Old Rivalry, New Fuel

This is a rivalry that dates back a many of years, more than any player on either roster. But based on some of the comments made prior to the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, which will be played between Texas and Arkansas, the two sides have generated enough of a buzz to get at least some newfound bitterness between the two. At the team luncheon on Saturday, some of that was shared.

Forget the fact that the Texas and Arkansas players on the current rosters likely have little to no knowledge of the rivalry these two teams had from the Southwest Conference days. But when it comes to building momentum for games, these players don’t have any issues creating a buzz on their own. 

Even back when the two teams played last (September 2008 – Texas won 52-10 over Arkansas), things like twitter, Facebook and other popular social media devices did not have the reach or the power that they do today. And with that being a major factor in our society today, it magnifies nearly everything, whether that is the intention or not. So with the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl Team Luncheon taking place Saturday afternoon in Houston, Texas, there was not much to draw upon, but there was a sense that these teams already came into the event with at least a little edge. 

With this, the stage was set early when Arkansas wide receiver Kendrick Edwards took to twitter around the time when the announcement was made that these two SWC foes would face off in the bowl game. He made a post saying that the upcoming opponent in Texas was “too easy,” a comment that was not taken too well by Longhorn players. 

Basically, 90 percent of what was said was complimentary and nowhere near bulletin-board material. So there were no comments that even compare to Edwards quotes. Even though it was mentioned by Arkansas coach Bret Bielema that perhaps something was said during the light-hearted players Q&A during the luncheon that didn’t bode well with his guys.

“You can see on stage, our three guys didn’t like comments they said. They probably didn’t like comments we said. That’s why you play the game,” Bielema said.

What comments could the Arkansas coach been referring to? Maybe it was the Quandre Diggs comment after it was suggested that he is the best dancer of the three guys (John Harris and Jordan Hicks were the other two). With that, Diggs was asked to show off a few dance moves. It was clear that he wanted no part in that, even though Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen cut a small rug moments before. Diggs said what he felt.

“Y’all will see me on Monday.”

That of course drew a few ohhs and whoas from the crowd. And if there was possibly another comment that wasn’t taken well from the Arkansas side was when the question was asked about playing in NRG Stadium in front of a sold out crowd of over 71,000. The Razorback players were excited about playing in front of a huge crowd. It was even mentioned that playing on the same field as players from the Houston Texans was “exciting,” which drew applause from the local fans. 

For Harris, the game is big, but the atmosphere is common.

“It’s another big time game for us. We are used to playing in front of a 100,000-plus so it won’t be anything new to us. We will just go out and play.”

Diggs followed up with the notion that he, along with many others, will be “at home” to a stadium full of burnt orange. Based on the reaction from the players on stage and the crowd feedback, that didn’t go over well either.

In totality, all of the comments made were nothing to make too big a deal about, but clearly the two sides have done a great job in adding some edge to this Texas Bowl matchup.

Of course, then there is the photo of Bielema that has circulated throughout the twitter verse in which he and Strong did the opponent’s handshake. It has been shown and made mention that the Arkansas coach, while in the photo with Strong threw the ‘Horns down” with his opposite hand. Of course, there are some photos that do not show this action, but a few that do. Was it done intentional or not? No one knows, but as said earlier, everything is magnified regardless of intent.

The series edge is in favor of Texas with a 56-21 lead, but that number has no relevance when it comes to the faceoff that will take place on Monday at MRG Stadium. It what happens at the end of the night is all that matters.


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