Who Should Arkansas Schedule As A Non-Conference Opponent?

ArkansasRazorbacks.com

The SEC says we have to have somebody, and the Razorbacks are booked up for the next few years, but after that, who should the Hogs play?

All the Lords of all the Kingdoms in SEC land decreed that four cupcakes is simply too many and that no more than three shall suffice.

Now, anyone who's visited any of these trendy cupcake shops should know that three such desserts is still plenty to send one into a diabetic coma, but small steps, I suppose. Of course, this is not a huge issue for Arkansas as the Hogs haven't devoured four cupcakes in one sitting since 2007, settling for three each time (including the one time the Hogs vomited one back up in 2012).

There's been at least one major non-conference opponent on Arkansas' schedule each year, save for that '07 embarrassment, dating back to 2003. And the Hogs have games set up for the next six seasons against Texas Tech, TCU, and Michigan, with a home game scheduled against Texas in 2021. So this isn't any sort of urgent problem.

But why not take a look into the future and think about who we'd like to see Arkansas schedule games against? They have to schedule somebody, so who do you want to see coming to Fayetteville? Or what stadium would you like to visit? Or schedule a neutral site game against once Texas A&M comes to their senses and doesn't renew the contract for the game at the JerryDome (now that they're building a 100k stadium in College Station, why play an SEC game at a nearby in-state neutral site)?

Here's my thoughts (all opponents mentioned are under the assumption Arkansas is much better eventually):

Texas: Some younger Hog fans tend to roll their eyes when the idea of Arkansas and Texas playing each other comes up. "The SWC is way dead" and "They never looked at Arkansas as a rivalry" and yada yada yada. That doesn't matter.  What matters is that whenever Arkansas has a halfway decent team, there is no opponent that creates more excitement among the fan base than a game against Texas. The Hogs and Horns have played each other four times since the SWC dissolved, and except for 2008 (remember, halfway decent teams only), they've been amazing events.

Plus, Arkansas clearly wants as much exposure in Texas as possible (scheduling games against Texas Tech, TCU, and A&M in Dallas all prove that), and the best way to get as many eyeballs as you can in the Lone Star State is to play the Horns. And the red and orange just look really good together on the field.

Miami: Bielema has made it abundantly clear since he came to Arkansas that he wants to recruit South Florida as hard as he can. FAU, FIU, USF, and UCF all fail to meet the requirement of being in one of the Big 5 conferences, and Florida State is up in the northern panhandle, so Miami is the only school that would give Arkansas any real exposure in South Florida. It would also give the Arkansas coaching staff a prime opportunity to go recruiting the Friday night before the game.

Of course, these games are in the future, and who knows who the Arkansas coaches will be in the 2020s. But whether Bielema is still in Fayetteville or it's another coach who wants to recruit South Florida, playing against Miami makes a lot of sense. I mean, even Arkansas State was able to get a home-and-home with them.

As we all know, just because a team is from a Big 5 conference, that doesn't mean they have to be any good. I'm sure Bielema would love an opportunity to go visit some of his favorite Big 10's punching bags for old times sake, like Indiana or Minnesota - and I'd never turn down a reason to visit Minneapolis.

Or, hey, why not Wisconsin? How about a #Karma Bowl? That would at least be interesting. Although that might be as likely as Jeff Long reaching out to Louisville for a game.

Want an easy road trip? How about Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, or Kansas?

Otherwise, it may just come down to personal preference. Is there a school you've always wanted to see Arkansas play or a stadium you'd like to visit? Schools like Virginia Tech, Oregon, and Washington fit that bill for me.

ONLY SCHOOL ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY DO NOT WANT TO PLAY: USC. Not over it. Still scared. Not only did they beat Arkansas by 1,000 points over those two games, they took the Hogs' quarterback and receiver with them. I'm done.

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