Arkansas vs. LSU: Why This Is the Razorbacks' Biggest Game Since '69 vs. Texas

Dr. SECAnalyst IINovember 25, 2011

LITTLE ROCK, AR - NOVEMBER 19:   Head Coach Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks run onto the field before a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at War Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 44-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

If you were born in 1990 or later, then you have never even seen Arkansas win a conference championship. There last conference championship was in 1989 while a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

They have made it to the SEC conference championship twice but were defeated by Georgia 30-3 in the 2002 SEC championship and also by Florida in 38-28 in the 2006 SEC championship game.

The Razorbacks went into both of those games with a mediocre team and little chance of winning. As a result, the nation has not seen Arkansas in many big-time games. Bobby Petrino did lead his team against Ohio State in the 2010 Sugar Bowl, but once again they were defeated, this time by a score of 31-26.

Today, Arkansas will have another shot at winning a game with a national audience looking on. However, this one is bigger than any of the three games I mentioned above. Yes, winning the SEC championship would have been a big deal and winning the Sugar Bowl would have taken this football program to another level.

However, none of those games had national championship implications for the Razorbacks.

If Arkansas can upset the LSU Tigers today, they have a chance to play for both the SEC championship and the national championship. There is no guarantee that either will happen with a win, but the opportunity is there and it has been a long time since that was the case.

If you are looking for the last time Arkansas was playing a game that could put them into national championship contention, you will have to go back further than even the '70s and all the way back to 1969.

December 6, 1969, the No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks hosted the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns. Both teams were 9-0 and the winner would win the SWC conference and get a bid into the Cotton Bowl for a chance to be named national champions.

It had become one of the nation's best rivalries and had been nicknamed “The Big Shootout.”  Texas and Arkansas were national powerhouses and had won eight of the last 10 SWC conference titles. Both teams had also won a national championship in the '60s and were looking for a second.

The game lived up to the hype as Arkansas led Texas most of the game, including a 14-0 lead in the third quarter. However, Texas was mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter and would take their first lead with just over three minutes remaining in the game. They would not surrender that lead and go on to win 15-14.

The game would be dubbed as the game of the century.

So here we are again, 32 years later, and the Razorbacks are looking at a similar situation. They are 10-1 and facing off against the 11-0 LSU Tigers.  A win does not guarantee the Razorbacks a shot at the national championship, but it very well could end up that way.

Can Arkansas finally win a big game? We will know in just a few hours.