Razorbacks Agree To Texas Showdown

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas and Texas will get two more opportunities to renew their old Southwest Conference football rivalry.

After a month of conversations and negotiations, the two schools announced Monday that they have agreed to a two-year, home-and-home series that will surely bring back old memories and large turnouts when it begins in 2008.

Arkansas will play at Texas on Sept. 13, 2008 in a game that has the possibility of featuring the largest crowd ever at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. At the moment, the Razorbacks are the first opponents scheduled to play in Austin after the stadium's seating capacity is expanded to 90,000 from 80,082.

Texas will travel to Fayetteville to play at Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Sept. 12, 2009. There is little doubt that the game will be a sellout, considering the intense passion that seems to surround the rivalry that dates back to 1894.

"When we left the Southwest Conference and I'd see fans and they would talk about a game back when I coached or (Ken) Hatfield or Lou Holtz coached, the only game they ever talked about was a Texas game," Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles said Monday. "I have not had a single soul say, 'Do you remember the SMU game of '55 or '66?' They don't even talk about it.

"That shows you where the interest is. The interest is (in) playing Texas."

Arkansas officials tried over the last few weeks to remain relatively quiet about the possibility of scheduling a series with Texas. Coach Houston Nutt was even told not to talk about it, but word leaked late last month that the two schools were trying to negotiate a deal.

Broyles said he had mentioned to Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds that the Razorbacks were interested in renewing the long-standing football rivalry. Arkansas and Texas had already agreed to play each other in basketball, and the main thing that prevented a football deal from getting done was finding open dates on their respective future schedules.

"We said we'd like to play them in football whenever they had an opportunity to consider us on their schedule," Broyles said. "So, that was kind of a standing opportunity that we asked them for and it came through."

By scheduling Texas, Arkansas decided to push back its home-and-home series with Texas Christian to 2012. But school officials were more than willing to do that, considering the lengthy history with the Longhorns.

Arkansas and Texas played each other for the first time in 1894, and the series includes the classic Game of the Century played in front of President Richard Nixon in 1969.

The two teams also faced each other in the now-defunct Southwest Conference before the Razorbacks left for the Southeastern Conference.

"We told them that we'd like to play them again, and they knew that," Broyles said. "And they called us and said we'd like to talk to you about (2008 and '09)."

Texas leads the all-time series 55-21, including a 22-20 win at Arkansas in the last meeting on Sept. 11, 2004. That game drew 75,671 fans, which stands as the largest crowd ever to watch a game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

A year earlier, Arkansas upset fifth-ranked Texas in Austin, 38-28.

"You can see how big it was when we played them two or three or four years ago," Broyles said. "The papers in Dallas, Houston and everywhere relived Arkansas-Texas games in their stories -- big, classic games that all fans remember."

Fans should get ready to watch two more.


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