FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormack announced a few days ago that the conference will be looking west with its expansion efforts.
Notice he didn’t mention looking east. This is because every valuable team immediately east of the Big 12 is in the SEC and was unwilling to drop out of the Big 12 even when Texas and Oklahoma were in the conference.
That didn’t stop a few misguided people from pushing to take that step down because they didn’t think Arkansas could compete with the SEC in football. It was a narrow-sighted argument that not only didn’t look at the sports program as a whole, but it ignored the multiple runs as a Top 5 team, the crazy upheavals of Top 5 opponents, and a pair of appearances in SEC conference championship games.
Arkansas currently has the most dominant athletic program in the SEC. The pile of SEC championships and deep playoffs from various sports is as high as Mount Magazine.
Maybe that was the Pepsi talking. Maybe they’re just cowards who are afraid to play where the big boys play and don’t have the prospect of seeing Arkansas as a big boy too.
Still, the Razorbacks are the most dominant baseball team of the past decade, one of five teams with Vegas odds above the +2,000 line to win a basketball national championship this year. champions in football, softball and still one of the most feared track and field and cross country programs in the world.
Add to that the football team’s 10-4 record over the last 14 games and status as a legitimate threat to shake things up in SEC West, and it’s more than clear what a big deal that would have been. mistake to fall back and run when things got tough on the football side.
These curmudgeons also ignored Texas’ long and treasured history as the world’s most important domestic convenience store when it comes to college conferences. The Big 12 didn’t last long for the world in its current form with the Longhorns around.
Of course, if that handful of rowdy people had won, Arkansas could have traded blows with Alabama for two steps on the perennial Longhorns doormat, but as Oklahoma discovered, there’s no real path to a college football championship in the Big 12. .
Iron sharpens iron, and aside from Oklahoma State and sometimes Baylor, there is a huge shortage of iron throughout the Midwest. If Texas and Oklahoma don’t give up at the end of this season, then there will be a little more iron with Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston and BYU in what will be a much stronger conference.
Even if Texas and Oklahoma continue their stints in the SEC, the Big 12 will be stronger than its current iteration. If Arkansas had made the leap and then gotten scared as everything shifted to super conferences, the Hogs wouldn’t have had a chance to get back under the hot cover of the SEC.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey wouldn’t have taken kindly to Arkansas’ bailout, and the Hogs don’t have the clout in the current environment they once carried when they jumped out of the Conference. Southwest with South Carolina.
The initial move in the 1990s was to bring attention to basketball at a time when SEC basketball was Kentucky against a bunch of hot bodies. Arkansas brought some much-needed rumps in the seats and eyeballs on screens nationally.
The move worked as Arkansas, Kentucky and Florida brought SEC national titles and forced programs like Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee to improve their games while even Ole Miss, Carolina South and Vanderbilt made their presence felt on the court for a short while.
The modern era is about bringing television markets. While Arkansas fans are fiercely loyal, if the entire state watched at once, there would be less than half the potential viewers in Dallas-Fort Worth or Houston. A North Carolina school brings together Charlotte, Raleigh and 10 million potential viewers, more than three times what the Razorbacks can bring.
Bolting the SEC for the Big 12 would have been a huge mistake.
As one of the smallest markets in America, Arkansas would need multiple Final Four runs and college football playoffs to even have a slim chance.
Arkansas is not AAU certified, so the Big Ten would not be an option. If the Pac 12 were to win the battle with the Big 12, it would be difficult to justify bringing in a school from a small market that is not culturally appropriate and would generate significant travel costs.
It’s hard to imagine since the Razorbacks were associated with the nation’s premier conference, but logic is logic. If Arkansas had taken the leap, it would most likely be left behind with the formation of super conferences.
Luckily, someone had the wherewithal to tell this group to sit down and have a coke and a smile. The Hogs come into Saturday’s game against South Carolina knowing not only that they can compete in football, but that with a few breaks there is a path to a championship in football, basketball and baseball. This year.
Scroll to continue
Times are good for Arkansas fans. Thanks from the masses of Razorback fans that stretch across the state are in order for those at the top who believed in the state’s flagship team.
It could have been a mess. Instead, the state of the athletic program is stronger than it has ever been.
Iron sharpens iron.
Cupcakes just make you fatter and slower.
WATCH-LISTEN TO THE RAZORBACKS-GAMOCCKS ON SATURDAYS
SEC ROUNDUP: MIKE LEACH OFFERING MARRIAGE ADVICE… AGAIN
WHO WILL MAKE THE CALL ON RB DOMINIQUE JOHNSON’S RETURN?
WATCH SAM PITTMAN’S PRESS CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
THE BIGGEST GAME FOR FANS IN THE RAZORBACKS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE WILL BE AT THE END OF THE SEASON
RAZORBACKS COACH DAVE VAN HORN PLANS FOR FALL PRACTICE
SHANE BEAMER COMPARES KJ JEFFERSON TO BILL BRASKY (READ IT TO KNOW WHO IT IS)
HOGS UP IN POLLS THAT NOW INCLUDE FLORIDA’S BIG LEAP
EVERYONE EXCEPT LSU HAPPY WITH OPENING WEEKEND FOR SEC TEAMS
RB DOMINIQUE JOHNSON BEGINS TO SEE WORK IN PRACTICES
Back to allHogs home page.
• Want to participate in the discussion? Click here to become a member of the allHOGS bulletin board community today!
• Follow all the HOGS on Twitter and Facebook