The Big 12 has not been around forever. Before the Big 12 conference formed, conferences such as the Big Eight Conference and the old Southwest Conference were the home for just about every current Big 12 school.
With the renewal of the Texas/Arkansas rivalry coming back in 2021, it appears that this old Southwest Conference Classic will receive some primetime treatment.
ESPN took on the game and put it in their famous 6 p.m. timeslot on Saturday September 11th. The two teams will square off in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium where the crowd should be rocking.
Since Arkansas left the Southwest Conference in 1991, these two programs have only played fived times with the last meeting being at the Texas Bowl back in 2014 where Arkansas dominated the Longhorns 31-7.
While 2014 doesn’t seem that long ago, a lot has changed since then for both of these programs.
For the Hogs, Bret Bielema was the man in charge up until 2017 after a 4-8 finish. But who would have thought that would be the most games Arkansas has won in the last four years? Then came in Chad Morris who buried the football program even further losing to group of five teams and getting fired during his second season with the program. Last season Sam Pittman took over and had a 3-7 record and while that may not look like much, he won three SEC games which is something Arkansas hasn’t done since 2016.
While Texas has been better since 2014, that hasn’t meant much. Charlie Strong was fired after missing back-to-back bowl games after the 2016 season and then it was Tom Herman’s turn. Sure, the program got better and even won a Sugar Bowl in the process, but Texas was still struggling winning games consistently. Now it’s Steve Sarkisian’s turn to take over to try and bring Texas back.
This game isn’t going to be those old classic games because the programs are drastically different from where they once were. It’s been nearly a decade since either program has been relevant but that should not take away from what the scene will be like come September. Whether the game will be a good one or not remains to be scene but hopefully this could be the kickstart to something between these two old rivals. If Texas A&M doesn’t want to play Texas, then Arkansas is more than welcome to try and fill that void and Texas should accept that.