Ever find yourself nostalgic for September 1992, when the Hogs lost their season opener to The Citadel, prompting Frank Broyles to fire head coach Jack Crowe one day later?
No? Well, neither do we, but the "Not Exactly Hog Heaven" article from Sports Illustrated's Sept. 21, 1992, issue is still worth checking out. If nothing else, it will make you feel mighty good about where the program is these days.
The article came out after the Hogs' second game that year, in which, in their first game as members of the SEC and in the positively wonderful Joe Kines' first game as interim head coach, the Hogs thrashed South Carolina 45-7. (The game also marked the Gamecocks' first SEC contest.)
One of the interesting nuggets in the article is the following summary of how Arkansas and South Carolina came to be members of the SEC (I reprint only as a service for those Hogs fans looking to increase the size of the chip on their shoulder):
"SEC officials are loath to admit it, but Saturday night's game was a battle of unwanted stepchildren. When the conference decided to expand in 1990, it lusted first after Miami, which ultimately reaped a bonanza by joining the Big East instead. The SEC also coveted Florida State, but Seminole coach Bobby Bowden opted for life as a big fish in the somewhat smaller pond of the ACC. Texas A&M and then Texas were invited to join the league, but neither could disentangle itself from the Southwest Conference. When at last the SEC worked its way down to Arkansas, Broyles jumped. To round out its membership at an even dozen, which would allow it to split into two divisions and hold a lucrative annual playoff game, the SEC needed one more school. With time growing short and candidates scarce, it invited the lackluster Gamecocks aboard."
Another interesting passage:
"While opprobrium from coaches and columnists rained down on Broyles for the abrupt termination of the personable Crowe, one group was conspicuous by its lack of opposition to the personnel move: the Arkansas players. The night after the loss to The Citadel, when Kines was introduced to them as their interim head coach, the Razorbacks broke into applause. They closed that meeting by singing the school's fight song. "It was a very positive atmosphere," says linebacker Darwin Ireland. Crowe was already a fading memory."
And yet another, highlighting what was surely one of Frank of the Ozarks' more bizarre pronouncements:
"And Broyles is at his least credible when he descends to pseudoanalytical quackery, insisting that based on his '45 years in college football,' he can calculate that the fans' lack of confidence in Crowe was so palpable to the players that it cost the Razorbacks 'a minimum of 12 points a game.'"
If there is anything that this article makes me nostalgic for, it is Joe Kines, the overly caffeinated defensive-coordinator-turned-interim-coach who pushed, prodded and motivated a downright woeful team to a 3-6-1 record that included a ginormous upset of Tennessee in Knoxville. In a plot twist worthy of the Great Bard himself, Kines would be replaced at the end of the season by Danny Ford, whom Kines had brought on as a "special consultant" after becoming interim coach and who insisted throughout the '92 season that he didn't want Joe's job.
Seemingly straight out of central casting, Kines is one of those characters who makes following sports so fun. And here's a small bit of thanks to him for making that bizarre '92 season tolerable and even, in its own way, inspiring.
("Not Exactly Hog Heaven," Sports Illustrated, Sept. 21, 1992 issue)