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Mizzou Moves To The SEC: Broyles' Fingerprints All Over Arkansas Football

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Since Texas A&M is in no way a new conference rival, this week marks the sixth and final week of our SEC West experience. Next week, we move to the SEC East. Say hello to your new border rival, Mizzou fans.

Arkansas' Percentile Performance Since 1921 (according to S&P+ and Est. S&P+).
The dotted black line is the school's ten-year average.
For more on Est. S&P+, start here.

(Original helmet photo via

From what I can tell, Missouri's and Arkansas' respective histories differ in four specific ways:

1. Arkansas' greatest ever coach (Frank Broyles) did not leave in 1971 for the Green Bay Packers like Missouri's (Dan Devine) did.

2. When Broyles left, Arkansas hired Lou Holtz instead of Al Onofrio.

3. When Arkansas bottomed out in the early-1990s, they didn't fall as far as Missouri did in the late-1980s.

4. The Hogs left their Texas-based conference 20 years before the Tigers left theirs.

Let's take a look at the program to which Missouri will often be compared now and into the future.

Worst Five-Year Span

1927-31. Who knew, right? Like almost every other SEC program, Arkansas wasn't very good in the early-1930s. Following a nice run under Francis Schmidt (15-3 in 1927-28), Fred Thomsen's time in Fayetteville started with a decent season (7-2 in 1929, with wins over Texas A&M, LSU ... and schools like East Central Oklahoma and Henderson State), then took a turn for the worst. Against Division I teams, Arkansas went just 4-15-2 from 1930-32, losing to teams like pre-D1 Tulsa (26-6 in 1930) and Missouri-Rolla (20-19 in 1932) and tying teams like 2-6-1 Chicago (13-13 in 1931) and Hendrix (0-0 in 1932). While Mizzou was struggling through the ultra-brief reign of Frank Carideo, the Hogs were hurting just the same. But unlike Carideo, Thomsen began to turn things around. Arkansas went 7-3-1 in 1933 and tied Centenary in the Dixie Classic on January 1, 1934. They finished ranked in both 1936 and 1937, but they began to flag again. Thomsen's 13-year tenure ended with his Hogs going 13-25-2 from 1938-42.

Arkansas continued to struggle through war times -- from 1942-45, under three different coaches, they went just 13-26-1 -- then experienced a brief renaissance under one-time Tennessee coach John Barnhill. They won either five or six games each year from 1946-49, fought LSU to a draw in the 1947 Cotton Bowl, and took out William & Mary in the 1948 Dixie Bowl. But Barnhill retired after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (he would remain as Arkansas' athletic director until 1971), and his first two hires, Otis Douglas and Bowden Wyatt (who left to become Tennessee's coach) and Jack Mitchell (who left to become Kansas' coach), combined to go just 37-43-1 from 1950-57. Wyatt did enjoy a conference title and Cotton Bowl season in 1954, which got him hired away to Knoxville, but it was the only time in that stretch that the Hogs went to a bowl or finished with more than six wins.

It's funny the way history's Butterfly Effect plays out. We will go into more detail about this tomorrow, but in 1957-58, Kansas hired Jack Mitchell away from Arkansas, Arkansas hired Frank Broyles away from Missouri, Missouri hired Dan Devine away from Arizona State, and everybody passed on future legendary Nebraska coach Bob Devaney. We'll save the juicy bits for later, but for now all you need to know is that Broyles went to Fayetteville and turned Arkansas into a real football program.

Best Ten-Year Span

1957-66. Before Frank Broyles, Arkansas had finished ranked in the Top 10 just once, in 1954. In Broyles' 19 years in charge of the Razorback program, they did it nine times. After going 4-6 in his first season in charge, they would win at least eight games in seven of the next eight seasons and 12 of the next 14. They would go to four Cotton Bowls (winning two) and four Sugar Bowls (winning one). In his first eight years in charge, they beat six Top 10 teams; they beat No. 1 Texas in back-to-back seasons (1964-65). With wins over Texas and No. 7 Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl, they claimed the 1964 national title from the Football Writers Association of America (Alabama won the AP title).

When Broyles left Columbia for Fayetteville, he set up the rare trade that benefits both sides. From 1960-69, Broyles went 82-24-1 at Arkansas, a win percentage of 0.771. His replacement, Dan Devine, went 76-23-6 (0.755) in that same span of time. Missouri was named national champion by Poling System (yay, math!) in 1960, Arkansas by the more legitimate FWAA in 1964. But Broyles stayed at Arkansas in the 1970s, and Devine left. Broyles' return diminished a bit eventually -- after back-to-back Top 10 finishes in 1968-69, they fell to 11th in 1970 and 16th in 1971, then went just 17-14-2 from 1972-74. The Hogs rebounded to win the SWC in 1975 (they finished the year by whipping Texas A&M in Little Rock, then whipping Georgia in the Cotton Bowl), but Broyles retired (and stayed on as athletic director) following a 1976 season that saw them fade from 5-1 to 5-5-1.

Enter Lou Holtz. The Bobby Petrino of his day, Holtz went from Woody Hayes' coaching staff in 1968 to head coach of William & Mary in 1969. He jumped to N.C. State in 1972, then the New York Jets in 1976. He resigned before a single season was through, however, and immediately jumped to Arkansas. (And you thought their hiring of Petrino away from the Atlanta Falcons was a rare thing.)

Holtz may have been hired under semi-sleazy circumstances, but it's hard to argue with the selection. In his first season in charge, 1977, the Hogs surged to an 11-1 record that included a tight loss to No. 2 Texas and a 31-6 destruction of No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. They finished third in the country in 1977, 11th in 1978, eighth in 1979, and ninth in 1982. After a 6-5 campaign in 1983, Holtz resigned and hopped to another lilypad, this time Minnesota, where he stayed for all of two years until the Notre Dame job opened up. In Holtz's absence, Broyles made a lot of decent-to-solid hires.

First, it was Air Force coach Ken Hatfield, who posted five straight seasons of either nine or 10 wins from 1985-89 before jumping to Clemson.

Then, it was Hatfield's offensive coordinator Jack Crowe, who went just 9-15 and resigned. (He is now the longtime, successful coach at Jacksonville State.)

Then, it was former Clemson coach Danny Ford, who led the Hogs to a surprising SEC West title in 1995 (at 5-3) but went just 26-30-1 in five seasons in Fayetteville.

Then, it was the right reverend Houston Nutt, one of college football's ultimate teases. He led the Hogs to a surprising 8-0 start with wins over Alabama, at South Carolina and at Auburn, and his No. 10 Hogs led No. 1 Tennessee late in Knoxville. But then this happened. Clint Stoerner infamously fumbled away a late lead, Arkansas lost three of four to finish the season, and the Hogs spent much of the next decade chasing what could have been. They were consistently solid under Nutt, winning two SEC West titles (2002 and 2006), but they couldn't ever break through all the way, even with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in the backfield, and Nutt was cut loose before the Cotton Bowl in 2007.

Bobby Petrino, the first post-Broyles hire, made his Holtz-like entrance to Arkansas in 2008, and steadily built a strong program. Arkansas went 21-5 in 2010-11, but ... well ... you know the rest.

The last 55 years in Arkansas' history have been creative, interesting, and mostly successful. We'll see what happens with a coaching change on the horizon.

Retired Numbers

12. Clyde Scott is one of Arkansas' greatest ever athletes, both a football star and an Olympic medalist in the 110 meter hurdles. He was a first-round NFL draft pick in 1948.

77. Brandon Burlsworth was a walk-on turned All-American in the late-1990s. He was drafted in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft but died in a car wreck less than two weeks later. In his honor, the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was created to help underprivileged children.


Arkansas plays its home games on Frank Broyles Field in Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Capacity: 72,000. The south endzone has been designed to hold an additional expansion of about 7,300 more seats when deemed necessary and appropriate. It is a bit more vertical than Missouri's Memorial Stadium, and as you see from the map below, it towers over Razorback Road, which lends to an odd driving experience.

Arkansas On YouTube

Ten semi-random highlights via the YouTubes:

Call them Hogs.
Frank Broyles is Arkansas football.
A 10-7 win over Nebraska completes an undefeated 1964 season.
Lou Holtz's Hogs destroy Oklahoma in the 1978 Orange Bowl.
A win over Texas A&M gives the Hogs their second straight SWC title in 1989.
The "Miracle on Markham" steals a win over LSU and the 2002 SEC West title.
Darren McFadden made a habit out of destroying South Carolina.
Arkansas shocks LSU over Thanksgiving in 2007, opening the door for the Missouri-Kansas winner to become No. 1.
Arkansas puts the LSU game away on fourth-and-3 in 2010
Arkansas comes back from 18 points down to beat Texas A&M in 2011. (Full game here.)


View their statistical profile here. John L. Smith inherits an interesting roster that is almost certainly of Top 15 caliber but still quite a ways behind Alabama and LSU. Barring a surge from an Auburn, Mississippi State or Texas A&M (always a possibility), the Hogs will be a pretty clear No. 3 in the SEC West.

Five Interesting Returnees On Offense
QB Tyler Wilson (6'3, 220, Sr.) (3,638 yards, 63% completion rate, 24 TD, 6 INT, 7.5 yards/attempt)
RB Knile Davis (6'0, 226, Jr.) (1,322 rushing yards, 13 TD, +16.5 Adj. POE in 2010)
G Alvin Bailey (6'5, 319, Jr.) (26 career starts, 2nd-team All-SEC)
WR Cobi Hamilton (6'3, 209, Sr.) (542 receiving yards, 9.3 per target, 59% catch rate)
RB Dennis Johnson (5'9, 213, Sr.) (670 rushing yards, +7.7 Adj .POE; 255 receiving yards, 8.2 per target)

Five Interesting Returnees On Defense
OLB Alonzo Highsmith (6'1, 229, Sr.) (58.5 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks)
DE Chris Smith (6'3, 251, Jr.) (22.0 tackles, 6 TFL, 3.5 sacks)
DT Byran Jones (6'2, 310, Jr.) (30.5 tackles, 4.5 TFL)
S Eric Bennett (6'0, 200, Jr.) (53.0 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 INT, 3 PBU)
DE Trey Flowers (6'4, 243, So.) (22.0 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 PBU)


Missouri's All-Time Series Versus Arkansas

Once again, Mizzou leads an all-time series. Going back to 1906, the Tigers have taken three of five from the Hogs. Blurbs from the 1944 and 1963 games below come from Bob Broeg's inimitable Ol' Mizzou: A Story Of Missouri Football.

  • November 10, 1906: Missouri 11, Arkansas 0 (in Columbia)
  • September 23, 1944: Arkansas 7, Missouri 6 (in St. Louis)

    The 1944 team, its schedule back up to 10 games, concentrated on metropolitan areas where public transportation made it wise to bring the mountain to Mohammad. For instance, to St. Louis, where a blocked punt was costly in a 7-6 opener loss to Arkansas before a modest several thousand at Sportsman's Park.

  • September 28, 1963: Missouri 7, Arkansas 6 (in Little Rock)

    This one, a night game watched by an overflow 41,000, pitted [Dan] Devine against the man he had succeeded, Frank Broyles, who had walked away from Missouri and established a dynasty at Arkansas. Emotions ran high. Both coaches were up and down like jumping jacks. At one point Devine, annoyed, moed the stakes for a first down when the Arkansas chain-gang seemed reluctant to accede to an official ruling. Six Arkansas state police escorted the Missouri coach back to his bench.

    With fleet quarterback Billy Gray sprinting around end early, it looked as if the rapid Razorbacks would run the Tigers right out of War Memorial Stadium as they surged to a quick 6-0 lead. But then giant George Seals, a 250-pound MU end, creamed Gray.

    Seals, who went on to star in pro football as a savage lineman, was so steamed up in a brilliant performance that he drew a most unusual 15-yard penalty--for running into the referee.

    Meanwhile, a poised [Gary] Lane blended the running of a quick Kentucky halfback, Monroe Phelps, with his own precision passing, and led MU on a long third-quarter scoring drive. Gus Otto plunged over from the 2-yard line, and Leistritz's placekick gave Missouri a most satisfying 7-6 victory.

    Kansas City fans were so happy that they presented Devine with a gold clipboard to replace the one he had fired to the ground in disgust at Little Rock. Aside from king-sized, jewel-encrusted tiger cuff links presented him years later by the Knights of the Cauliflower Ear, a prestigious sportsmen's group in St. Louis, that gold clipboard probably ranked highest in the coach's affections.

  • December 31, 2003: Arkansas 27, Missouri 14 (Independence Bowl, Shreveport)

    Like many of Shreveport’s visitors, the Tigers gambled often in a city known for its craps tables and nickel slots and came home losers as Arkansas prevailed 27-14. […] Displaying an aggressive offensive approach that won big games earlier this season, Missouri (8-5) came up short in its first bowl game since 1998. Costly special-teams mistakes and poor play in the red zone eroded an otherwise solid offensive performance that saw MU outgain Arkansas (9-4) in total yardage 407-385.

    But a snippy Pinkel took little solace in that achievement moments after the game.

    "We had more total yards, but that doesn’t mean anything," he said. "Good football teams don’t make the monumental number of errors we made."

    Despite all 407 of those yards — of which 252 came on the ground — several times, all the Tigers needed was a few more feet.

    * In the second quarter, on a fourth-and-1 on Arkansas’ 12-yard line, a toss to tailback Zack Abron went for no gain, turning the ball back to the Hogs.

    * In the final seconds of the first half, MU tried to fake a field goal rather than attempting the 42-yarder, but Arkansas’ punt rush hurried holder Sonny Riccio, who was intercepted by Tom Crowder. Only a tackle by Clint Matthews prevented Crowder from returning the pick for a touchdown.

    Riccio was supposed to hit Thomson Omboga in the flat for the fake.

    "It was supposed to be a quick pass," Riccio said. "I had to buy time, and I had to get one off as best I could."

    * On fourth-and-goal from Arkansas’ 1-yard line early in the third quarter, Brad Smith rolled right but was intercepted in the end zone by safety Lerinezo Robinson.

    For the game, the Tigers converted just two of six fourth-down attempts.

  • January 1, 2008: Missouri 38, Arkansas 7 (Cotton Bowl, Dallas)

    Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden cruised into Texas last week, arriving in style behind the wheel of a Cadillac Escalade.

    His Missouri counterpart left yesterday on a makeshift chariot, riding on the arms of his teammates.

    If yesterday’s Cotton Bowl was indeed Tony Temple’s last day in a Missouri uniform, his career concluded in historic fashion. With 8:43 left in a game that had long been decided and his hamstring feeling tight, Temple needed 25 yards to break Dicky Maegle’s 54-year-old Cotton Bowl record for single-game rushing yardage.

    One last touch and 40 yards later, Temple turned a memorable day into a record-breaking romp. The senior tailback took Chase Daniel’s handoff, bounced to his right, twirled out of Michael Grant’s tackle and outraced a crowd of Razorbacks to the goal line. Feeling his hamstring twinge near the 5, Temple was carried back from the end zone to the sideline by Daniel and offensive tackle Tyler Luellen, a personal escort of necessity and celebration. […]

    With the victory, No. 7 Missouri (12-2) won a dozen games for the first time in its 117 year-history and improved to 11-14 all-time in bowl games.

    Even better, the Tigers should have cemented their spot among the top seven in the final polls and perhaps boosted their 2008 stock toward a top-five preseason ranking. […]

    Temple’s future is uncertain, but his Cotton Bowl legacy is as crystal clear as the shiny offensive MVP trophy he was handed yesterday. In front of an evenly split crowd of 73,114, Temple’s yardage surpassed single-game totals of past Cotton Bowl participants Doak Walker, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Bo Jackson, Ricky Williams and Maegle, the ex-Rice back who was infamously tackled off the sideline by Alabama’s Tommy Lewis in the 1954 game. In that game, Maegle ran the ball 11 times for 265 yards, including the 95-yarder he was awarded after Lewis’ illegal tackle.

    "Honestly, I thought if anyone would have a chance of breaking the record," Maegle said after the game when reached by Cotton Bowl officials, "I would have thought it would have been one of the Arkansas running backs."