Meanwhile, up yonder.http://www.tigerboard.com/boards/missouri-tigers.php?message=9348002
An Open Letter to Mizzou Fans: Understanding Arkansas Fans
I've seen several posts on here about Arkansas and their fans. Because I grew up in N.W. Arkansas (note: wasn't born there), I wanted to give some insight into the psyche of the Razorback faithful.
Full disclosure: I grew up watching Ark b-ball and f-ball and still consider myself a fan. But being a Mizzou Alum, I will cheer on Mizzou over Arkansas any day.
Arkansas had good success in the SWC, competing with the likes of Texas, SMU, etc., and would have been considered a top-tier program back then. They claim 13 SWC championships and a share of the 1964 National Championship with Alabama. However, they were always considered unwelcomed outsiders by the rest of the Texas league, even with their success.
Arkansas football, since its move to the SEC has been always classified as a middle to low tier program. Arkansas basketball had some great seasons, won a NC in 1994 and played again the following year in the N.C. to UCLA (Tyus Edney anyone?).
Recent history is different, however. The older fans still cling to the old SWC football days and consider the team a traditional power (this is not true). Younger fans remember the 80s and early 90s dominance in basketball and think it is easily achievable again (again, a faulty assumption).
All fans know of the recent failures of the basketball teams coached by Stan Heath and John Pelphrey. Both recruited well but never delivered and were in over their heads with fan expectations. Another black mark on the program was when Creighton coach Dana Altman accepted the head job, gave a press conference and called the hogs awkwardly, and then reneged the next day. At the time, the fans couldn't seem to figure out why no "Top Tier" coaches wanted to coach at Arkansas.
Now, the move to bring back Mike Anderson has excited the fans and has made them nostalgic for the "40 min of Starkville" that Nolan Richardson brought. By plugging in CMA, Arkansas fans believe that he too can bring them to the promise land like Nolan did (don't think so but time will tell).
Football, until recently, has had some very long seasons as well. The tenure of Danny Ford failed. The Houston Nutt experiment fractured the fan base, too. Nutt endured some reasonable success, but never delivered when he was suppose to win and kept his job by winning when he wasn't supposed to. He had some decent success (won a couple SEC West titles), but most will agree that he was continually out-coached and out-recruited on the big stage and was stubborn to change his offense. It took him years to turn over play calling duties, and when he did, he undermined his OCs at every opportunity. He would take credit for the good calls, laid blame to others for the bad ones.
Then came Nutt’s undoing: He hires a local h.s. coach by the name of Gus Malzahn who literally wrote the book on the spread offense. This move secured the services of Parade All-American QB Mitch Mustain and several top-tier receivers (including Damian Williams). Prior to this move, Nutt was considered on the hot seat after another underperforming season with Felix Jones (Cowboys), Darrin McFadden (Raiders), and Peyton Hillis (Browns) all in the backfield.
The coach butts heads with his new OC and benches Mustain after he started 7-0 for the season. Long story short: Mustain isn't happy and gets his mother involved, an Arkansas booster and a friend of Nutt's sends a strongly worded email to Mustain, a FOIA is put in to obtain Nutt's cell phone records that show hundreds of phone calls and texts to a local female news anchor (implying infidelity). At the end of the season, Arkansas upsets LSU in OT, the Chancellor tries to extend Nutt's contract b/c he won the last game, and Nutt bolts parlays his last win into a new job at Ole Miss. The Chancellor is fired and a new AD comes into to replace the legendary Frank Broyles.
Jeff Long (from Pitt) makes a splash and hires NFL Coach Bobby Petrino. Although the national media skewers Arkansas for hiring a nomadic coach who bolted from the Falcons, I always felt it was a great hire and CBP would soon have Arkansas on the national stage. Within a few short years, CBP has turned the program around and has them contending very well.
This football success has helped Arkansas fans to puff out their collective chests. What I find interesting is the response of Ark fans as it relates to Mizzou and its move to the SEC. The recent success has disillusioned them into forgetting their recent past and has them thinking they are "above" the caliber of Mizzou and are part of the cream of the crop of the SEC. Don't be tricked. The feelings are really founded in the embarrassment during the Nutt years, the inferiority complex created during the SWC days, and the desire to be accepted at the "cool kids table" of the SEC.
Remind them of the scoreboard (38-7) and they will probably talk about recruits they got from Missouri. Talk about Mizzou bball success and they will bring up Matt Painter.
So remember: when Arkansas fans start talking smack remind them of their past, congratulate them on their very recent football success, and tell them that they, just like every other SEC team, rides the coat tails of the top tier programs in the conference and they, just like Mizzou, are not one yet but are working to be there.
Armed with the knowledge I've outlined will help you in your dealings with Hog fans.