This is about who we are as a people. It's about what's in our blood.
There are certain things we just do as Arkansans. We float the Buffalo. We gamble at Oaklawn. We cruise the Delta on our way to New Orleans, the Gulf, or just to get to Helena for King Biscuit. We argue to the death that our town's/neighborhood's catfish/bbq/burger/cheese dip joint is the best in the state.
We fish our waters. We till our lands. We hate the Texas Longhorns.
I acknowledge it's different now. There was a time that burnt orange was culturally illegal in the state, but with only four games between the two schools over the last 20-plus years, and only one heartbreaking defeat, there is a generation of fans that doesn't have the personal connection to the rivalry anymore. The level of rage has certainly been diluted (and aided likely by the UA's relatively new focus on attracting students from the Lone Star State, but that's another topic for another day.)
As a result, while excitement for this bowl game seems to be through the roof, every time there's mention of Arkansas facing Texas or A&M or Texas Tech or the upcoming TCU series in a couple of years (anyone know if Boykin's going to be gone by then?), there's a subset of Arkansas fans who seem to look at any interest or discussion of the SWC in disdain. As in, "Get over it. It's done. Let's move on. Who still cares? We're in the SEC now."
So I feel like this needs to be said:
I'm 32 years old, born just over 5 months after the day the Razorbacks knocked off the #1 Horns in Fayetteville. Admittedly, I have few distinct memories of the Southwest Conference as I didn't begin seriously following sports until I was a bit older. I don't have a lifetime of memories of seasons spoiled in Austin or from fierce battles in Arkansas or screwjobs throughout the SWC (we've got plenty of time to go through all the specific things we've gone through with Texas).
What I do have is a lifetime of hearing stories, reading books, and seeing video clips and old reports. Many of the stories we've all seen confirmed through events in recent years. So on a certain level, it's a part of who I am because it's a part of where I come from.
This isn't to say I spend every day of my life with a seething hatred of the Longhorns. I don't. I've visited and enjoyed Austin. I have friends who are Bevo fans. But do I take great pleasure in watching them lose? Like most everybody else in the country, absolutely. And on the rare instances when the Hogs and Horns do lock up, you can feel a special type of passion there. For instance, I don't care what stupid things Kendrick Edwards tweeted, I'm upset that Burnt Orange Nation called him a "Scrub WR" in their headline. We really have to wait three weeks to do this?
Some always say, "Texas never hated Arkansas the way Arkansas hated them." I don't care. It really makes me no difference if they hate the Aggies or the Sooners or whoever else. If Razorback fans had to wait on another school to hate us before we reciprocated, not a whole lot of emotion would ever be happening.
Besides, even if we've never been their top rival, it's not as though they've liked us. They've never tried to be our friend. They haven't demanded their own network and unequal revenue sharing with the Big 12 so they could share any of that with Arkansas. We're not turning down any sort of great business opportunity by being actively against them. It doesn't matter if the Hogs are just a nuisance to them or if we're their great villain. We can feel about them however we want to.
We're typically not on their radar anymore, and they typically aren't on ours. But every once in a while, they still have to make a Batman movie with The Joker. It's embedded in our culture.
That's all I'm asking of those fans who don't get the hatred toward Texas. Embrace it. Revel in it. Find it within you because if you claim to bleed that special shade of Razorback Red it is there somewhere. Study up on the history of the series. It will all make sense. It doesn't matter that we're both 6-6. It's completely irrelevant.
Love to hate them because I promise it's a ton of fun. It's natural. It's pure.