As the link below in the "Monday Hodge Podge" section of the blog references, there is a lot of talk going around about conference expansions and realignments. Who knows, by the time it is all over we might have Mexico relocated to the north of us and Canada to the south of us, haha. Hey, is that any more bizarre than the idea of having Texas play in the Big Ten? As a Hog fan, I feel like there is no way we should leave where we are right now. I don't care what Steve Spurrier wishes would happen or thinks he is hearing out there in Columbia about us leaving the SEC. But something I am hearing, thus the title to this post, is some disrespect about the notion of Arkansas being in the SEC to begin with, which was sorta the subtext of Spurrier's recent comment if you ask me. Here is an even more recent quote from a blogger on collegefootballnews.com.
"So if Missouri bolts who is the replacement? To me the number one option is the Arkansas Razorbacks. Why you ask? The Hogs have struggled to compete in the major sports while a member of the SEC in recent years, Arkansas’s recruiting grounds do not match up geographically with the teams they play in conference and to me both the Hogs and South Carolina have never really fit in as a conference member since joining the SEC."
Several things to say about this. First, why would Arkansas want to go take a worse deal moneywise that Missouri is leaving behind in the Big 12? There are reasons why Missouri might be leaving. And at the top of their list is money. Second, at one time LSU, Florida, and Alabama all struggled in football in "recent years." Did they go looking for a possibily easier conference to play in? But you are little Arkansas, so you and South Carolina really should consider leaving the SEC. That is the attitude that is out there. Granted, Arkansas has not won an SEC title in football since joining the conference. But when was the last time Ole Miss, Miss State, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky won a title? Before a lot of us were born, actually! Out of those schools, they have a combined total number of appearances in Atlanta of one time. The Hogs have been there three times since joining the league, most recently just four seasons ago. As a newcomer, I think we are holding our own.
No matter which conference the Hogs are in, our "recruiting grounds" are always going to be grounds that other larger and more successful schools are also looking at. Just ask Oklahoma State how much of an advantage it has been to be in the same conference as Texas when it comes to recruiting down in the Lonestar state. In terms of wins and losses, nada. OSU hasn't beaten Texas in over a decade.
Finally, I don't know what "never fit in" really means. I doubt the blogger does either. Culturally, I think Hog fans are closer from where they come from to the college towns of the SEC as opposed to the farm / plains country of the BIG 12 North and the Southwest urban centers of Austin and Lubbock. We have worshipped the pigskin in Arkansas for as long as other SEC schools have, going back to 1894. Maybe he sees Fayetteville on a map and sees it up in the northwest corner of the state and doesn't see the rest of the state where most of the Arkansas fanbase actually comes from. I will, however, give ground on one point here. Arkansas hasn't for some time played consistently well on defense like other SEC schools. But I don't think that is reason enough to pack our bags. It is simply reason enough to get better (I am looking at you, Willy Robinson) at playing defense.
So what should we make of such talk about Arkansas jumping ship because we don't belong in the SEC and could possibly be more successful somewhere else? I say let it add a few more pounds to the chips on our shoulders and let's go out there with those same shoulders and block and tackle our way to an SEC Championship! What say ya?