The folks at the Southeastern Conference were bound and determined to make Arkansas and Missouri a rivalry when the latter came into the league prior to the 2012 football season.
Once the two teams finally started playing in 2014, it’s been entirely one-sided, with Missouri winning eight of the 10 meetings of what is now called the ‘Battle Line Rivalry,’ which we shall never forget is presented by Shelter Insurance every year.
Up until now, the rivalry has felt very manufactured, but this past offseason and then as the transfer portal season has opened, things have started to become very real in terms of a legitimate rivalry ensuing.
Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz, a native of Alma and a former assistant coach at Springdale High School and then Arkansas State, is quickly becoming one of the top thorns in the Razorbacks’ side. He has made no secret of his intention to come within the state’s borders and take as many players as he can with him.
Turning Against Arkansas Football
One such player was Pine Bluff receiver Courtney Crutchfield, one of the state’s very best players and one of the better players in the country at his position.
Crutchfield was originally committed to Arkansas but de-committed minutes before Arkansas’ game kicked off with Florida this year. Don’t think that was some random coincidence.
When Crutchfield committed to Missouri on Tuesday, the combative Drinkwitz reacted by doing something exceedingly on brand: sending out a tweet which included video footage of the score showing Missouri 41, Arkansas 0 on the CBS broadcast from the final game of the season.
More trolling – this time of the very large and very tangible variety – followed. Missouri also poached Austyn Dendy and Brian Huff from the state, which prompted the Tigers to put up billboards bragging about it:
Yes, the Arkansas football program had a down year. But if you thought they would just sit back and let Missouri take their licks without some sort of reprisal, you have another thing coming.
Charleston Collins, a Pine Bluff native who flirted with de-committing before ultimately remaining true to the Razorbacks, sent out a post on “X” this morning that was a definite clap back, whether at Tiger Nation or just everyone doubting the Arkansas football program currently.
Collins’ tweet is a CBS chyron showing the score from the Arkansas-Auburn game in 2010 where Bobby Petrino is in trademark “BMFP” mode, flipping off an unknown entity going into the halftime locker room. It’s most likely the officials or someone on the Auburn staff:
You’ve got to think Collins was frustrated with the decision of Crutchfield, who happens to be his cousin, to head to Columbia, Mo. These were the two highest rated recruits in the state this year, and Collins had been trying to re-recruit him back to the Hogs and the two had long talked about playing together at the next level.
They had played together for a season before Collins transferred to Little Rock Mills High, where’s grown to 6’5” and 257 pounds.
On an interview with Wess Moore and Joe Kleine on Wednesday, the pair asked Collins about Crutchfield’s defection to Columbia and toward what game he was most looking forward next year. He didn’t hesitate saying Missouri.
“Yeah, that game right there,” Collins said. “That’s going to be my motivation all season. I told Courtney and Austin yesterday, I’m 2-0. Mills versus Pine Bluff High. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to beat them two years in a row, and I’m hoping to take that tradition on to college.”
His chippy post is reminiscent of former Razorback quarterback KJ Jefferson’s Tweet in 2018, since deleted, when former Razorback Jonathan Nance decided to transfer to Missouri:
There are a myriad of reasons as to why Collins could have chosen to go this particularly extra zesty route beyond the fact that, as he admitted to SBLive, “I’m just a troll. I crack a few jokes just to get people laughing and talking.”
We hear you, Charlie, but we want to still have more fun with this. So, here’s our opinion on the top five reasons behind Collins’ hostile post:
- Clapping back at Mizzou for all the trolling they’ve been doing.
It’s no secret that Missouri fans are active on social media, and now that they’ve got a football team that is worth their salt, they’re puffing their chests out and having fun taking shots at Arkansas whom they have pretty much dominated on the gridiron. Anyone who’s a competitor isn’t going to just idly sit by and take trash talk and not respond. You’ve got to love Collins if this is what spurred him to do so.
- Giving a middle finger to fans who are still hand-wringing over bringing Petrino back.
Although Collins was very young when all the Petrino drama at Arkansas went down, that era made an impression on him. “The Razorbacks run deep in my family,” he said on The Buzz 103.7 FM. “From growing up watching the games, to watching Ryan Mallett and Coach Bobby Petrino coach his tail off. Every week in and out, just really instilled it in me, and motivated me to always want to be a Hog.”
It’s possible this post was a way to circle the wagons, so to speak, around the offensive coordinator Sam Pittman chose to help rectify the offensive troubles and bring the juice back to a football program that could sorely use it.
- Piggybacking off of Snaxx Johnson’s tweet
Lorando ‘Snaxx’ Johnson sent out a tweet last night in which he wrote – and we quote – “some fans be overwhooping i can’t lie <laughing emoji> <laughing emoji>” and a Mizzou fan told him to come to Mizzou in reply. Johnson responded with, “no I HATE YALL,” which is a pretty spectacular mic drop if we’ve ever seen one.
The response has already been made into a T-shirt by Twitter user @TuskyLove. Collins may identify with what Johnson said in his first part of the tweet, or just wanted to get in another dig.
Interestingly, Collins and Johnson have been chatting about how they wlil help lead the defense next season. “We’ve been talking all day today, just coming up with different ways and different ideas to improve the program,” he told SBLive’s Nate Olson on Wednesday.
“Just pick guys up and really getting at the pride and dignity of being a Razorback. You got to have a lot of pride to represent the state.”
- Letting fans know that the 2024 class isn’t soft
One criticism that has been levied at recent Razorback recruiting classes and largely at Pittman’s program as a whole is that it is soft and that is one of the sole reasons for all the defections and losing games and turmoil.
Collins could be saying that it isn’t going to be that way any longer. One thing you could definitely not say about Petrino’s teams when he coached here from 2008-11 were that they were soft. Maybe we see a return to more hard-nosed football.
Collins, for his part, can’t wait to get at it. Already graduated, he’s ready to hit the ground running on his first day of college classes on January 16 as an early entrant. “I want to be out there when it is fourth quarter with 30 seconds left, third and 10, and they on the 30 yard line,” he told Moore and Kleine. “The big plays where things really matter. I want to be the type of guy that can step up, and really put the team on his back, and go out there and get it for his guys.”
- Sometimes, there is no target
It is quite possible that Charleston Collins just woke up and decided that violence was the answer. As he put in on The Zone, “Football’s not a game for the nice guys. So I have a whole different persona. I have a whole different personality when I’m out there on the field.”
He might not have been directing his violent streak at anyone in particular, but just in general he felt like flipping everyone off on his timeline with his school’s old head coach and new offensive coordinator as the messenger was the best bet.
If so, kudos.
More from Charlie Collins’ interview with SBLive’s Nate Olson:
More on bringing pride back to Arkansas football:
“I definitely believe we can bring the spark back to the team. Later on in the season after the losing record, a lot of guys had low hopes. A lot of guys were really jumping in portals, a lot of rumors going around the university. But I feel like the class of ’24 had been a money class. That’s just been a class that everybody’s been waiting on because they know we’re special.”
On being a new generation role model to Pine Bluff kids as the likes of Willie Roaf, Basil Shabazz and Torii Hunter get older:
“I feel like most kids around here won’t relate to Torii Hunter or Basil Shabazz. Me personally, I didn’t know who they was until I was older in age. So we really didn’t have those figures and guys to look up to, and even then, all them moved to Texas and the Floridas and all that.”
“But I feel like one main reason that everybody around here loves me, is because you can see me anywhere, from the Dollar Generals to gas stations, to Walmarts. I’m not a shelled off guy. I’ll stop, take pictures. At a gas station, we’re signing signatures. Just anything to motivate people in my community.”
Listen to the entire Charleston Collins interview here:
See more about another 4-star signee in Ashton Bethel-Roman here:
Highlights from Charleston Collins vs Courtney Crutchfield:
More on Arkansas football from BoAS here: