The Arkansas Razorbacks versus the Arkansas State Red Wolves will probably never happen and I’m going to tell everyone why. Oh and for people not from Arkansas; yes there is another football team in Arkansas. What sparked this post is an article that I read on www.hogdb.com (click here to read
) in which I posted comments on the other day. I decided to continue the discussion on here and repost some of my replies.
It is not that the Razorbacks would lose to the Red Wolves. Of course I think that the Hogs would destroy them now. The point I tried to explain to the author of the article on hogdb.com is that it is a business strategy by the University of Arkansas to keep all of college sports programs in state completely irrelevant by keeping a death grip on the state market; Out of sight out of mind.
Arkansas is one of the smallest states by population in the SEC which has a sports market that is dominated by the Razorbacks and that is why they will never play another team in state. In regards to population, the University of Arkansas resides in the second smallest state for a team in the SEC; Mississippi being the only other state with a smaller population. Even the other states that share big universities (other than Mississippi) would still have close to or better than the same population share as Arkansas if divided up among the major schools. Otherwise, Arkansas being in such a small state never wants to give notice to any other football program even if they are a team from the much weaker Sun Belt conference.
The Razorbacks want to keep the feeling in Arkansas that the Hogs are a professional team and all the other college teams are just glorified high school teams. I’m not saying that is the way it should or shouldn't be, but it is a clear business strategy by the university to keep dominating a state market that they are not threatened by in regards to both athletics and academics. Arkansas has not played another in state team in many years if ever. I checked the football and basketball schedules of the Razorbacks on ESPN over the past 10 years and they had no other in state teams listed. I'm sure it goes back farther.
The longshot arguments to not have the game between the Razorbacks and Red Wolves still do have some relevance. Even though it is a longshot that ASU would win or that they would get a big recruiting boost, it could only benefit the Red Wolves and the mere publicity would help them. As noted on hogdb.com, Coach Petrino does not recruit in Arkansas as much as before, but one out of five of his recruits are still coming from in the state. Also, players that are overlooked by Arkansas may be more willing to go to ASU if the Red Wolves are publicized more rather than go out of state. It would only give chance for the Razorbacks to help another football team in their same market.
Another reason which relates to the business perspective and overall advertising of the Arkansas program is that Arkansas does not want to spark any hatred towards the Razorbacks from other colleges in state; for example, the tackling of Brutus the Buckeye of Ohio State by Rufus the Bobcat of Ohio University that I have posted the YouTube video of below. “The whole reason I tried out was so I could come up here to Ohio State and tackle Brutus,”said Brandon Hanning, former Ohio University’s Rufus the Bobcat. There is so much Hog love in Arkansas that the university does not want to create any type of fan opposition.
Explaining the business strategy of it to some that refuse to understand it may be useless, but I still try. I would watch the game if it ever happen and I would probably go to it. However, I completely understand the rationality of it not happening. Arkansas' strategy has worked well at solidifying the Razorbacks as the top brand in the state so why change it. In the long run, it is a useless argument unless Arkansas State ever gains fan recognition and starts to win. Until then Arkansas will be full of Hog fans and not many are pushing for a game between the two teams. Who wants to see a Razorback punched by a Red Wolf?
Here are a couple links and the YouTube video of Brutus getting tackled by Rufus:
"Arkansas vs Arkansas State: Should we play?" on Hogdb.com: http://www.hogdb.com/2011/07/08/let-me-depart-from-politics-for-a-moment-and-discuss-my-other-passion-%e2%80%93-razorback-football/
"Bobcat: Hittin Brutus was "whole plan"" on ESPN.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5596131