Coming into the SEC together in 1992, Arkansas and South Carolina were a natural fit to be permanent cross-division opponents. But with Missouri coming into the SEC last year, it made sense to pit Arkansas and Missouri together, so the SEC went in that direction.
At least it was desirable change on Arkansas' end. Jeff Long made comments when Missouri came into the conference that it would be nice to have a conference opponent as close in proximity as Missouri. And he's not wrong about that. I think it's a good thing for Arkansas to play a nearby school that does at least have the potential for a real rivalry.
Unfortunately, despite an eventful and interesting, and winning series of Gamecock games (Arkansas leads the series 13-8), the rivalry with South Carolina never really took off in the minds of Arkansas fans. It was rarely a game circled on the schedule as one of the biggest games of the year, but many of the games have been classics, or at least featured classic moments.
1992 - Arkansas' first SEC win. It was in Columbia, and the Hogs won 45-7. That's also the widest margin of victory for either team in the series.
1993-1997 - Mostly notable for former Clemson coach Danny Ford losing to the Gamecocks three out of five times. An angle that's much more interesting from their side than ours.
1999 - The Hogs welcomed Lou Holtz back to War Memorial Stadium with a 48-14 stomping.
2001 - Razorbacks upset #9 South Carolina thanks to a Carlos Hall's field goal block (begins at the 7:35 mark). I'd advise everyone watch the clip with the sound up loud and listen to the crowd noise as the block takes place. It's awesome. A great Arkansas moment and a tremendous example of what the atmosphere was like back when big games happened in War Memorial.
2003 - The two teams actually played a Thursday night ESPN game in Little Rock. That was fun. Arkansas won 28-6.
2004 - Arkansas lost by 3 in Columbia. The Razorbacks had the lead but South Carolina took the lead on a game-winning drive in the final minutes. This began my personal streak of Arkansas road games in which the Hogs lost a lead in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter.
2005 - The Gamecocks only won twice on the road in Arkansas during this series, and this was the only time they've won in Fayetteville. This game was notable because it was the first career start of true freshman Casey Dick, who was thrust in the starting role in place of a struggling Robert Johnson and horrendous Arkansas season. And also because the Gamecocks won the game via stopping freshman Darren McFadden on a 4th-and-one late in the fourth quarter. It's basically the last time South Carolina ever stopped him.
2006 & 2007 - McFadden's legend games. He ran for 540 yards between the two games, and tied an SEC record with the game in 2007. Here are highlights from all three of the games.
2010 - Arkansas became a serious contender for the Sugar Bowl after knocking off a ranked South Carolina team, their only SEC East division winner, in Columbia. The game featured one of the great Bobby Petrino rages ever.
2011 - This was a top ten matchup that was completely overshadowed by the Alabama vs LSU showdown going on at the same time. Hard to describe it other than to say it was a magical night in Fayetteville.
2012 - Yeah we're skipping 2012.
It's always worth noting the Gamecocks never beat Arkansas when Arkansas fielded a winning team. It's not a stretch to assume the results of this game could fit in with that history either way. If the Hogs win, decent chances of bowl eligibility and hopefully winning a lower-tier bowl, giving the Razorbacks a winning record. If South Carolina wins, November will have to go nearly perfectly for Arkansas to earn a bowl trip.
So long, Gamecocks. It was fun while it lasted. See you again in a few years.