The Golden Boot, one of the more unique rivalry trophies in college football, goes to the winner of the annual SEC West showdown between Arkansas (5-4, 3-2 in SEC) and LSU (7-1, 4-1). After possessing the Boot for three straight years, LSU finally lost the prize to the Razorbacks last season.
Arkansas winning the Boot was made all the more sweet by the importance of the win for Hog Nation. The 17-0 shutout was Bret Bielema’s first SEC victory and ended the Razorback’s 17-game winless streak in conference play.
The jubilation experienced by the Razorback faithful in victory — the fans stormed the field after finally winning a conference game — exemplified the what the game means to both fan bases.
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This was not lost on LSU head coach Les Miles, as he spoke of recapturing the Golden Boot during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference.
“Certainly It’s an important piece," he said, "we recognize when we don’t have it. It’s an important rival.”
“We are in a good position, we just have to hold point. Our guys understand that,” Miles said.
“I can only tell you that we are a team that has a lot to play for. This is a quality team coming in here but we have goals and aspirations of our own. You will see a team that plays to that.”
The way Bielema sees it, the Tigers will likely use any frustration bubbling over from the Alabama game against his team.
“We have a chance to play an upset LSU team," Bieleman said. "I’m sure they’re not happy with how things went last week, which doesn’t bode well for us, they are very talented team, got talented players."
Bielema of course took the time to single out the Tigers’ most impressive player, Leonard Fournette, and compliment the progressions the running back has made since last season.
“The jump he took from a year ago, he was really good last year but now I’d say he’s a great back," he said. "He’s violent, he’s strong, he’s patient, he’s secure in what he sees and what he believes his reads.”
As the Razorbacks won an exhilarating contest on the road last week in overtime against Ole Miss, they come into this contest on the opposite spectrum from LSU. Bielema downplayed any fear of his players suffering from a hangover.
“The (Ole Miss) game in itself, there was a lot of celebration on the field and in the locker room, it was a great day for them," Bielema said. "We put it to bed pretty early Sunday afternoon, those guys knew we had a very tall task in front of us.”