The Arkansas Razorbacks, the only fan base in America that could also double as a militia, are like the family with the worst house in a rich neighborhood. They should be happy with what they’ve got, but instead they spend most of the time looking around them wondering why they don’t have what everyone else in their neighborhood has.
Arkansas is not Texas — although they recently beat the Longhorns so badly in a bowl game that Charlie Strong couldn’t remember the name of his starting quarterback — they aren’t Oklahoma, they aren’t LSU, and they aren’t Tennessee. Imagine what it’s like to border all four of these states which rank in the top 15 all time in college football wins. Then toss in Alabama and Auburn as yearly rivals and you have the recipe for the most delusional fan base in the country. If all of those other schools are always winning championships, why aren’t we?
Well, the easy answer is because you’re Arkansas.
Thank God the state of Arkansas also borders Missouri and Mississippi — these three states constitute the SEC’s “No Respect” belt because fans in all three states spend most of their time asking why they don’t get more respect — because if they didn’t Razorback fans would be even more insane. Toss in the delusions of neighborhood grandeur and cross pollinate it with an expectation that everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and you end up with the potent cocktail of Razorback fan base stupidity, eau d’hog.
Arkansas’s the mystical, distant mountain kingdom of the SEC, and Fayetteville is like the castle nestled in the mountains. It’s remote. As former coach Lou Holtz once said, “Fayetteville’s not the end of the world. But you can see it from there.”
As a result, most Razorback fans have never left the state — except for that one trip to Memphis when they were 11 — and this provinciality breeds intense partisanship. They believe Arkansas is the best because they’ve never seen anything other than Arkansas so how can Arkansas not be the best? With a perpetual redneck swagger — even Tennessee fans are like, “Arkansas fans are rednecks,” — a perpetual chip on their shoulder, talk to any Arkansas fan for more than ten minutes and he or she will bring up the Walton family. “You know,” they say, “they’re really rich.”
Yeah, we know.
All programs have really rich boosters. But that’s not good enough, Arkansas’s boosters are richer than yours. They remind you of the kid in the worst house on the block bragging about his new microwave, it’s just trying way too hard.
Although there’s a perfect symmetry in Oregon, the coolest program in the nation being supported by Nike, and Arkansas, not the coolest program in the country, being funded by Wal Mart.
The Arkansas fan virus is so potent it infects everyone, even former president Bill Clinton, who once posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing Arkansas basketball warm ups. Despite the fact that the Razorback basketball team has not been to the Sweet 16 since 1996, if you call this anything other than a “dry spell,” “your a hater.”
What’s the most Arkansas football move possible? Going to the Sugar Bowl with Bobby Petrino, losing a tight game there, and then just over a year later your coach wrecks his motorcycle while driving his mistress — whom he hired to work in the football office — on the back of his bike. The rest of the country was stunned beyond disbelief at what happened. But Arkansas fans just took off their Hog hats and wept quietly in the corner. They totally expected this.
So the Razorbacks bring in John L. Smith — they didn’t know yet that the L stood for loser — and hand him Petrino’s top ten football program. You know what happened next, it was like Clint Stoerner’s 1998 fumble in slow motion over the next three years. In 2012, Smith went 4-8. Who knew that Arkansas fans would soon consider those the good years? The next year the Razorbacks hit rock bottom, going 3-9 and 0-8 in the conference.
On the positive side they hired Bret Bielema, the physical embodiment of every Arkansas fan on Earth. Seriously, does any program in the country have a coach who looks more like the average fan? I can’t think of one.
During Bielema’s first year their new coach’s wife — the hottest woman in the state — tweeted out #karma after a Wisconsin loss. After starting off 3-0, the Razorbacks lost their next nine games.
The drought continued as the 2014 Razorbacks lost their first five SEC games to begin Bielema’s SEC tenure 0-13. But then they won two out of three games, finishing the SEC season 2-6, the most thrilled any program has ever been with a two win SEC football season. Then came the bowl game, when Arkansas gelded the Longhorns.
In predictable fashion, Razorback fans immediately returned to delusions of grandeur.
Woo pig sooie, a national title was in their grasp.
What’s an Arkansas Razorback fan like in his native element?
Your uncle Bobby Ray shows up an hour late to Thanksgiving dinner, walks inside, taps you on the shoulder and asks you to come outside for a minute. He’s driving a 1978 Ford pick-up with a camo top and the Arkansas Razorback peeing on an LSU logo on the tailgate. He says, “Now you can’t tell anybody about this,” and then before you can say anything at all he yanks off his camo tarp inside his camo top to reveal more guns than the Army of Northern Virginia had at Gettysburg.
“Is that a bazooka?” you say.
“Black ‘copters,” he says, winking.
“Why do you have all these guns?”
“Government might come after me. Before we eat Thanksgiving dinner I like to make sure I have the best escape route mapped out. You comfortable with an AK?”
“I might need you to cover me,” your uncle says, walking past you to scope out a holler in your grandma’s backyard. “That hit the old county road?”
“I don’t even know what the old country road is,” you say.
“Good talk,” he says, carrying his gun up the front steps. Then, just before he enters, he turns, “Can you believe they took our Thanksgiving day game against LSU away? Everybody always trying to cut the Razorbacks down. Woo pig.”
For the next two hours every ten minutes your uncle will get up, walk to the windows and look outside. When an airplane passes overhead he quietly whispers, “They’re always watching.”
Your uncle hasn’t been on a vacation in five years, not since his “wife” — by common law at least — left him after they got into an argument about whether or not Branson Missouri, the city they vacationed in for the first 18 consecutive years of their marriage, had “sold out.”
Your uncle has not worn a long sleeve shirt outside of church since 1984, preferring flannels with the sleeves cut off. When you asked him why he didn’t wear sleeves, he said: “Homos wear sleeves.”
He firmly believes that Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones would have been the greatest wide receiver in NFL history but for being unfairly targeted for his drug habit. “When a white guy does drugs, the feds always catch him,” he says, “Always.”
He knows from experience. Having served five years in prison for meth distribution.
Despite his firm anti-government views, he voted for every Democrat running for President in his life — including Bill Clinton twice and even John Kerry! — but could not vote for Obama because he was “too liberal.” By which, he meant, “black.” (Also, he may not have the right to vote because of his felony conviction, but he also doesn’t have a driver’s license now because, “That’s how the government keeps track of you. With microchips.”)
For the past eight years he has argued that if he went to any other SEC school other than Arkansas that Darren McFadden would have won three consecutive Heisman trophies.
Once, when you were 12 years old on your way to baseball practice, he pulled an abrupt u-turn, drove over a median and squealed into a Hardee’s parking lot. Upon stopping he gave you a GPS tracking device and told you to put it on Houston Nutt’s SUV. Neither of you have ever talked about it since, but you’re pretty sure he was thinking about kidnapping Houston Nutt and holding him hostage in the shed behind your grandma’s farm.
In fact, that’s where he is now, hunched over his turkey leftovers with an AK-47 balanced pendulously on his knees, listening to the Razorback call in show while he scans the heavens for black helicopters.
WOO PIG SOOIE!
Outkick’s 10 dumbest fan bases in America countdown continues every Thursday all summer long.