Hard as it is to believe, these two conference foes have met only twice since Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992, and only three times before that. All three of the Commodores' previous road meetings with the Razorbacks took place in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, which for years was Arkansas' "home away from home." The Commodores played there previously in 1950, 1978 and 1994.
War Memorial Stadium, which today seats 53,700, was for years where the Razorbacks played most of their "important" games. Back in the days when Arkansas was a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference, Razorback Stadium was nothing special; up until 1984 it seated only 42,000.
But Vandy fans who've never seen Razorback Stadium, as well as those who haven't been here for a while, are in for a shock. Arkansas boasts some of the finest athletic facilities in the country, and Razorback Stadium, which has been upgraded over the years to seat 72,000, is the showpiece (along with 19,200-seat Bud Walton Arena for basketball).
After the completion of its latest expansion in 2001, Razorback Stadium includes a beautiful new outer façade, a mammoth 103-foot-wide Jumbotron, and an enclosed end zone. In the north end zone is the spacious Broyles Athletic Center, which houses locker rooms, coaches' offices and a Hall of Champions. Like most other modern SEC stadia, Razorback Stadium is lined by skyboxes for its biggest donors.
In short, it's been made into one of the conference's most intimidating venues... and that's saying a lot. When Razorback Stadium is near capacity, with all that enclosure, the noise level can rival some of that of the SEC's loudest. (Little-known fact: over the last seven years, Arkansas is tied with Tennessee for most home wins by an SEC school.)
Vanderbilt's season hopes were bolstered last week by a surprising road win over Wake Forest. The plucky Commodores, led by senior quarterback Jay Cutler, won the school's first road game since 2001, its first season opener since 1997, and its first road opener since 1993.
Nonetheless, and to no one's surprise, the Razorbacks are double-digit favorites in most corners Saturday. A Vanderbilt win in Fayetteville would send VU's media relations folks scrambling to answer even more "When was the last time... ?" questions. To make it easy on them, we've done a little searching through the record books. Enjoy.
2. When was the last time Vanderbilt won an SEC road game? A: 1999, when the Commodores upset Ole Miss in Oxford in overtime, 27-24.
3. When was the last time a Vanderbilt team won a game in a stadium that seats more than 70,000? A: 1994, when Vandy upset Georgia in Athens, 43-30.
4. When was the last time Vanderbilt opened SEC play with a win? A: 1990, when the Commodores defeated LSU in Nashville, 24-21.
5. When was the last time a Vanderbilt team opened the season 2-0? A: 1988, when Watson Brown's team opened the season with victories over Mississippi State and Rutgers. The 1988 Commodores won only one more game and finished 3-8.
6. When was the last time Vanderbilt won an SEC opener on the road? A: 1984, when the Commodores defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa, 30-17.
7. When was the last time Vanderbilt defeated Arkansas? A: 1950, when the Commodores edged the Razorbacks 14-13 in Little Rock. That's also Vandy's only win over the Razorbacks; Arkansas leads all-time series, 4-1.