College football is known for its fanatics and nowhere is fanaticism more prevalent than among the Razorback fanbase. Don't believe us? That's fine. We've got the FOIA requests to prove it.
So we should be heartened to be represented by a (comparatively) level-headed Hog fan like Liz Beadle in Hyundai's Fanthropology contest to find college football's most loyal diehards. Liz has traveled around the world, calling the Hogs every step of the way. And after living in Washington D.C., Chicago and Prague, she did what any right-thinking Arkansan would do and came back home to finish school in Fayetteville, where watching the Hogs every Saturday doesn't require pirating web feeds on obscure Eastern European websites.
We talked with her this week about LizHoney, LinkinPark (you'll have to read it), and what made her the Hog fan she is.
EXPATS: Ok, first let's get to the question that I think is foremost on the minds of college football fans around the country: Are you or are you not LizHoney of Youtube infamy?
LIZ: I am not, sadly. The first time I saw her Youtube name I was just like, ‘oh jesus, there is no way that a few people didn't think this was going to be me before watching.' I'm obsessed, and really I'm probably just as obsessed as she is, just maybe not as weird. I do love that I still see her interviewed on the local news, etc. The Arkansas sports media has a great sense of humor.
EXPATS: Hmm. I'm not sure if we should be relieved or disappointed. So if you've never taped up your nose and belted anthems of togetherness into a webcam, what would you say is the most fanatical thing you've done in support of the Hogs?
LIZ: Oh I've done things that weird. Really. After Miracle on Markham (the first one) my sister and I (aged 11 and 9 at the time) were singing on our karaoke machine and changed all the words from this terrible Linkin Park song to be about the Hogs. The song was "In The End" and we changed the lyrics to "we put our trust in Jones/threw as far as he could throw/ and for all this/ brimingham caught it in the corner of the end zone." It was ridiculous.
And that's not the only song that has had its lyrics amended in adoration for (or disappointment in) the Hogs.
LIZ: OK. So this one makes me look like a bad person, but sitting in church two days after the 2007 defeat of No. 1 LSU, we changed the lyrics from the hymn "I Danced in the Morning" to fit our situation. Two days later, that's where my mind was in mass that weekend.
EXPATS: So I assume if your parents were willing to put up with the Karaoke and the song-doodling in church, you must've grown up in a Hog household?
LIZ: Yes. Yes, indeed. My dad has lived in Little Rock his entire life other than four years in Fayetteville. My mom also graduated from the UofA but is actually a yankee; I forgive her side of the family for that, mainly because they do football fanship very well. My mother still claims they invented tailgating....or at least brought it to the South. She is probably wrong about that.
EXPATS: So at what age did you start to become a fan and why? Or maybe another way to phrase it: what's your earliest memory of your own Hog fandom?
LIZ: There are so many. I have an early memory of a Sunday in the early ‘90s when we were playing Kentucky in basketball. We got home from Mass and my mom gave my sister and me an assignment: find everything blue in the house and hide it. We did. And we were told to answer the phone "Go Hogs" which we still do on game days to this day. If we answer the phone "hello" my mom will hang up and keep calling until we answer it "Go Hogs." This even still applies to my sister, who is a student at Florida.
EXPATS: So what's your favorite moment as a Hog fan?
LIZ: Definitely when we beat LSU in 2007. I wasn't there or anything, but I have yet to feel as exhilarated as I did after that win. I remember I was hiding behind the couch because I COULD NOT watch on that two-point conversion. Then I just hear my family going nuts, and I look up with tears streaming down my face.
I was "high on the hogs," as i call it, for at least two weeks.
A close second would be the night before the Alabama game in 2010. It is the night I will remember more than any as a student at this school. With tents and people lined all up and down stadium drive, cars and trucks drove by all night long, and we just called the Hogs over and over and over again, and I swear our whole student body was there. It was impromptu and real and I have never felt more a part of something than I did that night. That atmosphere that weekend was as good as it gets in college football
EXPATS: So how are you coping with this season?
LIZ: Alcohol ... I'm kidding. You know, at this point I'm pretty OK. The week after Louisiana-Monroe was bad, so bad. I woke up that Sunday morning and honest to God thought it had just been a nightmare. But once you, as sad as it is, start expecting to lose, it gets a whole lot easier. I haven't picked some other team to root for or already switched my focus to basketball. I'm here, and it's still hard. But college football brings me so much joy. And really everyone, even LSU and Alabama have seasons like this from time to time. It is what it is. I sound serene now, but there have been times this season that I really just couldn't even talk about it.
EXPATS: I know that feeling. ULM. Ugh. So terrible because you could just see it all happening in slow motion. Blah. Enough of that.
Finish this sentence: If I were Jeff Long...
LIZ: I knew this one was coming.
If I were Jeff Long, first of all I would be confident. He has been a great leader to this athletic department and made good decisions, regardless of the state we are currently in. And, this is a great job. We know that these are the best fans in the country. You are not going to find undivided support like this anywhere else. But, I am worried. If I am Jeff Long, I would be first of all doing everything in my power to make Fayetteville, Arkansas sound a whole lot better than Fort Worth, Texas. If the reports that he wants Gary Patterson are right, I think he is pursuing the right person. I don't think he'll get him, though. I really don't.
I don't think that the qualifications about a defensive or offensive coach are that important, especially after watching
Kevin Sumlin out-coach Nick Saban on Saturday. I could also care less about being southern or from Arkansas. If I am Jeff Long, I am looking for a leader -a leader like Patterson, who raised a ton of the money for TCU's new stadium renovation. We need someone who is more than just the coach. There has to be cohesion and cooperation in the program and it wasn't hard to see that we never had that with Petrino. I have an answer to the "dream hire" question (it really is Patterson for me) but I don't have one for the Plan B or C.
Thanks to Liz and all those who contributed. The choice was definitely not an easy one. And thanks to Hyundai for sending one winner to the bowl game of their choice.
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