With the season looming just one week from actual tackle football on television, this time of year is filled with season previews, pre-season watch lists and top 25 polls from every Tom, Dick and Harry.
It seems to be a tradition.
There has been plenty to talk about for the Arkansas program. Some is good and some not so much.
But this will be different.
Throughout the years, Arkansas’ uniforms have been somewhat consistent. This year the powers-that-be decided it was time for a change.
This change has not come without criticism from many fans or the joy of many others.
The argument over the years has been “Alabama hasn’t changed their uniforms.” But if you haven’t noticed, Arkansas is no Alabama. As close as we may or may not be, we aren’t there yet.
Others have said, “it seems like a gimmick to me.”
But the real reason is neither to change “tradition” or to come up with some “gimmick,” but rather it is to appeal to the student athletes.
While it may not be a deciding factor, nor should it be, the uniforms are one thing that potential recruits notice.
But, traditionalists aren’t known for changing their minds.
The “traditionalists” who complain about the uniforms or the color scheme of the uniforms act like they are the ones wearing them. If Arkansas wins a National Championship in those hideous uniforms, will there be complaints? Probably, but I digress.
Regardless of your stance on the uniform changes, you will either enjoy or despise them for at least a season.
Another change, not really in tradition but in a consistent presence at the games, is the choice of soda provided at football games. Arkansas has switched from Coca-Cola to Pepsi.
While this may seem simple and understandable to many people, there are Hog fans who have yet to grasp that it is simply a business decision for the university. No one goes to a football game strictly for the soda. If so, I question your fanhood.
Driving radio stations statewide through the dog days of summer is the debate whether University of Arkansas should play Arkansas State.
I’ve pondered this subject for years, being an advocate of all things Razorback. However, I was astounded where my mind fixated.
Arkansas should play Arkansas State.
As soon as you’re done cussing me, I will explain my rationale.
The University of Arkansas plays teams from the Sun Belt conference every season. Whether it’s ULM, LaTech, ULL or Troy, ULM may claim their match up in Little Rock as a home game while Arkansas can get around the rules of away “home games.” Nonetheless the arrangement is admirable and extremely generous in my eyes in that it helps a football program struggling to tread water. It’s also odd.
With Arkansas State reaching out to the University of Arkansas in an attempt by ASU head coach Gus Malzahn to schedule a game between the two, Arkansas declined the request.
The number one reason for not playing ASU has been that, there is nothing to gain by playing Arkansas State. While there may not be notoriety or the promise of loads of cash for the Hogs, there is more to it.
The number one myth is that there is a state law, prohibiting the two from playing a football game.
Another reason stated “I don’t want to help Arkansas State in any way.” To me, these excuses are another way of saying, “I’m scared they will win.”
Say they decide to play, and Arkansas State DOES win. What now? Will that be the end of the world? Will helping an in-state school lead to Armageddon? ASU wins. (Que The End Of Days)
There is no logical reason for Arkansas not to play Arkansas State. Just because it’s “tradition” for Arkansas not to play Arkansas State.
Clearly, traditions change.
However you want to spin it, what “facts” you may present, it’s simple, Arkansas not only plays teams from the same Sunbelt conference but also allows a team from Louisiana to claim a home game within the borders of this great state. Will playing Arkansas State lead to bankruptcy for the University of Arkansas? No. Will playing the Red Wolves lead to Arkansas State becoming a bigger program than Arkansas? No.
Worst case scenario, Arkansas has a down year and ASU has a phenomenal year, the Hogs slip up and ASU wins. Typical scenario, Arkansas beats them, like the other Sun Belt teams they play.
If the Hogs were to lose, as a fan you would be upset, mad or maybe proclaim how much you hate the Red Wolves. But until they actually play, how can you hate them? How can ASU fans hate the Hogs? That position is nonsensical.
I don’t know that this game will ever happen, but just know that if it does, no matter the outcome, you won’t hear me complain.
While you may not like Arkansas State, or Arkansas State fans may not like Arkansas, they share one thing that can never be taken away or changed. They share the great state of Arkansas.
And while you will hear booming Hogs calls more often than Wolf Howls, this is a game that would benefit the state of Arkansas by keeping some of the millions of dollars that exit the state every year in the state.
But the decision will have to meet the requirements and timing that the powers that be deem necessary.
Until then, this conversation will only go as far as the media waves of Arkansas.
Please feel free to comment.
Follow James Moseley on Twitter: @james_moseley