UPDATE: It appears this game is not happening. Bret Bielema was quoted in the Chicago Tribune: “I’m definitely disappointed,” Bielema told the Tribune. “It was going to be an opportunity to play one of my favorite teams from the Big Ten.”
Bielema had mentioned being excited for this series ever since coming to Arkansas.
These games will not happen.
Reports started coming out late Wednesday that Michigan and Notre Dame would be renewing their rivalry beginning in 2018. But as Razorback fans know, Arkansas and Michigan have a home-and-home scheduled for 2018 and 2019. Will the Wolverines’ game against the Irish push the Arkansas games out of the way?
According to Sports Illustrated writer Ryan Krasnoo, this appears that may be the case.
Michigan also cutting the Arkansas game and taking the $2 million loss, per source— Ryan Krasnoo (@RyanKras) July 7, 2016
This would be disappointing on multiple levels. A potential Bret Bielema vs Jim Harbaugh series would be ripe for chaos. It would cancel a possibly once-in-a-lifetime trip to The Big House for Arkansas fans. It could also put Arkansas in a serious bind for 2018 and ‘19 scheduling.
The SEC passed a rule not long ago requiring each SEC team to schedule a Power 5 non-conference opponent every year beginning this season. If Michigan cancels the series, the Hogs will be looking for someone to step in on short notice. It would be really interesting to see if Jeff Long could find another major opponent for Arkansas to play.
If it doesn’t work out, I’m not sure what happens if Arkansas doesn’t schedule a Power 5 opponent those years. Would Arkansas have to pay a fine to the SEC for failing to have one of those opponents? Would the Hogs get a pass since a series was scheduled but Michigan backed out late?
This series was scheduled in 2012. Most major non-conference games are scheduled several years in advance.