Arkansas and Texas A&M have always kept their rivalry, moving it from the Southwest Conference eventually to the Southeast. Now it’s moving back to Cowboy Stadium. Starting in 2014 the teams will play in Arlington, the same place they played for the past three years. This time the contract will be for 11 years.
In 2009 2010 and 2011 Arkansas and A&M met in the Southwest Classic at Cowboys Stadium (all Arkansas wins) but now they’re back to original campus sites. A&M will host this season, Arkansas will host in Fayetteville next season. The move back to the Dallas area in 2014 makes sense for the Hogs. That's an important area for them for many reasons.
“Moving back there is a presence that we should have,” said head coach John L Smith. At the University of Arkansas having a presence in Dallas, where it's our largest alumni group, it’s also our largest booster groups. We recruit there heavily. So having that presence is a plus for us. I think that's a game that we should have. “
John L. Smith spoke at the Arkansas Touchdown Club luncheon today for the first time as official head coach, with a chance to see just how passionate the true fans really are. Smith has been all over the country as a coach and he has an analogy for Hogs fans and how much they love their football.
“You ever know about a horse with blinders on? Put the blinders on. The people in Arkansas can only see one thing. They are a little narrow minded. And that's football and that's awesome. So it’s a little bit more of a way of life. This is the way we are here.”
And the team realizes that they need this support to keep their program running. Without this great fan base, the Hogs wouldn't be playing on Saturdays in front of 75,000 people, competing for a National Championship.
“That allows our kids to go to school and get an education,” said Smith. “That's first and foremost for those kids to understand that they are getting an education. If you didn't have these people, and this support then how are you going to pay for them to have an education?”
It's a lot of pressure for 18 to 22 year old kids, being expected to go out there each week, with an entire fan base living and breathing with every move they make on the field.
“Some people call it pressure,” said Smith. “But we are thankful we have it. If we didn't have it how would our kids go to school? And that's what it’s all about. We just have to show appreciation to the fans that come out and show appreciation to us.”