State of the Hogs: Behind Enemy Lines

Arkansas fans had big fun in Norman cheering the Razorback baseball team to victory. We should have seen it coming with the way Hogs have bashed Sooners this spring.

There are many good Oklahoma fans. But the Sooners have their fair share that qualify as obnoxious. We ran into plenty of those at the baseball regional Sunday night in Norman.

Some were just plain rude, nasty and ugly. They came ready to taunt the Razorbacks and their fans. It didn't last long. Most left before the 11-0 beat down concluded, leaving the 1,500 or so Arkansas fans to Call the Hogs over and over as Andy Wilkins and Drew Smyly had their way with the Sooners.

I'm usually in the press box at athletic events, but this time I sat in the stands with my daughter, Sarah, a third grade teacher at Rogers Westside. She had asked to go early in the week and I finally agreed to take her Saturday night while the Hogs were thumping the Sooners, 17-6, in the winner's bracket final.

It was a grand day Sunday. We loaded my wife's car, equipped with a Razorback license plate, then headed across Oklahoma, kinda like the old days when Sarah was bouncing around the Sooner state playing soccer. We lived her first 13 years in Tulsa. Norman was a frequent destination for tournaments.

There were times then our cars had a Razorback sticker somewhere. Or, maybe there would be a mention of our Arkansas heritage. Many of those smug Sooners responded with taunts or jokes about Arkansas. Outnumbered, we'd take it and move on. When you live behind enemy lines, it's best to maintain a low profile.

That's what we did on the way over Sunday afternoon, listening to the OU broadcast of the Sooners game with Washington State. We chuckled as the OU announcers urged their fans to pack the park Sunday night "so Razorback fans won't be in the majority." Thanks to those pleas, it was probably 50-50, but you wouldn't have guessed it because OU fans never had a thing to cheer about.

The loudest they ever got was in the bottom of the seventh when they began a "No Hitter" chant.

I presume they thought they would jinx Smyly's no-hit bid that went one out into the ninth.

In contrast, Arkansas fans were loud from the start. The Hog Call roared over and over. OU fans sat behind us mumbled and later shouted "sit down" or "your cheers are stupid." They left in the seventh.

I went to the concession stand during the middle part of the game. A Sooner fan told one group of Hog fans, "If this was any other sport, we'd be hammering you guys right now. We own you."

I laughed out loud, but didn't argue. I knew the Hogs had been pretty good against the Sooners in 2009 — in all sports. I did a little research to make sure I was right about the ‘09 Arkansas dominance.

In baseball, the Hogs are 3-0 against the Sooners this spring. The scores were 8-7, 17-6 and 11-0. In men's golf, Arkansas went head to head with the Sooners in Austin. The Hogs finished second, Sooners 16th. The difference was 44 strokes. In women's golf, again in Austin, Arkansas was third, OU 10th, 32 strokes back. In gymnastics, Arkansas knocked off then No. 7 Oklahoma in Norman, then beat them again in the NCAA Championships. In men's tennis, Arkansas beat OU, 5-2. In softball, the Hogs and Sooners split a pair. If you want to go back to the final 30 hours of 2008, there's an Arkansas victory over No. 2 Oklahoma in basketball, too.

Not surprisingly, the Hogs men and women beat the Sooners at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field meets.

Some of these OU fans just couldn't handle all those Razorback fans filling their little stadium Sunday night.

Security had to be called to warn several that they were close to ejections and that had to grind on them as much as what the Hogs were doing on the field. Just think, they were not going to be allowed to taunt the visiting fans for cheering a victory. I thought Arkansas fans were awesome and well behaved.

That includes Bobby Smittle, Mr. Hognoxious. He did his thing, but perhaps a milder version than what he might have done in Baum Stadium. I did see Bobby leaving the stadium singing "It's Hard to Be Humble." He was high fiving Arkansas fans on the way to the parking lot.

It should be noted that most of the Sooners were gracious in defeat, at least the ones who stayed to the end. Two men parked next to us complimented Smyly and our hitters. I didn't have the guts to tell neither Smyly nor our hitters had performed to that level before this weekend. They told us to have a safe trip home.

It was a glorious ride home. I would guess UA athletic director Jeff Long had a fun trip, too. Remember, he worked at OU as senior associate AD under current OU boss Joe Castiglione. These days, the Hogs have made almost every event against the Sooners great fun.

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