When Hunter Yurachek opened the schedule last week to include games against the community college in Jonesboro along with UCA and UAPB, everybody’s thought leaped to football.
Hold on, was the initial reaction. Those football schedules are set six years in advance.
Yeah, right. Contracts in college sports these days are simply the starting point in negotiations to break them. Arkansas got into a soft schedule the last couple of seasons because Michigan bailed out of a two-game series. A coach got fired because he couldn’t win all of the four games that should have been blowouts.
It can be done and the whole current Covid-19 situation is likely going to have an economic impact that forces things to move a little quicker than anyone can see right now. For other sports it will probably start happening this school year.
This could be the opportunity for Yurachek to get some things straightened out with football scheduling. It’s not exactly a secret neither Texas A&M or the Hogs really want to renew their game in Arlington.
Both sides want it on campus every other year.
For the other games, the future schedules show some interesting matchups (Missouri State and former coach Bobby Petrino in 2022, if he stays there that long). But some rent-a-wins could be dumped for a song and dance. There will be some that want to bail out because of the impact of the current pandemic.
There’s a way to squeeze in Arkansas State or UCA. UAPB is already on the future schedule for 2021 and a few other years. Somebody will want out of a game for whatever reason and that’s when some juggling will start.
But the football games should never be played in Little Rock. There is not one viable reason to play there other than for a nostalgic kumbaya for some folks more interested in looking in the rearview mirror than the windshield.
There is not a single financial reason or logical reason to play football games in Little Rock, but here are still some myths out there. There are sone political reasons people throw out there to sound like it is going to do something magical. It won’t.
The overwhelming number of Arkansas Razorback fans have never set foot on campus or in a stadium anywhere. It’s become expensive, uncomfortable and inconvenient.
Attendance levels in the SEC were at the lowest level since 2021 last season. If you took that number after halftime it would be a bigger drop-off.
That’s at Alabama, too, where Nick Saban scolded the students for leaving at halftime. At Florida, attendance is off over 10% … even when they are winning games.
That’s going to continue and the numbers across the nation show it really doesn’t matter how many games a team is winning.
As more people spend significant amounts of money building their viewing theaters at home, they aren’t really interested in paying a bunch of money to sit on metal bleachers after walking uphill, then having to pay for concessions.
The only reason to play any football games in Little Rock would have been for recruiting but that’s not even allowed now. The Hogs can’t host recruits at War Memorial Stadium, which is huge in football.
Playing games there is literally a road trip where the only people enjoying anything are sitting in what passes for the premium seating in War Memorial. They spend most of the game telling each other how great they are.
Some boosters like to talk about withholding their donation if games aren’t played in Little Rock and that’s even more humorous. Ego won’t prevent them from writing the checks.
Playing Arkansas State, UCA or any other state school in Little Rock is ridiculously bad idea that makes absolutely zero sense in any shape, form or fashion.
It is the politically correct thing everybody has to say is they all want to the Hogs playing games there, especially if the Red Wolves are now in the equation. It will be a huge crowd because ASU fans will buy every ticket they can on the secondary market in addition to the usual allotment for visiting teams.
But those games should be played in Fayetteville. There isn’t a valid reason to play anywhere else unless it’s a high-profile road game like Notre Dam in September.
Let our fond memories of games at War Memorial remain memories. It’s not going to unite anybody because it hasn’t been like the “good ol’ days” since that time.
Let it go and finally play those in-state schools in football that have wanted at shot at the Hogs.
Just do it in Fayetteville.