Aw, yew bet. There's White River channel cat—Frank Broyles likes it better than steak; ask anyone—and strawberries as big and red as Harry Jones's helmet, and fried chicken so tender and flavory it makes a man want to weep. There's good duck hunting and better fishing. You mean you've never throwed a hook in Bull Shoals? There's the Watermelon Festival in Hope, the Grape Festival in Tontitown, the Diamond Cave in Jasper, the Bracken Ridge Lodge Doll Museum in Eureka Springs and the Oil Jubilee in Magnolia. General Douglas MacArthur got himself born in Little Rock, of course, and there was Fay Templeton, the actress, Bob Burns, the comedian, and Albert Pike—he wrote something or other. You also got to consider that Mr. Winthrop Rockefeller, sitting up there on his hill, likes it pretty good. It isn't as though the state of Arkansas never had anything to be proud of before Frank Broyles taught the Razorbacks to bristle and snout. But God love Frank Broyles, and don't cash his personal check. Frame it.
There is a special kind of hysteria in Arkansas now. It is the kind that comes only with a winning college football team. It dabs small, rosy blotches of pride on the cheeks of everyone. And it spreads like measles. It happened in Oklahoma with Bud Wilkinson, in Iowa with Forest Evashevski, in Mississippi with Johnny Vaught, in Texas with Darrell Royal and in Alabama with Bear Bryant. A man comes along—the right man at the right time—to organize things, rally the people, put fire in the athletes, build a winning tradition, and, suddenly, there is an empire. Arkansas is the newest, and those old familiar cries—"Boomer, Sooner," "Hook 'em Horns" and "Roll, Tide"—are being drowned out by a curious new one: "Whoooo, pig, sooey." And Coach Frank Broyles—you will simply have to forgive this—is the sooey with the fringe on top.
Thanks to Broyles, a tall, talkative, excitable, evangelistic native of Georgia, the hysteria is reaching out in all directions. The banker, the farmer, the mechanic, the housewife, the grade-school student—they are all afflicted. They wear red, the university color, almost all of the time, but especially to the games. "We've been talking it up on the radio," says Publicity Man Bob Cheyne, who puts a huge white gardenia with a red "A" into his lapel on Saturdays. "We want a giant mass of red in those stands." The people put signs on their cars, and banners on their homes and businesses. They jam the enlarged stadiums in both Fayetteville and Little Rock, whether the opponent happens to be mortal-enemy Texas or easy-prey North Texas State. They talk football and think football all across the state, and now they are learning the songs that a man named J. Paul Scott keeps writing.
There are frug-type songs, like The Wild Hogs, The Big Red
and Razorback Number One, and there are folk ballads like Quarterbacks Man (SI, Oct. 25) and Light Hoss Harry, which tell of the virtues of Quarterback Jon Brittenum and Hurryin' Harry Jones, the splendid halfback (see cover), who is Arkansas' fastest and most exciting runner since Lance Alworth. Even Oklahoma did not have that many songs, and the Sooners once won 47 straight games.
Small wonder for the hysteria. Last week Arkansas won its 19th game in a row, 31-0 over Texas A&M, and this happens to be the longest winning streak extant among major colleges. Arkansas scored its 227th point of the season for a seven-game average of 32.4 (the nation's fourth best). The victory not only kept the Razorbacks seriously in the running for what would be their second straight national championship, it edged them nearer to a more modest but no less important goal: Broyles's fifth outright or shared Southwest Conference title in the last eight seasons. That, incidentally, would be a record and—sooey, pig!—one more title than Texas' Darrell Royal has.
All of this seems just and proper in the happily mad Ozarks because even Frank Broyles admits that this team, at this stage, is his best ever. It is quick and fiery as always—like Texas and Alabama at their best, except bigger. It is like Oklahoma in its unbeatable days, except smoother. It has all of the trademarks of any solid fundamental team: vicious defense, sound running and splendid kicking. But it has something more—the pass. Arkansas not only throws now, it likes to throw, and it does this from Broyles's own version of the theatrical I formation.
Right here it might be important to note the difference between Broyles's I and the one he learned from John McKay of USC, who is, like Royal, a close friend of Broyles. It is important because it reveals that Broyles can adjust to a trend yet preserve his own philosophy of the game. McKay's pure I, for example, is basically a two-back offense. It splits an end to the weak side and places a flanker to the strong side. Broyles, however, refusing to yield running strength, has fashioned a three-back I, splitting his sensational end, Bobby Crockett, who catches most passes falling on his wishbone, to the strong side, and then using a slot back. The Broyles I thus prevents the defense from overshifting.
The formation, as well as the team, is further enhanced by the presence of red-shirt junior Jon Brittenum at quarterback. All last season Brittenum ran opposing plays against the varsity while being held out to gain seasoning. His emergence as the fastest, best-throwing, best-combined runner-thrower Broyles has had at Arkansas has much to do with the team's current success.
"We didn't know whether he'd develop or not," says Broyles, a former quarterback himself at Georgia Tech. Brittenum did. When he was still scrambling for the job during September workouts, Brittenum told Broyles, "Coach, I know you aren't sure who the quarterback's gonna be, but it's me."
"I knew then," Broyles says.