Intro to Arkansas-LSU and 2006 to present
You might wonder why I seem so interested in this rivalry series thing.
The first seeds of thought about this were planted by these comments by a former SportingNews columnist:
I believe Arkansas fans would be more fired up about playing schools like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Kansas. They could drive to those venues with their hot hats on. And how cool would it be if the Razorbacks could renew their old SWC hate-fest with Texas?
Go ahead, call the Hogs.
Instead, Hogs fans have been force-fed a “rivalry” with LSU.
–Tom Dienhart, 2/23/2006
My first blog in defense of the LSU/Arkansas rivalry was written on November 23, 2006, just hours before the game the next day. That was the first blog of mine that generated any significant number of responses (I got 22 comments in all). 2006 was my first college football season of blogging. My first blog on the SportingNews had been a re-post of my final rankings for the 2005 season.
I didn’t think people would be that interested in historical facts and figures about college football rivalries, but since that interests me and it interested my readers then, I started doing them for all the teams. One benefit of the SportingNews closing its community has been my opportunity to revisit these.
In Deinhart’s defense, the rivalry has gotten a lot more interesting since his blog. That year, LSU knocked off Arkansas in Little Rock that year, 31-26, putting any thoughts of the Hogs playing for the national championship to rest (they had had a 10-game winning streak going into the game). LSU made the Sugar Bowl as a result of that win.
In 2007, Arkansas apparently returned the favor, handing the Tigers their second loss with a 50-48 3-overtime win in Baton Rouge. LSU of course would win the BCS and AP national titles anyway after a series of losses by higher-ranked teams and the Tigers’ SEC championship win over Tennessee pur LSU in the BCS championship game.
The two teams exchanged home wins in 2008 and 2009…
2009 POST-GAME: The last 5 games (2005-09) were decided by a total of 13 points, and two of those games were in overtime. 6 of the last 9 games were decided by three points or less, and a 7th was decided by 5 points. If Arkansas had won this game, it would have been the first time Arkansas beat LSU three games in a row in 80 years. 1929 had been Arkansas’s last win over LSU before Arkansas joined the SEC. The Hogs beat the Tigers 7 times in the 1920s. The decades since then depend on what you count. In the numerical ’90s, Arkansas won three times, but if count the ’90s as 1991-2000, Arkansas won four times. If you count 2000 as part of the ’00s, Arkansas won three times in the ’00s. If not, Arkansas has won twice with a chance to make it three.
I gave my reactions to 2010’s game here.
2011 and 2012 Notes: In 2011, LSU won by 24 points, the largest margin of victory in the series since Les Miles became the head coach at LSU. The previous largest-margin was Arkansas’s 8-point win in 2010. The largest margin in an LSU win had been 5 points in 2006.
2012 was a more typical LSU-Arkansas game. LSU led by only 4 going into the last two minutes before kicking a field goal. Then Arkansas had a 60-yard drive, giving the Hogs a chance to tie with a touchdown on the final play from the LSU 20. But Tyler Wilson’s pass to the end zone fell incomplete. This broke a streak of four consecutive games in the series in which the home team won. However, it marked the seventh time in eight games (and ninth time in twelve games) that the margin was 8 points or fewer.
The games since Arkansas joining the SEC are somewhat easily summarized: Arkansas won 2 in a row, LSU won 4 in a row, Arkansas won 3 of 5, LSU won 4 in a row, Arkansas won 3 of 4, and now LSU has won 2 in a row.