Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Hogs have shot to regain some respect
FAYETTEVILLE After its first three years in the SEC, Arkansas had no need for a barometer.
The South Carolina Gamecocks would do.
The Razorbacks and Gamecocks, who battle today in Columbia, S.C., stumbled through their first SEC seasons like Missouri is now.
Since 1995, when former Coach Danny Ford’s Razorbacks won the SEC West, you could gauge Arkansas’ season by its annual clash with the Gamecocks.
Win, as Arkansas did in 1995, 1998 and 1999, 2001-2003, 2006 and 2007 and 2009-2011, and the Razorbacks advanced to a good bowl or won the SEC West.
The Carquest and Music City were not the bowls the 1995 and 2002 SEC West champion Razorbacks had in mind, though.
Lose to South Carolina, as Arkansas did in 1996 and 1997, 2003 and 2004 and 2008, and it was no bowl at all other than 2000. The 2000 Razorbacks lost to South Carolina and finished a 6-6 season by embarrassing themselves with a loss to UNLV in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Given its 4-5 overall record, including 2-3 in the SEC, the barometric pressure rises on Arkansas today against South Carolina (7-2, 5-2), which is ranked No. 8 in the BCS standings.
Still, finishing with three BCS ranked teams - coming off winning three of its past four - gives Arkansas a shot to reclaim some acclaim that was lost in a 1-4 start.
“It’s definitely going to give us a chance to play on a stage the next three games,” Arkansas senior quarterback Tyler Wilson said. “We’ve got a shot, and we’re going to give it our best go.”
Rita “Nana” Ferrell, wife of the late Bill “Groundhog” Ferrell, the beloved Arkansas Razorbacks trainer and baseball coach, and certainly beloved in her own right, died this week at 98.
Most everyone in Fayetteville knew Mrs. Ferrell because most everyone in Fayetteville knows at least one Ferrell.
The couple had 11 children, nine still living, with six still in Fayetteville. Mrs. Ferrell knew and loved 23 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
One son, the late Eddie Ferrell, followed his father’s professional footsteps and was the trainer at Virginia Tech.
Bill Ferrell, enshrined in the UA’s Hall of Honor, joined the Razorbacks in 1950. He served four football coaches and coached Razorbacks baseball until leukemia claimed him in 1967.
Those on Frank Broyles’ 1964 national championship team, including the coach, repeatedly refer to “Groundy’s” wisdom and ability to comfort them and goad them as essential to their going 11-0.
Yet Mrs. Ferrell may have had the more compelling story of the two. Still with four children at home upon her husband’s death and walking most everywhere because she never drove a car, Mrs. Ferrell took a job at Campbell-Bell on the Fayetteville Square and then managed the Boston Store at the Fayetteville Mall while always being a part of her children’s lives and a mainstay of St. Joseph’s Church. The Razorbacks never forgot her.
Former football players Eddie Bradford, Harold Horton and Jim Lindsey, former trainer Dean Weber and former baseball Coach Norm DeBriyn were among those at Thursday’s visitation.
Sports, Pages 20 on 11/10/2012