Most of the 2014 schedule is pretty predictable. We were pretty sure Arkansas would host Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss, while traveling to Auburn, Mississippi State, and would technically be the road team against Texas A&M in our return to the JerryDome. And sure enough, all that happened.
There were only really two big things we didn't know: 1) Would LSU remain the Thanksgiving week opponent at the end of the schedule, or would the rumored move to end the year with Missouri so LSU and Texas A&M could go at it then begin? And 2) In addition to Missouri, who would the Razorbacks play from the East?
And we've gotten our answers. Reports started leaking out about LSU last night, and Razorback fans are displeased. I don't have as big an issue of losing LSU on Thanksgiving as most other Hog fans, but I get it. And the other answer is: Georgia is coming to Fayetteville.
The thing that troubles me is that it's been difficult for Arkansas to grow any real SEC traditions since joining the league, and when they do, they get pulled out from under them. Arkansas was developing a fantastic series with Tennessee the first 10 years in the conference with some absolute classic games between the two, then the SEC decided to change from 2 permanent opponents to 1, so of course they dropped Vols/Hogs so UT could continue playing Alabama. Arkansas and Tennessee only played 3 times in the last 10 years. And now Arkansas loses the Thanksgiving game with LSU? Not cool.
But, of course, Arkansas will still be playing LSU. It will be interesting to see if it still carries the same weight in the fans' eyes coming earlier on the schedule. And what if Missouri fires Gary Pinkel and hires Bobby Petrino? Is that game all of a sudden more interesting to Arkansas fans? Ole Miss was a bigger deal than LSU back in 2008 and 2009 when Houston Nutt started out there.
Here's the 2014 schedule:
- August 30th: @ Auburn
- September 6th: Nicholls State
- September 13th: @ Texas Tech
- September 20th: Northern Illinois
- September 27th: vs. Texas A&M (JerryDome)
- October 4th: BYE
- October 11th: Alabama
- October 18th: Georgia
- October 25th: UAB
- November 1st: @ Mississippi State
- November 8th: BYE
- November 15th: LSU
- November 22nd: Ole Miss
- November 29th: @ Missouri
Another fun schedule. Georgia, Alabama, and LSU will probably be in Fayetteville. That's crazy. Shouldn't have any trouble selling tickets for what should be a highly anticipated year with all the projected returning experience in Bielema's second year.
Even-numbered years are always fun because Arkansas hosts Alabama and LSU (why most of the Hogs' best SEC seasons have come in even-numbered years) but I don't envy Jeff Long as many fans will surely be upset about losing the LSU finale and, fairly or unfairly, blame him for it.