Q&A: Matt Besser, Part Two

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Q&A: Matt Besser, Part Two

Tim Meadows, John C. Reilly, Matt Besser, Chris Parnell

Yesterday, we posted part one of our interview with Matt Besser, comedian, actor and lifelong Razorback fan. In part two, Matt shares his account of attending the 2007 LSU game in person, his thoughts on Mitch Mustain and much more. Read on, and enjoy:

In all of your years as a fan, what was the most exhilarating Hog victory you’ve experienced?

Three come to mind that I’m sure a lot of people my age would share. The Orange Bowl of course was just amazing. I’ve always wanted to make a movie about that whole time period. Steve Little, I should also mention, was a hero of mine as a kid. He’s the one who at the time had the record-breaking field-goal kick, who sadly later was in a car accident and paralyzed. He passed away a few years after that.

That whole team was just fascinating; Holtz suspended some of the players before the game, and our back-up running back, Roland Sales, had such a great game. It was just a storybook game. No one gave that team any credit to win. It was great.

And then there was the U.S. Reed shot that beat Louisville in basketball. I remember watching that game and getting really pissed off that we were going to lose. I turned off the TV right before he shot it, I was so mad. I was like, “Ah, I should turn it back on.” I turned it back on right as the ball was going through the hoop. That was amazing.

Hoisting the Boot

But the most amazing was last year, because I was there, at the LSU game. To actually be in the stadium and witness a great game, I had never done that before. To be there was amazing, especially since when we walked to the game — we walked from the parking lot into the stadium — we got hazed so bad by all the fans, just me and my wife. We walked past the whole marching band, and they were screaming at us, “Tiger bait! Tiger bait!”

We had these drunk rednecks, and their kids were coming up to us. These like 12-year-old kids were yelling at us, “Why don’t you go home? Your coach is going to fired next year! You guys are nothing!” And their dads were going, “Yeah, you tell ‘em kid!” They were really aggressive to us before we even walked into the stadium.

And then we walk in, and we’re not in the Razorback section. We’re right in the middle of all the season-ticket holders. We’re in a sea of gold and purple. The people around us – they weren’t being mean, but they were being patronizing, like we were sick. Like, “Oh, how cute of you to show up and watch your Razorbacks get beat!” They were just so condescending.

I sat in my seat that whole first half. It was really close. I just simmered because I couldn’t scream and yell because I would have gotten throttled.

By the end of the game, it was unbelievable. I was crying. We ran down to the field. All of the fans were out back when the Razorbacks exited the locker room. It was great.

What were you wearing to attract attention?

Just my Razorback windbreaker.

After the game was over, did you worry about your physical safety, or were people just quietly milling out?

No, it wasn’t that kind of scene. I think they were too embarrassed. I wasn’t really focused on that. I was just jumping up and down. It was a miracle.

Does your wife share your Razorback obsession?

No, not at all.

Does she tolerate it, or is she horrified by it?

She’s not horrified. She’s very supportive. She also went with me to one of the worst games I’ve ever seen, when we played USC at USC. We got throttled. I forget what that score was, but it was something crazy.

I remember she said, “I’m going to go get a hot dog.” By the time she went to get the hot dog and came back, they had scored 14 points on us. People were being rude – they were just screaming at us the whole time, the Trojan fans were. That was terrible.

Would you consider that the most depressing loss of your time as a fan?

It was humiliating, but there was nothing at stake really. More depressing are losses when something’s at stake, like a bowl game.

I got really depressed when Sidney Moncrief lost to Larry Bird. That really depressed me. He was my guy, and I thought he was going to go all the way. At that point, I didn’t really know who Larry Bird was. I was like, “Who’s this white guy beating Sidney Moncrief?”

And there was some bowl game when I was a kid – it might have been the year after the Orange Bowl even – it was probably pretty soon after that or maybe even right before it. I think it was the Fiesta Bowl. I think it ended in a tie, 10-10, to UCLA – I forget who it was. [editor’s note: Arkansas and UCLA played to a 10-10 in the 1978 Fiesta Bowl - details are here.]

As I kid I was like, “It can’t end in a tie.” I had just gotten a Mattel electronic football game, and I think I started tearing up after the game. I was like [says in a crying voice], “I’ll give back my electronic football game if we can win this game!”

We saw that you told the Arkansas Times that you thought that it was “bullshit” that McFadden didn’t win the Heisman. We were wondering if your anger had subsided or if you still feel the same say. For the record, we agree.

It’s such bullshit — at least it was Florida, which isn’t much better than USC — but when USC guys win, it’s like, “Come on.” The whole team goes on to be professional, pretty much. I think they had four first-round draft picks last year. USC is on a whole other level, and it’s like, of course Matt Leinhart’s awesome when he’s surrounded by pro lineman.

We’ll get a couple of those guys, but not to the degree that some of those perennial schools do.

To get back to last year, Florida’s just a much better team than Arkansas. McFadden didn’t have anything around him like Tebow did, unfortunately. And the fact that we had zero passing game – every team just planned on shutting down McFadden and Jones. Despite that, how well they did was amazing.

Tebow was not under that same kind of pressure at all. I think that guy’s great, but there’s no way he’s as good as McFadden, and we’ll see what happens in the NFL. That’s all I gotta say.

Arkansans are always sensitive to media bias and people looking down their nose at Arkansas. It felt to me that if McFadden had played for, not even a team like Florida, but say, like, or Alabama or Georgia or LSU, I felt like he probably would have been much more of lock to win it.

I don’t know. Within the SEC, I think a lot of those teams, I can say, don’t get the same respect. It’s sad that the closer you are to the media centers, the more they respect the teams.

I can’t stand USC. They get such media attention. I can’t wait for them to lose this year, and I can’t wait for Mitch Mustain to never play for them.

What was your take on that whole Mitch Mustain- Houston Nutt saga?

I think they were both lame. Look, I guess I can’t blame Mitch Mustain very much, but I do wish that he had stuck it out. I also wish that they had fired Houston a year earlier.

I think I’m irrational about the whole thing. I know you shouldn’t blame that kid. He should get what he deserves, as far as a good opportunity. But man, I wish he was our quarterback this year. That’s the dead honest truth. Or last year, even more. We could have been something.

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