Teams are often defined by rivalries, in nearly every sport, every team has a rival. A teams rivals are hated, even if your team stinks that year, if they beat their hated rivals, especially if it knocks those said rivals out of contention it’s worth it.
It’s that one game all year that you play your absolute hardest in.
So what makes a rivalry?
Usually the two teams have a long history, LSU and Arkansas date back all the way to 1901. Since then, the two teams have faced each other 53 times.
There has been a lot of amazing games between to the two teams, such as the “Miracle on Markham”, the 1966 Cotton Bowl, and the triple overtime victory by the Razorbacks against number one ranked LSU.
- Switching Teams/Transferring
Student athletes and professional athletes switch teams all the time, heck, even coaches switch teams. Examples that come to mind would be when Terrell Owens went from the Eagles to the Cowboys.
Even before that they were rivals, but the rivalry was intensified greatly after he went to Dallas. In 2007, Arkansas coach, Houston Nutt resigned from the team only to sign with the Ole Miss Rebels (also in the SEC) a day later.
- Trash Talk/Disrespect
Trash talk occurs on and off the field, and happens all the time. Trash talk is part of the sport, and it should motivate the opposing team to win. It also usually results in the opposing team/player being targeted by responding either through the media, or on the field, which has led to fights and cheap shots, thus intensifying or creating a rivalry.
- “Running up the score”
The term “running up the score” is used in when a team scores more touchdowns near the end of the game in a one-sided match up. It is considered unsportsmanlike, but is usually done for other reasons than just running up the score.
The opposing players and coaches view it as poor sportsmanship, the next time the teams face off against each other; it’s bound to be a heated matchup.
- “So we meet again”
In every sport, there is that other team that you always seem to meet up with in the right moment, something like the Colts-Patriots matchups, and in 2007 the Giants-Patriots. Your rivals don’t always have to be in your division, there have been some really great rivalries between two teams in different divisions.
- Fan Bases
The bigger the fan base, the bigger the rivalry. Teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees have some of the largest fan bases in baseball, same with the Patriots and Colts in football, and the Lakers-Celtics in the NBA.
The rivalry between the LSU Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks is known as, "The Battle for the Golden Boot." The Battle for the Golden Boot originated in 1996 although, the two teams have played each other since 1901.
The game is played on the yearly on Nov. 27 and is played in Little Rock, AR one year and Baton Rouge, LA the next.
LSU has won the Battle for the Golden Boot 33 times compared to Arkansas' 19 victories there has also been two ties. Since the introduction of the Golden Boot prior to the 1996 season LSU is 8-5 against the Razorbacks, although, the trophy is currently in possession of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The trophy itself is four feet tall and weights around 175 pounds and it is believed the be the heaviest trophy awarded in a college football rivalry. It is molded out of 24 karat gold into the outlines of the states of Arkansas and Louisiana making it look like a boot.
Engraved on the trophy are the outlines of the major lakes and rivers in Arkansas and Louisiana. The prized-trophy is valued at $10,000.
The rivalry between LSU and Arkansas began in 1901 when the two teams faced each other for the first time; LSU won the game 15-0. They then played each other in every season from 1906-1936 excluding 1918.
They then played each other again 11 years later, and again six years later lasting from 1953-1956. They then went 10 years without playing each other, and met again in 1992 and have played each other ever since.
The Miracle on Markham is considered one of the best games ever played between to the two teams. With 34 seconds on the clock, Arkansas was trailing 14-20; the Razorbacks had the ball at their own 19 yard line. Matt Jones, the Razorbacks QB, went 2-3 on the drive with a touchdown.
He completed a 50 yard pass, then threw an incompletion, he then threw the game winning 31 yard touchdown with nine seconds left on the game clock. Arkansas ended up winning the game 21-20. The “Miracle at Markham” got its name for Markham Street which was right outside of the stadium the game was played at.
A couple of years ago, in 2007, the two teams played in another nail-biter. The un-ranked Razorbacks played the No. 1 ranked Tigers. The Razorbacks won the game in triple overtime 50-48.
Darren McFadden ran for over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns three rushing and one passing, the three rushing touchdowns came on runs of 73, 16, and nine yards. Peyton Hillis also had a big game, he scored a total of four touchdowns, two receiving and two rushing, one of which was a 65 yarder.
Just last year there was another last second come from behind win, the Razorbacks were down 14-30 at the start of the third quarter. Following a QB switch, the new QB, Casey Dick, led the Razorbacks back into the game, Arkansas scored 17 unanswered points on the way to the victory.
With 20 seconds left on the game clock, Casey Dick, threw the game winning 25 yard touchdown pass to London Crawford on fourth down. Some consider the game to be "Miracle on Markham II."
There has been a long, illustrious history between these two teams, their rivalry is considered amongst the top-10.
"The Battle for the Golden Boot" will continue again this year the day after Thanksgiving, November 27th 2009 in Baton Rouge. I don't know about you, but I can't wait for these two teams to face-off, I can't even wait for the College Football season.