Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Notre Dame, Arkansas: Come on Down

June 16, 2010


Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, former University of Arkansas football player and big-time power broker in the world of professional and now college athletics, is the driving force behind a potential move that would make the Big 12 the most compelling conference in the history of college football.

Jones, according to a source familiar with his thinking, wants his alma mater to play in a league with former Southwest Conference rivals Texas and Texas A&M.; A visionary, Jones sees the Big 12 expanding with Arkansas and Notre Dame. Such a conference alignment turns on TV sets across America and sends cash gushing out of Big 12 faucets everywhere.

Since moving to the SEC, Arkansas football, once a loud national brand, has faded. Lack of SEC television exposure in Texas, at least until the past couple of years, has eroded what used to be the Razorbacks’ primary recruiting base. The decline of the status of Arkansas’ football program runs deeper than the talent that takes the field every Saturday. The Hogs haven’t developed rivalries as intense as they had in the SWC with their SEC brethren since the football team began participating in the league in 1992.

Not that SEC rivalries don’t exist for Arkansas, but they don’t match those the Hogs had with Texas and A&M.; The Golden Boot, a 24-karat gold trophy in the shape of Arkansas and Louisiana, is awarded to the winner of the LSU game, but only since 1996. Arkansas first played Ole Miss in 1908 and the teams played seven overtimes in a 2001 meeting. Nice, but not quite Texas.

When Jones throws money and influence behind an idea, it tends to work for all parties, especially himself. He purchased the Cowboys for $150 million in 1989. estimates the franchise’s value at $1.65 billion and puts Jones’ net worth at $1.2 billion. Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, would make a nice permanent home for the Big 12 football championship game, just as the Sprint Center would for the Big 12 basketball tourney.

It’s more difficult to read Notre Dame’s feelings because the school’s officials don’t get involved in doing business publicly. For all the hits Notre Dame takes as a so-called “hype machine,” the school deserves credit for conducting itself with class.

Conspiracy theorists wonder whether the Big Ten, long lusting after Notre Dame, will try to lure the Fighting Irish by recruiting a few Big East schools, blowing up that conference and leaving ND with nowhere else to turn. Ole Notre Dame would not reinforce such evil tactics and could find a more profitable home by joining hands with Texas and the other 10 institutions, including Arkansas, to form a Big 12 TV network that would blow away the hugely successful Big Ten Network.

Asked Tuesday about expansion plans, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said, “We’re not looking to expand at all and certainly we wouldn’t look to expand with any institutions that are in our geographic, five-state area.”

Those five states are Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Notre Dame is in Indiana. Arkansas is in Arkansas. Oh Danny Boy, make it happen. Bring the Irish and Hogs to the Big 12.


Jock Navels 7 years, 11 months ago

someday Nebraska will play its conference opener in the meadowlands in new jersey... someday there will be 80 or so schools leaving the NCAA to form the NCFL, and indeed, the Nebraska franchise will just move to New York, which lacks a team, other than Fordham or Columbia, to match the number of TV sets there...laugh if you will, but if Kansas can play a home game in Missouri, if Arkansas can play home games in Little watch...

newmedia 7 years, 11 months ago

Would love to see Arkansas for the competition, Notre Dame for the cash.

Tyson Travis 7 years, 11 months ago

As a KU grad living in Arkansas, I've often wondered why two similar-sized schools only separated by slightly more than 200 miles don't tee it up in football more often. I think they've played two games, in something like 1904-05. The Hogs regularly sell out in Fayetteville, their stadium is newly-expanded and modern. Basketball, baseball, and track are different, they play each other fairly regularly, and the mechanics are already in place for a natural rivalry, besides sharing the last six letters of the schools' names. The Tiggers could profit from this rivalry as well. Would really like to see the U of A join the big 12 [now 10], I really think the big 10 should have taken ND and left Nebraska alone, to profit from several historic rivalries within that league. The Kansas-Texas BB rivalry is great, wish we could add a football win now and then. Also don't forget about sniping TCU, a historical rival for both KU and UA, and in the DFW recruiting area to boot.

Kyle Reed 7 years, 11 months ago

I believe 12 teams is required by the NCAA to have a official conference championship game. Thats what the draw to having 2 more teams join is.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

That's unfortunate as I've had the opposite experience. I was lucky enough to go to the KU/ND football game in Southbend back in the mid-90's and the fans were great. Besides, the tradition, academics, and huge following could be nothing but an fantastic addition to the Big 12. I don't think there's much chance of it actually coming to fruition, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing if it did.

Mary Sucha 7 years, 11 months ago

STOP making stuff up! Jones' ego, and head, are bigger than his new stadium. Arkansas left the SWC to get away from Tejas, why would they return to the same situation for less money. ND to the B12-2, what a laugh. IF and When ND ever decides to join a conference, it will be the Big 10+2.

Richard Payton 7 years, 11 months ago

I believe Notre Dame would prefer it's own network being that they have an independent mind set. The Big 10+2 would like to split up the Big East forcing Notre Dame's hand. Nobody likes being force feed thus coming to a more inviting Conference like the Big 12-2.

Mary Sucha 7 years, 11 months ago

And get force feed by the Tejas Longhorns?

tolawdjk 7 years, 11 months ago

Arkansas has a strong basis to it. Everything he has stated in this article is true. Much of A&M's desire to go to the SEC had a supporting desire from the SEC for someone to come in and strengthen Arkansas's ties to the SEC.

The fact is that once the SWC died, Arkansas lost its TV presence in Texas, and without that Texas TV presence, you just can't recruit there.

Arkansas to the Big 12 makes -tons- of sense.

Mary Sucha 7 years, 11 months ago

The SEC's desire was to get greater access to the Texas tv and recruiting markets, not to find a rival for Arkansas. Plus, A&M knew they could screw up Tejas' P10+1+5 plans by courting the SEC.

riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago

I like it at ten but if they decide to go to twelve these are the only teams to consider.

ykw 7 years, 11 months ago

It should be a crime to be this delusional.

jackpot 7 years, 11 months ago

Sorry ND won't join, can't take the pay cut.

WEARENTLEAVINGSEC 7 years, 11 months ago

Allow me to address this trash as an Arkansas fan. First Jerry Jones needs to keep his mouth shut if he can from all of the skin stretching. He is a Frank Broyles disciple and has followed Frank's lead in not being able to let go of his affection for the old SWC and Texas. ARKANSAS IS NOT LEAVING THE SEC. Frank was fired/forced into retirement for a reason and yet he and his followers are still out here making embarrassing public statements.

  1. Of course we haven't enjoyed the same success in SEC football as we did the SWC. We aren't playing A&M, Tech, Baylor, SMU anymore. We now play BAMA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, LSU, TENNESSEE, AUBURN,... I'm trying to remain calm and as polite as possible at this moment but who in their right mind would expect a program to move from the SWC to the SEC and continue winning on the same level. For that matter, in the late 80s we went 0-3 against the SEC in bowls while in the SWC and lost to OU and UCLA in glorious 42-8 and 17-3 fashion in other bowls. Yet we supposedly took some major nosedive all because we left Texas' side?

  2. Rivals - Until the 1960's, we had no rival in the SWC. Ole Miss and LSU held as much importance and history to our program as the SWC and still do moreso than any former SWC program besides Texas and A&M whom we still play. From the 60's through the early 80s, we had a rivalry with Texas. That's it. This wasn't some glorious 90 year historic heated two sided rivalry between the two of us. Until we beat OLE MISS, not Texas, in the 1950s our program didn't even enjoy statewide support. The nickname Razorbacks came in a coaches speech from beating LSU, not Texas.

  3. We stopped being in a conference with the Evil Orange Empire for multiple reasons the same as Nebraska. We will not be getting back into a conference with them.


jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

I for one don't pay much heed to anything Jones says or does, but there's been talk out of Arkansas for at least two years of trying to move into the Big 12. Haven't followed it that closely, but I think you might be kidding yourself if you believe it's a better situation to compete against all the clout in the SEC vs. Big 12 competition. Arkansas seems to have little hope going up against 'Bama, LSU, UT, UGA, and Florida rather than only two powers in UT and OU.

And NO, the LJW doesn't allow capfests. Thank God.

WEARENTLEAVINGSEC 7 years, 11 months ago

There has not been talk from anyone of authority or with a sane mind out of Arkansas of leaving the SEC.

It is so much better of a situation in the SEC. Easier? Of course not. We aren't Texas looking for the easy path. Our facilities are incredible to compared to what they were when we joined the SEC. We have competed in every sport at a high level and that inlcudes football. Yes, we haven't won the SEC Championship yet but were a quarter and fumbled punt away. We've beaten Bama a number of times since joining the SEC, Auburn 3 of the last 4 years, LSU 2 out the last 3 and embarrassed Tennessee the last time they played in RRS. Our 3 SEC CG appearances ties Auburn and is just one behind LSU. Our basketball program changed basketball in the SEC from just a Kentucky sport where SEC programs have invested in new facilities and coaching upgrades in an effort to try and actually win. Same for baseball with Baum Stadium's construction and our multiple CWS appearances. You can quit the little ole Arkansas nonsense. We aren't interested in stepping down to the Texas Conference.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

Get a grip. I never said anything remotely diminutive like "little ole Arkansas", and your basketball program hasn't done SQUAT to change JACK in the SEC...puh-freakin'-leeeze! Once Nolan Richardson was forced out you guys are lucky to even be mentioned; Nevada has had more success, for cryin' out loud.
Your football program has one - that's ONE -singular- year where they were remotely relevant in the scheme of things. Yes, in terms of football, it would be a step down to join the Big 12, but then as long as you're happy with being the Okie State of the SEC then I guess you'll be just fine. The teams you mentioned beating have all been down until recently with LSU the only exception; Ooooo! That's some legacy! Like I said, I haven't followed it that closely, and therefore I can't cite who has mentioned a move in the past. But I do know this last month isn't the only time I've heard such talk, it's been going on for a couple years. I for one would love Arkansas to come aboard; it makes sense geographically with natural rivalries built in, and proximity and history being excellent draws. You don't want it; bully for you. With a class act like Petrino frontin' the Hogs, I'm sure you'll do just fine for one or two more years 'til he jumps ship with no SEC titles...still. Aaah, yes. Certainly that's worth gettin' your panties in a bunch over.

jaywalker 7 years, 11 months ago

I for one don't pay much heed to anything Jones says or does, but there's been talk out of Arkansas for at least two years of trying to move into the Big 12. Haven't followed it that closely, but I think you might be kidding yourself if you believe it's a better situation to compete against all the clout in the SEC vs. Big 12 competition. Arkansas seems to have little hope going up against 'Bama, LSU, UT, UGA, and Florida rather than only two powers in UT and OU.

And NO, the LJW doesn't allow capfests. Thank God.

WEARENTLEAVINGSEC 7 years, 11 months ago

I guess I can't use all caps to get a point across.

HaHaGirl 7 years, 11 months ago

Smells a lot like Onion in here......

cginkc 7 years, 11 months ago


I'm a hog fan too and my whole family went to arkansas. You are off on a couple items but dead on with a few.

Arkansas left because the conference was damaged. SMU never survived the death penalty, Rice and TCU were never on the same scale as the A&M's, Texas, and even Tech for that matter. Texas was big, but even in the mid 90's they werent the dominate program they were today in sports (basketball was minor and football was average). Broyles played golf with Harvey Scheiller, the SEC commish at the time, 1987 and pleaded to join the SEC. Dickey, Tennessees' AD, was present as well. It wasn't due to Texas.

From a revenue standpoint, the SEC made total since to Arkansas. From a fan standpoint, it never has. Have you ever driven or flown to a game to south carolina, vanderbilt, or auburn? Arkansas has never even been considered a rivalry to any fan base in the sec. None.

When I was at the school in 03, the football team got up to #4 in the country. The game everyone had circled on their calendar was texas. You ask 10 people in fayetteville who their football rival is and the majority would still say texas. You ask anyone about the one game they remember is the Game of the Century in 69.

Recruiting has hurt in tx because ark doesn't play there. Self nailed it on the head yesterday when he said he can tell recruits they can go home 4x a year. Fans love the new game in Dallas vs A&M. Why? Its an old foe with ties and more of a past than ole miss, lsu or alabama. Fayetteville is 4 hrs away from lawrence, its less to stillwater and OU, and 3 hrs from Columbia. Tell me how that doesn't make since from a fan standpoint?

I completely agree with Jerry Jones. It has never been the same since Arkansas left the TX schools. It would be awesome to start that up again. Unfortunately, its run by $$$$$ and it would never make since from that standpoint.

I didn't pull this stuff out of my rear. Great book if you are a hogs fan!


WEARENTLEAVINGSEC 7 years, 11 months ago

Arkansas certainly left the SWC because of Texas. Sure the NCAA sanctions against the conference including Texas played a role. Decades of politics and not having a voice and Texas' looking to escape the SWC played a huge role. You think Texas just started politically dominating a conference when the Big 12 was formed and this was their first time to try and bail on a conference?

A rivalry is mutual feelings between two programs and fan bases. When one fan base puts much more importance than the other its an obsession. One can argue that from the 60s through the early 80s when Ark and Texas were usually in the top 15 if not 10 that there was a mutual rivalry. That's it. Otherwise, we are an interesting opponent and somewhat annoying to Texas. Its not a rivalry. For the context here, its not nor has it been except maybe for a short time on the level of KU - MU as far as a rivalry.

Absolutely I've been to road games in the SEC. And not all Arkansas fans live in Fayetteville. Thousands of us live in places like Memphis, Atlanta, eastern Ark, southern Ark where road trips to SEC venues are short trips and against teams with whom's fans we live and work with. Much closer destinations than midwestern prairie towns. So what we don't have a hated rival? What difference does that make? You don't need gimmicks or hype to build up a game in Neyland or Bryant Denny or Jordan Hare etc. I'm still waiting for how this "rival" issue has damaged our program.

Recruiting was hurt in Texas? Where did our best qb until Mallet come from? Where did Mallet go to high school? Cobi Hamilton? Jason Peters? Randy Garner? Fred Talley? or the countless other starters we have had from the state of Texas. Yes our roster has fewer Texas players now. You think our recruiting is worse now? Before you answer you may want to go look up the players we have had from Ga or Fl or La since joining the SEC. If you want to look at something that may have hurt our recruiting, look to the decline in eastern Ark and how it has affected the high school programs and the total falling off the map of Little Rock high school football. Not Texas.

Yes, its not been the same since we left Texas. Our stadium has gone from 51,000 seats to 72,000 with an overflow of 76,000 when we put freaking stands on the roof from the excitement of playing Tennessee with Gameday in town or Bama or Florida or UGa. If you had rather go watch football in Lubbock or Waco, well then head on. I'll be in Auburn or Columbia watching SEC football and tailgating with 85,000 other SEC football fans or in the Grove watching Miss Americas get loaded.

WEARENTLEAVINGSEC 7 years, 11 months ago

I forgot to add a comment in regards to A&M having more of a past than Ole Miss and LSU.

We have played A&M 66 times. Sure we have history with them including a few matchups that decided the SWC especially in the late 80's when the rest of the conference was dirt.

We have played Ole Miss 56 times inlcuding the 1954 game that started Arkansas' rise in football and Sugar Bowls in addition to our SEC matchups that has included the epic 7 OT game.

We have played LSU 55 times including the game that produced the speech giving us our mascot, the loss that cost us a 2nd NC and ended our 2 year unbeaten streak, and now more than a few games that had SECW and/or BCS implications.

Yes we love the Dallas series with A&M. Its in Jerryworld against a BCS conference opponent that we do have history with. Its also a game between hosting Bama and going to Auburn which are much much more important. You suggest we would prefer the game be between hosting Texas and going to Stillwater?

When you play UGA, Bama, Auburn, Ole Miss, LSU... why do you need to work yourself up into pointing to one game as a "rival". Just about every week has a rivalry level intensity anyway.

okiedave 7 years, 11 months ago

Arkansas would make a great contribution. They have loyal fans and a beautiful campus and great tradition. Just a 3 hour driv from Stillwater (OSU). The old Texas - Arkansas matchup would be a great rivalry like it was in the 50's and 60's. Good fit to replace Nebraska in the North. Would much rather see visitors wearing those classy pig heads and yelling the dignified sooooeeeee, rather than wearing those stupid corn cobs on their heads.

hawgs87 7 years, 11 months ago

Jerry Jones has had too much Botox and it has leaked in his brain. I am a University of Arkansas alum and am very happy in the SEC. I have traveled to many venues and when given the choice of Oxford vs Waco, Athens vs. College Station and so on for a trip I will take the SEC.

I don't mean that as a slam on those fine cities, but if it comes down to travel I like my choices. Since leaving the SWC we now have one of the most modern football stadiums in the country. The #1 rated college baseball stadium and lead the country in attendance and the largest regional attendance. World class track facility and the list goes on. Bud Walton basketball arena is still considered one of the top facilities even after 15 years.

I was there when we played our first SEC game and could see how far behind in talent we were at the time and we had been recruiting in TX!

I think most fans would say sure we still like to play TX, but given the overall choice we want to stay where we are at and not come back to the teasippers holding everyone hostage.

Happy to be in the SEC.

1usctrojan 7 years, 11 months ago

Please. Jones must be delusional or in the advanced stages of Alzheimers. NO WAY would Notre Dame join the BIG-12, if it were to be any conference at all, it would be the BIG-10 because of academic prestige and at least some cultural similarities. The BIG-12 is second only to the SEC as the least likely to interest Notre Dame. It's just not in it's class at all.

Rickyonealku 7 years, 11 months ago

10 TEAMS will do just fine, plus Arkansas is not leaving the SEC nor is Notre Dame giving any other football team a piece of its pie money.

Mr_B9 7 years, 11 months ago

I was hoping the big 12 would go away and we could have been the Big 1 wooohoooo

Really I am glad it all worked out.

ndalum86 7 years, 11 months ago

Would a ND alum and lifelong fan be asking too much to weigh in on the speculation about ND?

First, those who posted here about ND have it half right. ND will not join the Big XII. And why should they? ND's fanbase cherishes its independence, and ND was able to survive the last round of musical chairs with independence intact. Why ruin that now?

Where you go wrong, though, is in insisting that ND will join the Big Ten. No, no, no, a thousand times no! At least, that's what I hope. You see, most ND fans are very cognizant of the history of ND football. They know, for instance, that the Big Ten twice rejected ND for membership in the early 20th century solely because ND was a Catholic school. They also know that there were two efforts, both spearheaded by Michigan, to blackball ND from games against Big Ten members. ND fans aren't likely to forget that history.

Like I said, most ND fans cherish their independence and want to hold onto it as long as possible. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that they would prefer ND to drop football rather than join a conference. I don't go that far, and I'm intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that the day may come when ND has no viable alternative but to shed its independence in favor of conference membership. But the recently-concluded events tell me that even in that event, ND will have options that extend beyond the Big Ten. I believe that most ND fans would consider ANYTHING, whether it's Big East, Big XII, ACC or some sort of Big East-ACC hybrid, to be preferable to the Big Ten. So definitely don't take it as a foregone conclusion that ND is headed to the Big Ten.

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