A fresh season means a fresh start. At least that’s what Hog fans are hoping.
The Razorback faithful are readying themselves for 2017.
The Razorbacks are coming off a less-than-ideal year, finishing up at 7-6, ultimately losing in the Belk Bowl to Virginia Tech.
But Hogs fans are happier than ever and are looking forward to Bret Bielema’s fifth season as head coach.
“I want at least 10 wins. That’s a good goal I think. I really want to make a good bowl game and then always go for a National Championship. That would be awesome,” said Grant Shelton, a senior at the University of Arkansas.
“I think we’re going to beat [Texas] A&M because they are a dumpster fire. We are going to step up and get them this year,” said Brandon Prince, a senior at University of Arkansas.
Local businesses are also gearing up for the flood of people that will be pouring in during this year’s football season.
JJ’s Grill, located right in the heart of Dickson Street, puts in extra time on game days. They say it’s a crowd unlike any other, and they’ll have to prep their staff for the rush.
“That’s as busy as it gets for us. We staff up to the max amount of people, so we can get prepared for the people to come in. We take no reservations, because it’s just going to be balls to the wall. Pretty much if you’re not here an hour before kick-off, you’re not getting sat until after the game,” said Richard Tolleson, the general manager of JJ’s Grill.
Tolleson even has his own pre-game speech for his employees. He says he tells his team to just go out and have fun.
Location, Location, Location!
The excitement for Hog football is the same as every season, but where this year’s home opener is taking place is different.
It’s the first and only game in 2017 that will be played in Little Rock.
It’s a polarizing subject when it comes to the Hog season each and every year: How do the fans feel about their annual game in Central Arkansas?
For some, the game at War Memorial Stadium is a change-of-pace; it’s an opportunity for fans from all across the Natural State to get a change to call the Hogs.
But for others, its a burden, a travel-expense and a pain to make the trip over 2.5 hours to get to the 501.
“I want all the home games here because it brings so much business here. It’s a different aura in Northwest Arkansas with the Hogs. Coming from Central Arkansas, I thought I was a huge Hogs fan, which I was. But there’s a whole ‘nother level up here and I enjoy it.” Tolleson said.
“I feel there’s a lot more energy in Little Rock, maybe it’s something different and it’s always such a great time. I’ve enjoyed it all my life,” Shelton said.
The last time the Hogs opened their season in Little Rock was back in 2009. That’s when Arkansas beat Missouri State 48-10.
For now, Hog fans are looking forward to the TCU game next week.
That game kicks off next Saturday, Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m. at Razorback Stadium.