What is the Battle Line Rivalry? Arkansas-Missouri Rivalry Explained

The Battle Line Rivalry is a College Football game competed between two SEC teams, but what makes the rivalry so symbolic?

The Battle Line Rivalry is one of the more modern college football rivalries, competed between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Missouri Tigers, and is flamed by state lines and divisional competitiveness.

This rivalry is fueled by the historical and geographical significance of their common state line, rather than by historical matchups on the field, as the pair try to establish the Battle Line Rivalry as an anticipated date in the College Football Calendar.

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Why Do Arkansas and Missouri Compete in the Battle Line Rivalry?

Arkansas will enter the 2023 game on the back of a disappointing season, which has seen them fire Offensive Coordinator Dan Enos back in October. On the other side, Missouri is in New Year’s Six Contention and is considered the favorite to win back-to-back matchups against the “Hawgs.”

The rivalry is due to the proximity between the two schools, separated by 308 miles and a historic state line. The shared state line is the Northern border of Arkansas and the Southern border of Missouri and was seen as the divide between the North and the South during the Civil War.

The feud between the two schools, however, has only really developed since 2012, with the game rarely being played since the first meeting of the schools in 1906, before Missouri moved to the SEC in 2012.

In fact, the two schools only competed on the gridiron five times prior to 2014 and has only been played 14 times in total, with “Mizzou” winning the most recent edition in 2022.

The pair have also faced off in Bowl games, with Arkansas winning the 2003 Independence Bowl and Missouri winning the 2008 Cotton Bowl. The Tigers currently lead the Razorbacks in series history with 10 wins, winning five games on the bounce between 2016 and 2020. The game is played on alternative sites in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Columbia, Missouri.

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Since 2014, the Battle Line Rivalry has been played on Black Friday, as the rivalry tries to build investment and intrigue as the rivalry grows. In fact, since 2014, the rivalry only took a break from the recent tradition of playing on Black Friday in 2020, because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

In 2015, the then-Director of Athletics at Missouri, Mack Rhoades said “[We] believe the annual Missouri-Arkansas game has the opportunity to grow into one of college football’s great Thanksgiving weekend traditions.”

While the Battle Line Rivalry is still establishing itself and is not currently seen as one of the greats of the sport, they do have a trophy to compete for.

What is the Battle Line Trophy?

The Battle Line Trophy has been presented to the winner of the Arkansas-Missouri Battle Line Rivalry since 2015 and is one of the more modern trophies in College Football.

The mammoth Battle Line Trophy is sponsored by Shelter Insurance and weighs 180 pounds. It stands at more than four feet tall and is made of solid silver. The trophy was designed by Arkansas alumnus David Bazzel, who also created The Golden Boot (which is given to the winner of Arkansas and LSU) and is produced by Supreme Fixture and Sissy’s Log Cabin, both based in Little Rock.

Bazzel told Channel 7 News that the trophy cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to create.

The standout award is an outline of both states, with the state dividing line indicated by a replaceable part that says “Battle Line” in a backdrop of red or gold, depending on the winner.

The hefty trophy took considerable time to make. Over 40 consecutive hours were spent for it to be cut and over 30 hours for it to be polished by hand.

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