Hogs!: A History

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Simon and Schuster, 2005 - Sports & Recreation - 246 pages
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Arkansas football is unlike any other program in the country. It's owned by an entire state. What other major-college program has two home stadiums -- 200 miles apart? From the Mississippi River Delta to the Ozark foothills, Arkansas football is the tie that binds: A proud and yet unpretentious populace believes the "fightin' Razorbacks" reflect and project its values. "Hogs!: A History," by George Schroeder, is the story of how -- and why -- a state became so intertwined with its football team that the two are often synonymous.

"Hogs!" explores the exhilarating wins -- and devastating losses -- that have shaped Arkansans' collective psyche and reveals the unique personalities who built and were built by a common passion and their defining moments.

These moments include:

-"The arrival and rise of Frank Broyles, the most influential sports figure in Arkansas history." In 1958, Broyles came to Arkansas after one year as head coach at Missouri. Forty-seven years later, he remains. Broyles elevated the Razorback program to elite status in a nineteen-year career as coach. His career continues as athletic director, the position he still holds. At eighty, he shows no signs of slowing down.

-"The Big Shootout." The biggest game ever was the Big Shootout. On December 6, 1969, number-one Texas and number-two Arkansas met at Fayetteville's Razorback Stadium. President Nixon was among those in attendance that day. The result -- Texas 15, Arkansas 14 -- sent Texas on to the national championship. It left the entire Arkansas fan base with a wound that still lingers, almost thirty-six years later.

-"The rise and fall of Lou Holtz and Kenny Hatfield." Broyles' successors took the Hogsto great heights, but following Broyles was difficult. In his first season, Holtz took the state by storm and directed the Razorbacks to the 1978 Orange Bowl, where as 18-point underdogs, they upset Oklahoma 31-6. But Holtz's magic eventually faded. Hatfield, a former Hogs hero, took Arkansas back to the Cotton Bowl -- twice -- but developed a reputation for not winning the biggest games and never quite connected with some of the fans.

-"Houston Nutt comes to town." After a decade in decline, Arkansas turned to one of its own. A schoolboy phenom as a quarterback at Little Rock's Central High, Houston Nutt turned down Alabama's Bear Bryant for Arkansas, where he played football and basketball. After Broyles' retirement, though he transferred to Oklahoma State, Nutt remained a Hog at heart. And when the Hogs called, looking for a coach, Nutt returned -- and revived the program.

Schroeder takes a colorful look at these stories and many more. "Hogs!: A History" is a book that no college football fan can live without.


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