NYT on Arkansas and motives behind conference realignment

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/spor … -nytsports

Arkansas brought more than just football to the SEC. They brought a top notch basketball and track/field program as well. But, football is the cash cow. I did like that we could recruit Texas back when we played there a lot in the SWC, but I believe Coach Morris will bring that back. Geographically, Arkansas should have been in the Big-8 and then the Big-12. But, I like where they are and hope they stay in the SEC-West.

Very interesting take and feature on us.

Would we have gone the way of Houston has we not taken the brass ring of the SEC? Maybe. We just don’t have the TV sets.

Article misses the other sports programs that have done well.

But we all know football is king and Arkansas has not done as well in the SEC.

But I do like the prestige of the SEC in modern day.

I always get a little put-off when I see/hear people say Arkansas is a better “geographic” fit to Big 12, former Big 8. While it is true the “campus” is closer to OK & MO, the southern and eastern halves of Arkansas are definitely more SEC-like and SEC centric. Other than 7 years in Fayetteville as a student, I can’t speak to NW & north central Arkansas. Culturally, I’ve always thought Arkansas was more SEC than anything else.
If we were competing better in FB in the SEC we would all be very proud of that and glad that’s where we are. This topic only comes up when we are getting our tails kicked.
We would never shake the “chicken/loser” tag if we left the conference to go try and win more somewhere else.

We simply need to recruit a lot of better FB players than what we have now.

That’s not true. This came up a lot during the last cycle of realignment in 2010 and 2011.

Until the realignment to add Arkansas, then A&M and Missouri, there were no school campuses in the SEC west of the Mississippi. When I think “Southeast”, I think east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line. But, I take your point about where the campus is located versus the southern and eastern halves of the state.

It was a great move when we went to the SEC. JFS had a lot of vision seeing what was coming down the line.

Over the past 10 years, it has gotten so much harder to compete. Saban at Bama, the rise of the MS schools, and…

If you look closely, the big downturn for us has been when TAMU joined the league. That hurt us in recruiting a lot. Plus we have lost to them for a long time now. Now that Jimbo is there, it will be hard to beat out a program that’s got a championship winning coach. Plus UT, TCU, UH. Gonna be hard for us in Texas…No matter how many people our coach knows.

Good article. How often is Arkansas featured in the NYT? Wish it happened more when the Hogs were winning, but the writer didn’t rub the North Texas loss in our faces too much.

Matt, while I will stand corrected that realignment does cause some discussion of Arkansas’ “geographical fit” in SEC vs Big 12, that discussion is mostly national talking heads who are looking at where Fayetteville is located. Very few of the national pundits know or care how Arkansas people are or feel “culturally”, or what a majority of the fanbase is most interested in. The Mississippi river is an easy line of dividion on a map for them
I do believe “leaving the SEC for an “easier” conference” is only brought up by Razorback fans when the Razorbacks are losing, like now. If we were beating or competitive with teams in the upper tier of the SEC, nobody would advocate leaving the conference.

The Big 12 approached Arkansas about joining in 2011. That’s more than just talking heads or disgruntled fans. There has been legitimate interest there.

I remember that the original idea was for Arkansas and Texas and A&M to join the SEC and the SEC wanted FSU and Miami
and maybe Ga. Tech to join. But the Texas lawmakers killed that by forcing Tex and A&M not to join at that time. FSU would not come in and Miami also, I forget why, but the original plan fell apart. Later, the SWC fell apart and it ended up with SC, and Missouri and A&M finally. But if the original plan had worked, it would be quite different now.

I wrote my thesis on Arkansas leaving the SWC for the SEC, so I’ve researched this quite a bit. I don’t remember hearing Georgia Tech, but was told in my interviews that Virginia Tech was being considered along with the other schools you mentioned. I never could get a clear answer on what happened with FSU and Miami; several theories that included the commissioner becoming crossways with FSU and the ACC intervening, and Miami’s status as a private school were some possible explanations, as well as Florida blocking them because it wanted to be the only team from that state in the league.

Imagine if Texas had come, Nebraska and Colorado may have never left the Big Eight/12 (if it had managed to stay together). If not, OU and O-State would have had to have found new homes. Missouri may have been left out in the cold as well.

I do remember what happened to FSU and that is a fight betweem them and Auburn. It had to do with one of the schools backing out of a scheduled game and the schools were at each others throat. I think you are right it was Va. Tech and
I seem to remember they were dissatisfied with the georgraphy and wanted to stay closer to tradational opponents. I cannot recall why Miami did not go along as early in the proess they looked secure, but it did not come about.

Earlier Ga. Tech had wanted to rejoin the SEC but the Auburn coach said, “over my dead body” He was very upset over them leaving in the first place.

I feel if the original idea had worked the SEC would be even stronger today.

The problem with the SWC is every time an issue favored Texas teams or disadvantaged Arkansas the Texas colleges had the votes. For example, before the the Razorbacks had a large following the Texas colleges allow Arkansas to have their own radio network. However, they removed it as after the Razorbacks had a big following and it became profitable.

If it were financially viable, I would much rather be in the big 12. We would fit much better from many perspectives.

We don’t have the home recruiting base to consistently compete in the SEC nor do we have the requisite lack of moral fortitude (or organization) to “incent” players.

I might also argue that we shouldn’t trust Jerry Jones’ coaching talent evaluations given his past history but that’s a different conversation.

Well said, Little Hock.

The only way going to the Big 12 would be beneficial is if Texas wasn’t in it. Texas just needs to go independent in my opinion, they have the money and prestige to do so, but they have helped ruin two conferences and I wouldn’t want to jump into another conference with them.

We should be grateful every day to be in the SEC.

I hope they always want us.

Elmo is right about A/M coming into the league… it has hurt recruiting and now they really have a coach to go along with their unlimited resources and spending to compete. We had the SEC lure with Texas recruits from a geographical standpoint going west but that has flown away. I’m not crazy about being in the SEC West but when we start winning more in football maybe I will utter the infamous “SEC…SEC” at the next bowl game we win. I would however love being in the same conference as Texass, there has never been anything sweeter than beating them.