As we look to be headed towards an expanded SEC with Texas A&M and possibly some team from the east, maybe Florida State, I expect we might hear again what we heard last summer, "Hey, how about the Big 12 picking up the Hogs?" Actually, I've already heard it on Oklahoma sports radio and in a Stillwater Taco Beuno of all places. I was getting rid of my taco trash and was wearing my Razorback ballcap when a complete stranger started talking to me about how great it would be if the Hogs came over to the Big 12 and got back to our "roots." Well, it would be great for the Big 12, but not for the Hogs! Who leaves the SEC in this day and age? Nobody in their right mind, that's who!
As a Hog fan, this type of talk annoys me to no end. Often people will say, well, the geography is a better fit in the Big 12. Well, if Utah and Nebraska and TCU (going to the Big East) aren't staying up nights worrying about the map, why should the Hogs? Besides, the fanbase doesn't exist just in Fayetteville. There are Hog fans who also live on the edge of three founding member SEC states, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Others will say, "You could go back to playing Texas again." Hey, it has been twenty years without that yearly rivalry, and the Hogs seem to be getting by just fine. We have a good series going with LSU at the moment. The war against Ole Miss heated up recently with Colonel Nutt now in Oxford. As Texas A&M might soon learn, you can live without playing Texas every year. And if Texas A&M does join the league, well, there is another team that the Hogs have a long history with to go along with playing Ole Miss and LSU every year.
Money, that is was the word I used to end my Taco Beuno conversation. There's just too much of it to leave the SEC. On that point, the stranger did give in. The SEC also shares revenue equally, something which if the Big 12 had started out doing, they might not be the sick man of college football right now.
As mentioned above, talk of the Hogs leaving the SEC is annoying, and I think it gets us fans riled up for a number of reasons besides the complete lack logic behind it. Two to mention. First, there is the implication that the Hogs can't hack it in the SEC. "Come over where you stand a chance of winning a championship," is what I hear. It is true that the Hogs have yet to take the grand prize of an SEC championship home with them. We've struck out three times in Atlanta, but we've been there three more times than Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. We've been there two more times than South Carolina and Mississippi State. With Petrino, the headline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of "SEC CHAMPS" is closer to being printed than it ever has been since the awful, awful, Reggie Fish decision to attempt to field Florida's punt in our own endzone.
Second, I hear the implication that the Hogs have made a twenty year mistake by joining the SEC back in the 90s. No, we were just twenty years ahead of those Aggies in our thinking! We didn't make a mistake. All those games since then, the wins and losses, were not mistakes, but are indeed rich memories for the ever growing number of Hog fans who only know the Hogs as an SEC team. Tradition grows year by year, and we have just about twenty years of SEC tradition. No need to go and wipe that out by switching to the Big 12.
So, please, College Football World, you writers, pundits, fans, and coaches, strangers at taco establishments, don't even bring up the Hogs as a replacement for the Big 12 once they start looking. Don't even go there. Think about it for a moment, and you'll know just how silly that sounds. Arkansas is a proud member of the SEC, and Jeff Long would no doubt be run out of Fayetteville on a rail if he even hinted at the Hogs joining the Big 12 and their death spiral. The Hogs will be with the SEC for a long time, even someday when they are expanding to god knows where - road games in Havana? haha.