Non-conference scheduling in football presents unique situations and opportunities to the Hogs. Until the arrival of the Texas Longhorns to the SEC in 2024, it presented the only opportunity for the Razorbacks to face off against their historic archrival on the gridiron. Ditto for A&M until the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. And, in recent years,, the Razorbacks have also played former Southwest Conference foes Texas Tech and TCU in home and homes, along with a single home date against Rice. Considering that Texas schools made up the entirety of the Hogs' conference opponents from 1925 through 1991, it makes sense that Arkansas would want to keep Texas schools on the schedule for purposes of both tradition and recruiting.
But with both Texas and A&M being restored as conference rivals for the Hog's beginning next year, should the Razorbacks use this as an opportunity to use their non-conference slate to expand into destinations and opponents for the Hog faithful? For example, should the Hog's upcoming home and homes with Notre Dame and Utah, two programs the Razorbacks have never played in regions of the country where they have little history, be a formula to emulate? I say yes.
With the 16 member SEC taking form next year, the Razorbacks will have at least one conference opponent in every state which the State of Arkansas borders. This is the first time in school history that the Hogs have had this luxury, and it is one which surely prove to be a recruiting boom, especially with regards to recruiting Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. This opens up the ability for the Hogs to pursue non-conference games in areas of the country where they rarely play, such as the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. Does the prospect of being able to enjoy atmospheres such as Autzen Stadium and Camp Randall excite you, especially knowing that it would not come at the expense of history and recruiting? I don't know about you, but I know it does me.
In any event, by being in a situation where the Razorbacks are conference mates with all of their rivals, Arkansas can now afford the luxury to approach forming their non-conference slate in a new way going forward.