IN-DEPTH: Bazzel talks about Arkansas

The Southeastern Conference Championship game between Florida and Arkansas provided me with a wonderfully unique opportunity to talk X’s and O’s with a former teammate, classmate, and long time friend David Bazzel who provides us with an in-depth look at the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The former Arkansas linebacker is the co-host of KABZ’s “The Show with No Name” and KATV’s “Sportsweek” in Little Rock. He loves the game of college football and has taken on endeavors to make the sport more enjoyable for Arkansas fans since graduation.

Bazzel created the Broyles Award which is given annually to the top assistant coach in college football. He also created “Battle for the Boot” which is presented each season to the winner of the LSU/Arkansas game.

Nobody has a better understanding of Arkansas football than David Bazzel.

I’ve known David Bazzel since our youth football days with the Lynn Haven Raiders. At that time, we were both Florida Gator fans. Big Florida fans in the hopeful Doug Dickey Era. Hopeful doesn’t always translate into victory. We were on a bus for a team trip to Tallahassee for the Florida State/Southern Miss football game in early November 1976. I’ll never forget the grin on head coach Don McCormick’s face when he stepped in front of our seat and told us Georgia would come back to beat a 6-1 Florida team on that most forgettable day. We weren’t having any of that. We were certain the Gators would finally become SEC Champions. As usual though- Coach McCormick was right. Georgia 41 Florida 27. He semi-jokingly let us know it too. I think that we both momentarily despised that great man for at least a few minutes on the trip that seemingly lasted forever.

Bazzel later went on to become an All-State linebacker at Mosley High School. He was a hot commodity in the recruiting circles and put the pen to paper with Arkansas and then coach Lou Holtz. He thoroughly loves Arkansas, where he has remained a resident since his playing days.

He hasn’t forgotten his Florida roots though. Earlier this week he left me a message, “Who would’ve thought even five or six weeks ago when we’re talking about the other story that we’d have a chance to do this- two guys from little old Lynn Haven with our favorite teams in the SEC Championships?” We later talked briefly about those days and he said that he still pulls for Florida and the Florida teams when they’re not playing Arkansas.

Obviously, we’re no different from you. All of us get the chance to interact with a longtime friend or family member who is a die hard fan for the opposing side. It’s especially fun when that friend provides outstanding information on their team. It’s a big part of what makes college football fun. But, doing so with a championship on the line in a first rate conference and in a first rate setting takes the experience to an entirely new level.

This is the first two in a three-piece audio series with Bazzel about the Southeastern Conference match-up between Arkansas and Florida.