An Arkansas game day on a crisp fall day.
Calling the Hogs!
Auburn 38, #17 Arkansas 23
If you’ve never been to Northwest Arkansas, you might be surprised at what you find. Ozark National Forest is a gorgeous hidden gem in the middle of the country that surrounds hilly Fayetteville. On one of those hills sits Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The pregame team walk is worth catching two hours before kickoff, as Arkansas has a ton of mascots that are very animated, their marching band is terrific, and they bring live mascot Tusk through for fans. Be prepared to walk uphill on this campus or catch the Gold or Silver line shuttles from remote parking (which, however, is free).
Arkansas was coming off a pair of tough losses to swallow to host Auburn in front of a sellout crowd. The premise was very exciting. To be blunt, the result was a tad disappointing.
Calling the Hogs (Woo Pig Sooie) is one of my personal favorite chants and traditions in the nation. Hearing that from 76,000 fans is a really neat– and strange, if this is new to you– experience. However, beyond the first drive, Razorback Stadium was a cemetery.
There wasn’t much to cheer for on Arkansas’ side; they trailed 14-10 at half and led for just one drive in the whole game, 17-14. Beyond that, fans were aggravated with the lack of production from their top-20 football team. It doesn’t take completely away from the Arkansas game day experience, but it was surprising to say the least.
Make sure to keep a stadium map handy, too. Razorback Stadium is a difficult traverse, with many ramps from the upper concourse leading straight out of the stadium rather than to the lower levels.
I take all of this with a grain of salt– 11:00 am (CST) are a tough ask and the bane of many SEC fans’ existence, but Fayetteville was just sleepy. Even from when the team runs through the A, the crowd was just kind of… there.
To top it all off, visiting Auburn came away with a convincing 38-23 victory.
Game Day Grades
Stadium: B. The renovations to the stadium are outstanding and the facility itself is very nice. It’s confusing and difficult to traverse admittedly, but that’s not enough to take away from the stadium as a whole very much.
Tradition: B-. Woo Pig Sooie is one of my personal favorite stadium chants and there’s a few quirks with Arkansas game days, but there’s not enough unique things to list.
Atmosphere: C+. When the Razorback fans have something to cheer about, they’re fairly loud. But compared to other SEC venues, Arkansas lacks. Even in a critical game and with a sellout crowd, I was very underwhelmed.
Tailgating: B+. It’s the SEC, so what do you expect? There’s a ton of people tailgating and it’s all very nice. The Gardens is a pretty cool tailgating-specific area and Road Hog Park is a neat RV area, too. Even with an 11am kickoff, the tailgaters show up.
Fans: A-. Arkansas fans are very friendly and courteous. They’re passionate, even if the venue works against them in keeping in sound. The only knock I have is that they’re late showers. Don’t gauge the crowd until the second quarter.
Extracurriculars: B. Fayetteville is set in the beautiful Ozarks, which offers plenty of outdoor activities. Downtown and the arts district are typical college town amenities, but there’s plenty of eateries and bars. Tulsa is the nearest town, so expect to drive to Fayetteville.