Arkansas released its annual report this week, and they're not being shy about declaring 2014-15 the best year in school history. Here's a pair of sample quotes: "Simply put, 2014-15 was the most successful year in the history of Razorback Athletics, both on and off the field." and, "Never before in the rich tradition of Razorback Athletics, has the University of Arkansas witnessed a more successful year, collectively, than it did in 2014-15."
They don't typically report historical team GPAs in the record books, so we'll take their word for it on the program's success off the field. But on the field? There were definitely some great moments and great victories, and the Hogs did finish a program-best 16th in the Director's Cup (the competition that combines totals from all sports, a competition schools with more sports typically win).
The year was highlighted with a national title in women's indoor track, the first team national championship for a women's team in school history, four total SEC titles in track, a College World Series appearance, a bowl victory for a 7-win season and wins in the men's and women's NCAA Tournament. So, yes, by and large it was a pretty fun season on the field. But did it feel so good that we should call it best in history? I'm not so sure. Here's some other years that might give this year some competition.
- 2011-12: No track national championships :(. But the Razorbacks had one of their best-ever finishes in football, going 11-2 with a Cotton Bowl victory and #5 ranking. Baseball made the College World Series and the gymnastics team reached the Super Six. Mike Anderson's first season started promising with big wins over Michigan, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt, but the team finished badly and missed the postseason.
- 1998-99: Arkansas wins the triple crown in men's track. The women's basketball team makes the Final Four. Houston Nutt's first year at Arkansas is a success with a 9-3 record and what the Big 12 would call a tie for the SEC West championships (Arkansas does claim a share the 1998 west championship). The men's basketball team won 23 games, finished 2nd in the SEC West, and was a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament, making the second round. The baseball team won the SEC for the first time.
- 1993-94: National Championships in men's indoor and outdoor track, not to mention the national title in basketball. The only other times Arkansas has won three national titles are the 5 times the Razorbacks won the triple crown in track. The downside to 1994 was that football and baseball were both terrible, but still, 3 national titles and not all from track! Also, the men's golf team finished 4th in the country.
- 1989-90: National titles in men's indoor track and men's cross country. Football wins the SWC and plays in the Cotton Bowl. Nolan Richardson gets to the Final Four for the first time. The women's basketball team won three games in the NCAA Tournament before losing in the regional final. The baseball team won the SWC.
- 1988-89: National championship in men's indoor track. College World Series appearance for baseball and an SWC championship. SWC titles also in football (7-0 conference record) and basketball (5-seed in NCAA Tournament, reached second round). The women's basketball team made the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the program's history.
- 1978-79: Football finished 9-2-1, finishing with a tie in the Fiesta Bowl against UCLA. Baseball makes their first appearance in the College World Series and the men's basketball team made it to the Elite 8 (and as we learned when Arkansas played Indiana State in the 2014 NIT, many are still bitter about that Elite 8 loss).
- 1977-78: In one of the most famous Arkansas football seasons ever, the Razorbacks go 11-1, win the Orange Bowl over #2 Oklahoma and finish the season ranked #3 (even though nobody finished undefeated that year). Eddie Sutton and the Triplets lead the basketball team to the Final Four. Baseball finished 2nd in the SWC.
Again, we understand that UA's declaration is definitely including academics in their results, which is fine and hard to dispute. But on the field, which is your favorite?