What would a college sports bucket list be without visiting the SEC, right? I mean seriously, these guys and gals take their football to levels that are very hard for people from some other parts of the United States to totally grasp until you see it in person.
So, we've come to our first venture into SEC football here on the MTB College Sports Bucket List.
No. 52: LSU vs. Arkansas (FBS Football):
There may not be an older, yet newer rivalry in the SEC than the Battle for the Golden Boot between these two border rivals. I say that because this is a rivalry that dates back to 1901, yet it wasn't really annually played until Arkansas joined the SEC after leaving the famed Southwest Conference in 1992. Since then it's been an annual game centered around Thanksgiving weekend.
The Golden Boot trophy wasn't added until the 1996 game, which was a 17-7 LSU victory over the Razorbacks.
Just because it wasn't played all the time doesn't mean the hate subsided as these two teams have played 57 times overall with LSU leading the series 35-20-4. What makes this rivalry so interesting is that they also have played twice in the famed Cotton Bowl (1947 & 1966).
It's a rivalry that's been born out of the results on the field more so than anything off of it, with three of the last five games going to Arkansas and just three touchdowns separating the teams in the last six games.
Then why isn't it higher on the list? Well, it simply doesn't have quite the same cache as say Florida-Georgia, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, and some other SEC rivalries which have a lot to do with on the field stuff, but also with the cultures of the schools they represent.
Event inside the fanbases it's debatable just how big of a "rivalry" this game actually is, but what it may lack in the crazy hatred that others do, it doesn't lack for crazy games and great football - things that should ultimately matter the most.
There may not be a better example of this than the 1947 Cotton Bowl Classic, dubbed "The Ice Bowl," (which is a joke because it was about 20 degrees outside and not -20 degrees, but I digress) which ended in a 0-0 tie. It was a huge defensive battle as one would expect with the bad weather, with Arkansas holding LSU scoreless despite getting inside the ten yard line not once, not twice, but four times during the game. The Tigers on the other had only allowed one first down to the Razorbacks.
Other games to remember include the two "Miracles on Markham" in 2002 and 2008 where the Razorbacks scored in the final minute of each to claim victories over the Tigers. The 2002 win cost LSU a chance at the National Title, while in 2008 the game wasn't quite as nationally significant, but a win is a win, especially in the SEC.
The moral of the story is this isn't quite the rivalry as you'd expect, but anytime you have crazy finishes throughout the history of the series it's at least a great football game and call me crazy, but I'd love to see a good football game over a great tailgate any day of the week.