We will all be privileged to witness a fascinating matchup on Saturday between two teams that have SEC ties: Arkansas is currently a semi-member of the Southeastern Conference, and Texas A&M will soon be a full-fledged member of conference.
A couple of decades ago, Arkansas was tired of the cheating and retarded stepbrother treatment they received in the SWC so they bolted for the SEC, where they are still treated like a retarded stepbrother on the few occasions when they are acknowledged by other conference schools, and the cheating is even way more out of control. A few years ago the SEC released their football schedules and forgot to schedule Arkansas, leaving the Razorbacks and the whole conference scrambling to make sense of the schedule.
It’s a funny thing that South Carolina was accepted as a member of the SEC by rival institutions but Arkansas wasn’t. South Carolina was a last second fill-in for Texas A&M, which decided back in the early nineties not to leave the SEC until the near future, but South Carolina is considered one of the good ol’ boys, a brother in crime, a member of the SEC. What is so wrong with Arkansas?
The answer is that Arkansas brings nothing to the conference. The cigars are still smarting that they have to split money with Arkansas, a school that brings nothing more than half of the Texarkana TV market to the table. On the other side of the border, you have Texas A&M, a school twice the size of Arkansas, a school located in an area with 25 million more TV sets ready to tune into SEC football and throw money to the entire conference. Sure, the SEC got the raw deal, and they know it, and Arkansas gets all the blame.
Back in 1990, when it was obvious Arkansas could no longer compete in the SWC, Frank Broyles announced that the Razorbacks would be leaving for the SEC, where they looked forward to being competitive. While they haven’t been competitive in the SEC, they have done a lot better than they did in the SWC. That 1990 season saw the lameduck Hogs win one conference game against SMU, a team coming of the death penalty that is just now getting back to its dishonest ways by hiring June Jones. The Razorbacks managed just a paltry field goal against the powerful Aggies that year.
While the powers of the SEC, the Auburns, the Floridas, and the LSUs, routinely pay visits to College Station to talk about future conference business, they never stop in Arkansas. Rumors out of Arkansas this summer had the Razorbacks moving back to the Big 12 conference. While the Arkansas brass denied that was a possibility, in two years that move might become a reality. The SEC would like to keep the conference to 12 schools, and with Texas A&M moving over, another school is expendable, namely Arkansas. Arkansas officials wouldn’t mind moving back to the Big 12, so the switch will probably become reality sometime in 2012. The only problem for Arkansas is that TCU or SMU might be seen as a more attractive option, which would mean Arkansas would be headed to Conference USA or the Southland Conference.
This game Saturday carries some fascinating stories. You have team looking for a home and one team about to go home. Sure, the players on the field may not be aware of all this history, but the sinking Hogs will fall to the rising Aggies and all will be right in the world of college football.