CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee examines the offseason in the SEC.
State of the Hogs: 20 Years
It's from my first day at the magazine. There are no gray hairs. And just more hair in general.
That's the low point in this magazine, one of my favorites out of the 400 or so we've done. It's the 20-year Anniversary Special of HI and should be available at Walmarts statewide soon.
Matt Jones, our enterprise writer, came up with the idea. We selected the top 20 memories from the last two decades. The cover is our favorite 25 covers. The issue came together wonderfully.
The list of 20 top memories was put together at the start of our 20th year and had to be altered after the Razorbacks went 11-2 this past season. The 2011 season cracked the top 20 at No. 5, same as the final national ranking.
There's also my favorite interview from the past 20 years, a feature from five years ago on Lance Alworth. He was my father's favorite all-time Razorback. There's this quote from Orville Henry on why he loved to watch Alworth. We were watching Matt Jones (the quarterback, not the writer) when the conversation switched to Alworth. The question: Who is the greatest all-time Razorback?
"It's Alworth," Orville Henry said. "Jones is going to be good, but I'm not sure he does as many things as Alworth did. He could run, pass, catch, punt and return kicks. He did it all well. His team won three Southwest Conference championships. He was a big part of that.
"Clyde Scott may be the only one close to Lance as far as the excitement I felt when he was on the field. When you watched Lance, he took your breath away every time he touched the ball. He was my favorite to watch as a player. He was the best as far as I'm concerned."
There's an explanation for the issue and some of the magazine's history in the lead story, my State of the Hogs column. That's where the old picture of me runs. My wife has an explanation for the loss of hair and the "premature" gray.
Jean Ann said that's what happens when you live with three women for 30 years. But that doesn't make sense because there were 10 years of dark hair before then.
I thank my family for putting up with all of the long hours over the last 20 years. It was a scary start. The first game coverage in the history of HI was after the Citadel football loss.
I'll never forget the talk with my family in the car on the way home after I was picked up at the stadium. Our two daughters were in grade school.
My wife suggested that their father's new job might be tough for a bit. They might need to be understanding — and frugal. Yes, and get used to paper cuts from stuffing renewal envelopes for free.
There's one other talk that I remember that predates Hawgs Illustrated. I was about junior high age when my father told me about his job.
"It's not about me, it's about the Razorbacks," he said. "Don't ever forget that. This is our state's passion, all 75 counties. It's always about the Razorbacks. As the Razorbacks go, so goes the state of Arkansas."
That best describes the Hawgs Illustrated mission. It's going pretty well.
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