You know, I mentioned this last year when Texas and OU announced they were joining the SEC.
I was worried this was all headed to a Super Football League, sort of a college-NFL.
It did not get much traction with folks, but it now looks like I may have been onto something.
I also mentioned my fear of Arkansas getting left out of the Super Football League. Bama/UGA/UF/LSU/Auburn/Texas/OU could care less if Arkansas gets asked to leave the SEC in football. They’d put us out in an instant to add Clemson, Florida State, etc. Those types of rumblings are out there and have been. None of the Arkansas posters I read seem to be worried about it, but if football teams start getting cut out of the coming Super League, isn’t Arkansas objectively speaking, at risk? Do we drink way too much of our own Kool-Aid if we think differently? To me that’s a real risk if this new Super League is going to be 28 to 32 teams. If it’s 50 to 55 schools, as I have read, I think Arkansas makes the cut in football.
Baseball and basketball – the total Arkansas package – might also keep us in the Super League; but my other concern was a future with a football league only a la NFL, NBA and MLB – sort of a football league, a separate basketball league and a separate baseball league.
If this happened and Arkansas did get squeezed out of the football Super League, then I think we’d be in the basketball and baseball super league.
Arkansas will be safe due for one reason…We have proven time and time again as an athletic department that we will spend the money to be competitive. It is about more than just raw tv demographics. To be a part of the coming “Super League” they also have to have Universities that are willing to invest. The Hogs will always do that and the Alumns have demonstrated they will spend big when needed. This is now big business and they want teams that have proven they are willing to spend. That is how you get a great TV product. A bunch of teams that are willing to invest heavily in winning.Also don’t discount the Hog TV numbers too much. An Arkansas game nearly every year is in the Top 10 in viewers. Are we a top draw…no…but we produce very solid TV ratings.
Remember Andy Staples’ Four Million Club: College football games that draw more than 4 million TV viewers per Nielsen. There were 198 of those in the period of 2015-2019 (which, you can recall, fits uncomfortably well with the timing of our decline under BB and the entire Chad debacle). Of those 198, 55 were SEC-only, 49 were-Big Ten only, and FIVE were Pac-12 only. Another 58 involved independents (including ND, which had 17, and Army-Navy; all five of those were FMC) or were nonconference games.
I know we had two FMC games in 2016 (the bowl games with K-State and VTech at either end of the year) and we had at least two in 2021 (A&M and Bama). The Outback Bowl on ESPN2 came in just below the cutoff at 3.95 million (ESPN and especially ESPN2 games have a much harder time getting into the FMC, especially with cordcutting; the Outback audience was the lowest for that game since the last time it was on ESPN2)
Point being, we’re showing more ability to draw viewers than anyone in the Pac, including the two that just went to the B1G. We keep doing that, we aren’t getting kicked out of anything.
I’m not too worried about getting left out, but I won’t say it’s impossible. Part the reason I’m not worried is that I don’t think a 32 (or 40) team super super league will happen made up of only parts of the SEC and the BIG. I could see something with as few as 48-50, but even if it goes that low, I think we’d be included. I don’t want the SEC to kick anyone out and don’t think it will, but if it did, it’d be Vandy.
Chip. Please lose the fear. The SEC ain’t kicking out a perennial top 10 national athletic program…2nd only to Florida in the league. Ain’t gonna happen. We’re “movin on up” like the Jeffersons. Enjoy the ride, my friend.
And, I would be nervous if I was Vandy or Mizzou. They both fit much better in the Big 10 than they do here.
I’m not nervous about it. I just recognize it’s an outside possibility. Unfortunately our top 10 national athletic program has nothing to do with this. This is all driven by football. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be talking about Vandy or Missouri needing to worry. (I don’t think they need to worry, either, but it won’t be Vandy’s baseball team that saves them. It will be because the SEC isn’t kicking anyone out.)