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Petrino Pushes For Mizzou (And That Could Benefit Arkansas)

A second meeting of the SEC’s athletic directors last week didn’t lead to an announcement on future league schedule rotations.  And unlike the previous week — when the presidents at South Carolina and Texas A&M blabbed about becoming permanent cross-divisional foes — there were few whispers and rumors emerging from New Orleans.

Anybody else think Mike Slive played plumber and made sure all leaks were plugged?

Currently, there are conflicting opinions regarding when an official scheduling-format announcement from the SEC might come. has been told by one source that an announcement “could come soon.”  Two other people at SEC institutions have told us that things likely won’t be finalized until the spring meetings in Destin (which we initially thought would be the case).

Either way, Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino continues to push for the league to make Missouri the Razorbacks’ permanent cross-divisional foe.  If the top dogs at USC and A&M are to be believed, that’s likely to happen.  Speaking to a Hog booster club last night, here’s what Petrino had to say:

“I think it would only make sense that they become our team that you play every year.  We certainly are going to run into them in recruiting.  I think all the sports should play them every year simply because they’re the closest school to us to travel.  And we need another rival.  I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

True.  But flipping South Carolina for Missouri might help in another couple of areas, too. 

First, Carolina finished last season in the Top 10.  The year before, Steve Spurrier had the Gamecocks in the SEC Championship Game.  Even though Arkansas handed Carolina one of their two losses last year, why play a team that’s established when you can fill that slot instead with a team that’s just putting its feet on SEC ground for the first time?  No offense to Mizzou, but the Tigers weren’t in the Top 10 last year, either.

Second, Arkansas targets Texas hard in recruiting.  That’s why the Razorbacks want their yearly tilt with Texas A&M to be played in Arlington at Jerry Jones’ place.  But Missouri also recruits Texas hard.  You could make a strong argument that Gary Pinkel’s revival of the MU program ties directly to his ability to mine the Lone Star State. 

If Mizzou loses A&M as a yearly rival, then it will probably be harder — who knows how much harder? — for the Tigers to pluck key players out of Texas.  And South Carolina — even if it gains A&M as a permanent foe — is so far away that it won’t likely recruit Texas with the same success Missouri has.

Arkansas-Missouri makes sense.  They are close together.  It would make for a nice rivalry.  But switching Carolina for Mizzou could also provide short-term aid to Petrino’s already-climbing program.  Don’t think he doesn’t know that.



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