In case you need any extra help getting fired up, we’ll be providing a handy pre-game cheat sheet detailing why you should hate each one of the Razorbacks’ opponents this fall. Some weeks will be easier than others…
1. They've Pretty Much Kicked Our Ass. Arkansas and Tennessee have met 15 times on the gridiron - and the Vols have won 12 of those games. The losses have ranged from agonizingly close (see 1990 Cotton Bowl, the fumble in 1998 and the 6 OT loss in 2002) to humiliating (see 55-14 defeat in 1996). Add in an 11-8 series edge over Arkansas in basketball since the Hogs joined the SEC, and it's easy to see why some Razorback fans may have some anger management issues when it comes to Tennessee.
2. The Song … That @##^!!!! Song. As anyone who has attended, watched or listened to a UT game can attest, the song "Rocky Top" will be played by the school band approximately 5 million times during tomorrow’s contest. To quote a line from the "Family Ties" character Steven Keaton, it’s enough "to make a killer out of Gandhi."
To make matters even more irritating, we hear that Vols fans revel in our "Rocky Top"-induced misery. We suppose we could at least partially thwart these diabolical individuals by maintaining a Zen-like, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi-endorsed calm during the endless performances of the song. But, it’s just not that easy, is it?
3. That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi. Pardon our French. And we know this list is supposed to be specific. But there's some intangible quality about the Vols that make them annoyingly hateable. For as long as we can remember, every last thing about that team has bugged us. A lot. Perhaps we'll put our finger on it one day, but for now we'll just point to their undefinable sucktitude.
4. The 1990 Cotton Bowl. It’s a bowl game, so of course Arkansas lost. But the Hogs actually played well in this wild shootout. The Razorbacks entered the fourth-quarter trailing 31-13 but staged a furious late-game rally before ultimately falling by a score of 31-27. When all was said and done, the Hogs had accumulated 568 yards of total offense, and Tennessee had notched 470. Doesn’t sound so bad, considering Arkansas' truly horrible bowl history.
So, why is this game on the list? Because it marked the beginning of an awful period in Razorback football history. Within days of this loss, Ken Hatfield had bolted to Clemson, and the depressing Jack Crowe era was underway, which was followed by the depressing (but brief) Joe Kines era and the depressing (sensing a trend?) Danny Ford era.
We blame then-UT coach Johnny Majors. Oh sure, he might look the squarest of squares, the most mainstream of mainstreamers, but we’re convinced that the ex-Razorback assistant is a secret shaman who cast some sort of evil spell over his former employer. Perhaps Frank Broyles once tried to steal his chick or something. Whatever the reason, the curse wouldn’t truly be broken until Houston Dale Nutt arrived in 1998, which leads us to our final reason:
5. Just Ask Clint Stoerner. 11/14/98, Knoxville, Tennessee. With just under two minutes remaining, the Razorbacks were on the verge of extending a magical undefeated season by pulling off a major upset of top-ranked Tennessee. We all know what happened next. For the sake of everyone's mental health, we won’t rehash all the gory details, but watching the Vols and their fans dance on our graves meant we would forever have at least one reason to hate UT.