This will always be a Razorback state.
Top high school players in the state have made - and will continue to make - Fayetteville their number one in-state choice. Can you name the last big recruit who chose ASU over Arkansas? The only one I can think of is former Osceola star Jonathan Adams.
They may not admit it but I have a feeling most Red Wolves who played their high school ball in Arkansas grew up dreaming of playing for the Hogs.
Resources, facilities, tradition... it's advantage Arkansas in a big way in every major athletic category. These days, most high school athletes are looking for two things: exposure and a way to get to the NFL. Which conference produces the most NFL draft picks? The SEC. The league also has the most attractive TV partners (CBS and ESPN).
Those who believe losing a game to ASU would hurt the Arkansas program are forgetting just how powerful the Razorback brand is.
The best comparison I can think of is Tennessee. When it comes to football, the Vols rule in the Volunteer State. In 1996, a 3 and 6 Memphis team upset the 6th ranked Vols who had Peyton Manning at quarterback. Did that loss hurt Tennessee? Yes - for one week in the polls. It had no long term effect on the Tennessee program.
Why should Arkansas play ASU?
Major college football is changing. Arkansas is one of many schools that are setting new spending records when it comes to facilities and coaches. As a result, it's costing more and more to see a college game. It's becoming more important to put on a good show and playing the Samford Bulldogs in week 3 probably won't qualify. Put Arkansas State in that slot and you have a week of hype that would rival a big SEC game.
I think players at both schools would embrace the rivalry. On one side, you have all those home-grown Red Wolves who feel like they should have been recruited by Arkansas. On the other side, you have a team that can't wait to show little brother what big boy football is all about. I'm not sure it would be a competitive game but I know it would be an electric atmosphere.
Will the game ever take place? I have no idea. I think it would be a fun week for the fans and players from both teams and, win or lose, the University of Arkansas would have nothing to fear because this is - and will always be - a Razorback state.
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