s Game
Arkansas (0-0) vs. New Mexico State (0-0)
Site: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (capacity: 74,000)
Time: 6 p.m.
What Bruce James says
On New Mexico State:
Look for them not be intimidated, they played us in Fayetteville last year. They run the ball a lot out of a power-I formation, they play two quarterbacks, they are a scrappy ball. You’d just like to have this over by halftime if you are a Hog fan. This team won three games last year, they’re in the Sun Belt Conference. If you’re not talented enough to take a team like this and put them away, you’re in for a long year.
On the season:
Only four teams out of the 11 we play have better football players than Arkansas: that’s Texas, Florida, George and LSU. The others, either we’re better than or equal to in talent. You look at that and see six wins, maybe seven or eight. It is reasonable to expect six wins with the talent up there.
Bruce James is a former Razorback defensive great whose opinions will appear here before each UA game. Watch Bruce along with David Bazzel and host Steve Sullivan on KATV, Channel’s 7’s “SportsWeek” Sundays at 10:30 p.m.