College football TV deals and revenue have been exploding in recent years. With that has been a drive to be the best and some conference realignment has come from it along the way. While Arkansas has been in the SEC for decades, it is time to head another direction. An Arkansas Big 12 merger is just what they need.
Arkansas was the most Western SEC school before Texas A&M joined the conference in 2012. Now Arkansas is about a five hour drive from the nearest SEC school. But Arkansas also falls right in the Big 12 region and could have great rivalries with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Some Dallas area schools.
Playing off the region, Arkansas could get back to some SWC Conference ties. Back before the SEC move, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and others in the big 12 were common foes. Now Baylor and Texas Tech isn’t as exciting as Auburn or LSU but this also comes down to being competitive. Arkansas finished at the top of the SWC 11 times after 1950 and they have struggled to be competitive in the SEC.
If Arkansas joined the Big 12 they would be in the mix quickly and could be competing for a conference title within a few years. It would also benefit recruiting under the current regime.
Being Competitive Early
The SEC is the best conference in football and a lot of pride comes with being apart of that. But an Arkansas Big 12 merger could bring in a lot more team success versus riding the coattails of the conference. It would also fall right in line with Chad Morris.
During his time at SMU, Morris had more than one recruiting class that featured all Texas kids. The reason this pertains to an Arkansas Big 12 merger would be the fact that the would spend plenty more time in Texas.
It isn’t a secret that Texas is one of the best states for high school football talent. The more time you spend in the area beating up on the likes of Baylor and TCU, the easier recruits will commit to Arkansas. Chad Morris has the blueprint to Texas recruiting and has already started pulling from the state stock piled with talent. This would give them even more momentum to land major talent.
More talent, more wins and being more competitive, what isn’t there to like? But then there comes the talk of the financial side of the SEC. Only the Big Ten can compete with the SEC when it comes to school payout. So it would be easy to say that is enough reason to stay. However, the Big 12 has been improving rapidly after being on deaths door just five years ago. Oklahoma is a consistent player in the playoff, Texas is becoming relevant again and the conference is one of the deepest in the country. Arkansas would also improve the Big 12 conference who just so happens to have a TV deal coming up. Adding Arkansas and trending in the right direction is the perfect makings for a big payday. They also will be the first power 5 conference to hit the market in a while and could be reeling in a major haul that bumps them closer to the SEC.
A move in conference isn’t going to fix all of their issues, they still need to recruit and win games. But they also don’t really fit in the SEC either. Living off the conference prestige is great but constantly fighting to just be middle of the pack isn’t. The location, the Texas ties and the history are just the start. Arkansas should make the jump and get back to being a threat instead of fighting their way through a conference that doesn’t really fit.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Love all things college football and hate all things Michigan Wolverines