Details of adding the Red Raiders are still being discussed between the two programs, and an official deal may yet be months away. Ideally, though, Arkansas stands to benefit greatly from the potential series.
Arkansas’ previous top non-conference slot belonged to Texas A&M before the Aggies joined the SEC West. The “Southwest Classic” was the game the Hogs counted on to boost their strength of schedule ratings as well as maintain a constant presence in the state of Texas.
Arkansas, prior to the 2012 season was forced to scramble to find an immediate replacement for the game. This search led to a home-and-home series with Rutgers, which ends with the teams’ meeting this fall.
Although Rutgers proved to be a tough opponent last season and will surely be so again this year, Arkansas must find a permanent replacement in Texas.
The Razorbacks have always held a strong presence in Texas, and have needed to do so for recruiting purposes. Arkansas spent much of the last decade with scheduled games against the Texas Longhorns and then moved on to A&M. If Arkansas wants to stay relevant in the Texas recruiting battles, then a new Texas opponent must be scheduled.
Texas is home to many teams like SMU, North Texas and Texas State, but Arkansas would never play these teams on the road, and playing at least one game a year in Texas is exactly what Arkansas should be aiming to do.
In a perfect world, Arkansas finalizes an agreement with Texas Tech, and then would alternate seasons between playing in College Station and Lubbock. This ensures that the Hogs are in Texas at least once every season. However, with future details regarding the A&M series still unclear as to whether or not the game will return to Dallas on a regular basis, Arkansas may be skeptical of possibly losing out on a home game each season. Another possible key factor to the lack of a finished deal is the prospect of the SEC switching to a nine-game conference schedule in the near future. If the conference schedule expands, then what was a dreadful schedule becomes an unimaginable one. If the Hogs were forced to replace Louisiana-Lafeyette with Florida, then having Texas Tech on the road would be entirely too much.
The Arkansas staff must weigh many factors before a serious discussion with Texas Tech can commence. At least for the immediate future, though, adding the Red Raiders would be a huge boost to recruiting.