Top 10 sports stories of 2011

On the “Sunday Buzz with Bill Vickery” on KABZ-FM, 103.7, I¬†unveiled my list of the top 10 sports stories in Arkansas in 2011.

I’ve been asked to post that list.

Let me know what you think.

What should be added?

What should be deleted?

Which ones should be moved higher or lower?

1. The University of Arkansas football team wins 10 regular season games for a second consecutive season, moves as high as No. 3 in the polls at one point and receives a Cotton Bowl invitation.

2. John Pelphrey is fired and Mike Anderson is hired as head basketball coach at the University of Arkansas.

3. Gus Malzahn is hired as head football coach at Arkansas State University.

4. Hugh Freeze’s Arkansas State Red Wolves go 10-2, win the Sun Belt Conference championship and receive a bowl invitation.

5. The University of Arkansas locks in head football coach Bobby Petrino with a long-term contract with unprecedented buyout provisions and also breaks ground on a $30 million football operations center.

6. UALR makes the NCAA Tournament in both men’s and women’s basketball by winning its conference tournament, one of the few schools in the country to do so.

7. The six NCAA Division II schools in the state begin competition in the new Great American Conference after leaving the Gulf South Conference; Ouachita Baptist University wins the first GAC football championship but Henderson State University wins the Battle of the Ravine in a game that comes down to the final play.

8. The University of Central Arkansas makes the FCS football playoffs for the first time since moving from NCAA Division II to Division I.

9. High school football: Pulaski Academy goes undefeated while receiving national attention for its unorthodox style, while Fayetteville upsets nationally ranked Bentonville in overtime to win the Class 7A state championship.

10. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals and the Arkansas Travelers both win a half of the division title and advance to the Texas League playoffs; the Travelers defeat the Naturals in the playoffs before losing to San Antonio in the championship series.

7 Responses to “Top 10 sports stories of 2011”

  1. S says:

    Leaving Greenwood repeating as 5A champs from your high school entry is a mistake. Unless your list was “Biggest Sports Stories in Central Arkansas.”

  2. rexnelson says:

    Yep, S., Fayetteville beating Bentonville is Central Arkansas for sure.

  3. Bienbien says:

    Terry Wallace stepping down as Oaklawn Park track announcer after 37 consecutive years seems newsworthy of at least a #5 or #6 ranking.
    If the Rachel Alexandra – Zenyatta matchup had actually happened, that would have been #1 (buzz was #1 for several weeks). BTW, thanks for all the horseracing stories you routinely mention in this column!

  4. ryan says:

    I figured garret’s passing was the glaring omission!

  5. Ken says:

    No offense Rex but leaving out the retirement of Terry Wallace is a big hole in your list.

  6. rexnelson says:

    I agree that Terry’s retirement is a big story. I am glad to see him going into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame — Rex.

  7. In my view #5 should be #1. It was luck that we got Petrino and if we had not got that buyout clause we would have lost him to a top school this year for sure since so many came open. Now the future looks really bright.

    Thanks for the great blog that you do and I enjoy the Vickery guest jobs you do too.

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