It's About Time Arkansas Gets Even With Wisco

ORLANDO, Fla.--The last time — and only time — Arkansas played Wisconsin in football, the Badgers won 64-7 at Madison in 1912.

It's high time for revenge. The Razorbacks haven't done that well against Big Ten schools lately, losing 29-14 to Minnesota in the 2002 Music City Bowl and losing 45-31 to Michigan in the 1999 Florida Citrus Bowl, now called the Capital One Bowl. Through history, Arkansas has never played Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana or Illinois in football; is 1-0 against Northwestern and 0-1 against Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. That adds up to 1-4 against the Big Ten. You'd think there would be more clashes than that in 113 seasons of Arkansas football, but there you have it. If you're wondering how the Razorbacks did in their other games in 1912, here's how that season went. Arkansas opened with a 39-6 win over Henderson State of Arkadelphia, then trounced Hendrix of Conway, 52-0 before losing 13-7 to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State), 27-0 to Texas A&M and 7-0 to Baylor. The Hogs pounded Southwestern of Texas 25-0 before their thrashing at the hands of Wisconsin. The next week, Arkansas bounced back with a close 7-6 loss to LSU. Then the Hogs beat Washington University of St. Louis, Mo., 13-7 before closing with a 48-0 loss at Texas. It added up to a 4-6 record under coach Hugo Bezdek, who was completing a five-year stint in which his record was 29-13-1. Bezdek's teams were called the Cardinals when he started in 1908 and the Razorbacks by the time he finished. Bezdek had a breakthrough season in 1909, as Arkansas went 7-0 and outscored its opponents 186-18. Lore has it that upon the team's return from a 16-0 win over LSU at Memphis that season, Bezdek told UA students that their team had played "like a wild bunch of razorback hogs." It's no wonder thst the students liked the new nickname. They officially adopted it prior to the 1910 season, another successful (7-1) campaign during which Steve Creekmore served as captain. Bezdek's 1911 team went 6-2-1, before the slippage of 1912. Then, as now, it apparently didn't serve a coach well to follow good seasons with a bad one. E.T Pickering took over as UA coach in 1913, phoning home with a 7-2 record. The Razorbacks added Ouachita Baptist of Arkadelphia to their schedule that year, while retaining Henderson and Hendrix. That trio of in-state opponents later butted heads in the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC). Arkansas, on the other hand, joined the Southwest Conference for its inaugural season of 1915 and stayed for 77 seasons, through 1991. Since 1992 the Hogs have matriculated in the Southeastern Conference, a league that fancied itself as the best in the country until things started happening like Wisconsin outgaining Auburn 500-something to 200-something in total yards in last season's Capital One Bowl — one year after Auburn went 13-0. So here's little Arkansas, 11-20-3 all-time in bowls, going up against No. 6 Wisconsin, an 11-1 team that isn't even ranked in the top two of its own Big Ten behemoth. Excuse the Badgers if they giggle while in the Razorbacks' presence this week. With an offensive line that averages about 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds, give or take a wedge of cheese, Wisconsin figures to block out the Florida sun along with the Razorbacks defense. John Stocco, the Badgers' quarterback, has started 35 games — 19 more than Arkansas' two QBs combined. Sure, the Hogs have Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden, but he's only gained a few yards more than Wisconsin's P.J. Hill, who is bound to take umbrage and quietly vow to our-rush McFadden on Monday. So why are the 9-3 Hogs, portrayed by some as practically dysfunctional the past six weeks, favored by a point over Wisconsin? It must be that revenge thing. GRANT HALL IS A MORNING NEWS SPORTS WRITER. HIS COLUMN APPEARS EACH MONDAY AND THURSDAY. E-MAIL: GHALL@NWAONLINE.NET

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