Since Arkansas came into the SEC in 1992, four teams have now been added and it hasn’t exactly been the success fans hoped for when initially announced.
The past week’s drama surrounding Texas and Oklahoma being admitted in about a week’s time won’t help that.
In 2012 before Missouri and Texas A&M’s first year in the league, the talking heads on sports radio in Arkansas were counting those as extra wins for the Razorbacks.
One sports radio host went so far as to say it would take the Tigers a decade to get enough SEC-quality linemen to do much in football. It took them two years to win a division title in back-to-back years.
Oh, and the Hogs are 1-5 against them in SEC games.
Maybe the Aggies were a bigger surprise. The Hogs had just beaten them three times in a row in games that were not league games and now they are on the downside of an eight-game losing streak.
Do the math. The Hogs are 1-13 against the last two teams to join the SEC.
Now Texas and Oklahoma are coming into the league. Folks are wagging on and on about how they are going to not have the same success they had in the Big 12 because, well, it’s the SEC.
It will be harder, but somehow you just get the idea coming into the league is going to force the Longhorns and Sooners to pick up their games. OU has been at a pretty high level and will likely continue at that pace. Texas has been a mess for most of the last 45 years being just good enough to be close to a title, but only getting one.
As a side note, the Longhorns have historically under-achieved compared to their talent level. They have one national title with a coach other than Darrell Royal, who won three in the 1960’s.
The guess is Steve Sarkisian might be the guy that changes that. He walked into a team filled with talent on the par with the best teams in the SEC (Tom Herman wasn’t fired because he couldn’t recruit).
Arkansas has won 29.3% of their matchups all time with Texas. When they were in the same conference it was 27.1% of the time. The Hogs took advantage of some bowl matchups later where the Longhorns weren’t too interested in even being at the game (which has always been a bigger deal for Arkansas fans).
It’s the same story against the Sooners. The Hogs have won 29.2% of the all-time matchups. There will always be the 31-6 win in the Orange Bowl after the 1977 season (which is still, for my money, the best Razorback team of all time).
The vote to let those two into the SEC where they will almost certainly be in the same division and an annual matchup for the Hogs had nothing to do with expecting more wins in football.
Every sport at the UA is going to have two more opponents in the league in all sports.
More importantly, it’s about money and the coming arms race and that’s going to be about online streaming, which is how more and more people consume their sports, news and entertainment.
Texas and Oklahoma help deliver that, creating more interest and, at least for everybody at the UA, opponents fans can be passionate about.
But the bottom line in the Hogs’ vote for expansion is, well, the bottom line looking into the future.
And not letting the past affect that decision.