Beating the Longhorns still satisfies

My tenure as a Razorback fan bridges the SWC-SEC gap. My early years were spent loathing the Longhorns and Aggies as is custom, and from adolescence forward, I refocused my disgust for the Alabamas and Louisiana States of the world.

Accordingly, I can readily acknowledge that the University of Texas is no longer a rival. We've had a few sparse clashes with the 'Horns in many sports the past two decades, but as time goes by, it is impossible to summon the same feelings for these isolated matchups. When Houston Nutt flashed that silly "Horns down" signal at the conclusion of the 2000 Cotton Bowl, it felt profoundly immature and out of place. After all, why was he so excited about beating an indisputably average Texas team in the Cotton Bowl? His team had lost all four of its SEC road games that year, and winning any one or more of those was far more important than dispatching a Longhorn team that was still slowly transitioning out of John Mackovic hell.

Now, that said, you can't simply ignore it when the Hogs and Horns match up in any particular sport, for one reason or another. Part of it is the lingering history, but mostly, when Arkansas is facing Texas it generally has significance because Texas is, in fact, pretty dang good at sports and stuff. That's usually true for baseball, and that's why the Hogs' comfortable and easy 7-3 win today to end the Houston College Classic did mean something.

Texas entered the game ranked No. 21, well behind the Hogs and frankly, it's a wonder the Longhorns were still ranked at all. After starting the season with two wins against Duke, Texas promptly dropped five straight, the last three of which were blowouts against Stanford. Arkansas rebounded from a disappointingly punchless 4-1 loss against Houston on Saturday by getting a couple of first-inning runs, then breaking a 2-2 tie on a Matt Reynolds homer in the fourth. The Hogs seized control with a four-run fifth and got effective long relief from Nolan Sanburn and Barrett Astin to run their record to 11-2.

Arkansas has a couple more weeks worth of non-conference competition before it enters the SEC gauntlet. Since the Hogs' schedule outside of league play has been something less than tedious, beating the 'Horns will be a nice prelude to conference games, and moreover, will give us all another bit of satisfaction at knocking off an old rival.

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