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Bill’s Blog: The other War Eagle

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Bill’s Blog: The other War Eagle

FROM A DONUT SHOP ALONG CORRIDOR X: Welcome to the other War Eagle.

As the years pass as a member of the Southeastern Conference, the ties that bind together one of America’s greatest athletic conferences tighten down on northwest Arkansas.

What makes Alabama-Auburn or LSU-Ole Miss such events is the cross over. Kids from your home town, going to the "other side." Graduates moving into enemy territory.

One of the standing complaints in the first decade in the SEC for Razorback fans was "where’s our Texas"? Certainly, Arkansas has a past with both LSU and Ole Miss — after all, even before the recent coaching changes UA and UM could not agree on the series record.

These days, northwest Arkansas is finding more and more ties to the Plains of Alabama. As the years pass, UA and AU are gaining that friendly animosity that is the precursor of some genuine rivalry.

Having two or three native sons on the other sideline is a regular occurance among the older SEC teams. That’s a big part of tomorrow’s event.

For years and years, War Eagle wasn’t some opponent’s chant — it was one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in America. Maybe Arkansas and Auburn were simply destined to become rivals.

It is interesting that the two schools have as many athletic links considering this is the longest drive between a pair of SEC West teams. But starting back with former coach Tommy Tuberville to current assistant coach Gus Malzahn, it seems like there has always been a Tiger tie in the series.

Tomorrow promises to be nice weather — that’s an exception to the rule in this series which has featured torrential rain storms and one chilly October a significant little snowfall (um, yes, that game was in Fayetteville).

Time to keep moving toward the end of the road — see you tomorrow from the Jordan-Hare press box.

SPEAKING OF FESTIVALS: If you are not joining me in Auburn, one of the great festival events in the country is taking place this morning in NWA.

No, not our War Eagle. Save that for tomorrow.

One of America’s greatest cross country events, the Chile Pepper Festival, starts tomorrow morning at UA’s Agri Park Cross Country Course. Thousands of runners will participate in a unique mixture of high-level collegiate cross country, town event and youth sports.

At most other schools around the nation, a cross country meet is the teams, a handful of parents and the timers. Not so in Fayetteville. The mixture of the original Chile Pepper Run — a 5K local road race that took place on the old UA cross country course around the Razorback Park Golf Course — with the Bulldog Invitational, Fayetteville High’s annual prep race, and the Arkansas Invitational, the Razorbacks’ event, created a super XC day, focusing attention on the fall distance sport.

With the starting times for the men (9:45) and the women (10:15) meets in plenty of time to take in Saturday’s football game at 2:30, if you haven’t had the chance to experience the Chile Pepper, make the effort.

After all, how many times will you see someone run a 5K in a chile pepper costume sitting down to a taco breakfast and cheering along the Razorbacks? Trust me — it is a see-to-believe event.

TOMORROW’S TWIT TIX: Be ready for the announced location after I have arrived in Auburn and established base camp. Two tickets in the Razorback section — Hog fans only — and you will need to show on your mobile that you have done the "Forward Friday" retweet of our weekly newsfeeds. The giveaway will be on-site at the stadium, approximately 12:30.

NEXT WEEK: Keep an eye on the @ArkRazorbacks feed for the Ole Miss tickets. Expect a multi-step contest not unlike last week’s TwitTix at Cowboys Stadium.

STREAMING HALFTIME: Also next week, we will add the halftime activities of the Razorback football game to our streaming. Band fans get a chance to take in the 300-plus member Razorback Marching Band via RazorVision.

STREAMING THIS WEEK: CBS has the game starting at 2:30. Last time with the Tiffany Network (Bama) the game was put up to stream at CBSSports.com. We anticipate the same again this week.

DON’T FOR GET THE INTERACTIVE: Even if you can see the game, join in with the insider commentary and the chance to chat from the press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium via our official game-day blog.



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