Enter the Net: How ‘bout a new football rivalry close to home?

By David Hughes

Since this is a holiday I think perhaps I’ll let technology rest a week or so and use this space to talk about what makes Thanksgiving great ….. SPORTS!
Well … that may be cheating just a bit (grin). Many years ago when I was a student at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro the Indians were a football power in their league. The Indians has Bill Bergey as quarterback and he helped put quite a few points on the scoreboard and made the Tribe one of the most respected teams in the Southland Conference.
However, that did not impress the folks in Fayetteville one whit and die hard Hog fans made fun of State – calling us the “other university” (lower case).
This was just about the some of the legislators from Northeast Arkansas who had a lot of clout on both sides of the capitol building started making noise they would like to see a yearly game between the Hogs and Indians to help develop a statewide fan base for the Jonesboro team. Their rationale at the time was sound – as it is now – that Arkansas is one of the few states that do not have a real in-state rivalry and it was about darn time it happened.
Some of these lawmakers were serious, “suggesting” that perhaps the state should do closer monitoring of sports programs in general, etc. but the Razorback mafia (grin) intimated that maybe too many “home” games were being played in Little Rock already so the UA-ASU matchup suggestion just sort of died on the vine.
Friends, I am talking the lake 60s and early 70s here … that’s a long time ago.
But, I am wondering if the time has not come to resurrect this red herring and give it a shake again in the light of changed horses all around.
Don’t get me wrong – I am a died in the wool Razorback fan and not too pleased the Indians changed their names to a step below wild dogs, but I do think that ASU has earned the right to no longer be considered the red-headed stepchild of state football teams.
Many of the old arguments still apply – especially that UA has the “most to lose” in such a yearly matchup. I wouldn’t want to bet on the Hogs this year in a game with ASU – despite the fact Arkansas is in the SEC and ASU is a Sunbelt Conference heavyweight. At first glance, it would seem they were in different worlds, but you have to consider the “heart” factor.
Arkansas does have at least one intra-state rivalry that draws pretty good crowds – the Henderson-Ouachita matchup. But, it pales in comparison to say Mississippi and Mississippi State or Auburn vs. Alabama in the “Iron Bowl.”
I’m not a sportswriter so I can’t wax eloquently about the majesty of such a game between the state’s East and West, but I do think such a game should be played in War Memorial Stadium each year so a maximum number of fans for each school can attend. Let’s face it: driving to Hogland or J’boro is not that easy. Little Rock is centrally located for the entire state.
Arkansas has a lot of problems to solve in the Legislature and demanding a game between the state’s top universities isn’t a priority, but I really don’t think the plan could come to fruition without lawmakers at least passing a resolution asking for it to happen.
One final thought on such a game. … Both teams could make a lot of money in the deal. Instead of Arkansas having to pay a Louisiana team to play the Razorbacks in Little Rock every year, why not substitute ASU for that first game? It would keep the money in Arkansas athletics.
An alternative could be a “Diamond Bowl” played in January following the “real” bowl games or perhaps have both schools coordinate their bye weeks and have that game during the period?
Save a few bucks on that new holiday flat screen
I just can’t not talk about something tech (grin) or I’ll go into the dts (denied tech).
Are you considering buying one of the new super-duper “flat screen” TVs for the holidays? Wouldn’t it be nice to have instant access to all those Internet channels right on your TV? I have two caveats for you before you plunk down the long green … do you have REALLY FAST Internet service, also how many are using your connection at the same time?
You could be dollars ahead if you buy a set without those features and add an external box from companies such as Roku, Google, Western Digital or others. These boxes – especially Roku – are inexpensive and are constantly adding more channels, something that may not happen with a smart set.
Another money saver is some sets only have one or two HDMI inputs and that may seem a bummer is you have several devices using HDMI. An external five-port HDMI switcher with a remote is under $40 online and works very well.