Andy Hodges

Hogs could be bowling after NCAA eliminates win requirement for year

Sam Pittman could get a nice boost in his first season by getting Arkansas into a bowl game and now there’s no minimum number of wins.

Sam Pittman could get a nice boost in his first season by getting Arkansas into a bowl game and now there’s no minimum number of wins.

One-time rules changes in Division I football were announced Tuesday and a lot of the major one-year-only changes were overshadowed when news broke of Alabama’s Nick Saban and athletics director Greg Byrne testing positive for Covid-19.

It was that kind of sports news day.

In addition to all football programs eligible for a bowl game — regardless of record — all winter athletes will now get an extra year of eligibility.

That will have a major impact on basketball teams across the country and makes life interesting for Eric Musselman and Mike Neighbors, both of whom have proven pretty adept at juggling a roster every year.

But the football bowl game issue could be huge for the Razorbacks.

And the entire SEC.

In a year like no one has ever seen, bowl games could get a boost by getting an SEC team as opposed to a non-Power 5 opponent.

Getting fans is something every bowl game wants. The main money behind them the last few years, though, is the television money (primarily from ESPN) and the more eyeballs watching an SEC team is going to be worth more than a smaller team.

For Pittman and the Hogs, getting to a bowl game in his first year could be a huge recruiting tool … and I really don’t care what the record is to get there.

As SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said on The Paul Finebaum Show on Tuesday, there’s no asterisk connected to anything this season.

Arkansas, sitting at 1-2 right now with lots of optimism among a fan base that has endured a three-year descent into the depths of hell in football, could benefit greatly from a bowl game … any bowl game.

The NCAA’s Division I Council is meeting this week and those aren’t the biggest items on the schedule.

The subject of name-image-likeness is a topic for discussion, but don’t expect anything resembling a final decision on that even if the NCAA says it’s okay.

State legislatures will have a say, too.

But the good news is the Hogs could go bowling this year … regardless of the record.

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