Could the Missouri Tigers Become the Permanent SEC East Opponent for Arkansas?

Wes BennettContributor IIIMarch 6, 2012

Darren McFadden Chased by Tigers
Darren McFadden Chased by TigersRonald Martinez/Getty Images

The SEC's athletic directors are feverishly working on a schedule for 2013 and beyond along with the SEC's transition team assigned to help Missouri and Texas A&M become member schools.

The Arkansas Razorbacks and the South Carolina Gamecocks were themselves new additions to the Southeastern Conference in 1992. Since that first season, the Hogs and South Carolina have been permanent cross-division rivals, with the Razorbacks holding the advantage with a record of 13-7. The Razorbacks have owned the Gamecocks of late, whether it be in Columbia or in Fayetteville.

University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides has hinted that he wants to try their luck against a Texas A&M team that has not quite lived up to expectations for the last few years. To many outside of the South Carolina administration, this seems to be a head-scratching decision.

The Gamecocks' recruiting base has clearly been along the East Coast, especially in Florida and Georgia. What makes the decision-makers in Columbia believe that they can recruit in Texas when Arkansas, Missouri and LSU already have significant relationships with Texas high school coaches? 

There are also several Texas schools such as TCU, Baylor, SMU and Texas Tech that are on the upswing and are now regularly challenging the Longhorns and Aggies for the 3- and 4-star studs in the Lone Star state.

Another factor is that it will make a long trip out West even longer by about 150 miles for the Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier and his team.

Reports out of Fayetteville this week are that Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long would be very open to trading the Gamecocks for the Missouri Tigers as permanent cross-division opponents. 

It makes more sense for Arkansas in the long run. Although the Hogs missed out on the big catch this year—Dorial Green Beckham out of Missouri—they are already on several good recruits in the state of Missouri for 2013. 

The trip to Mizzou would be much shorter for the Hogs than the biannual trip to the Palmetto State as well. If this change becomes a reality, the Hogs would face three different Tigers during their season in Auburn, LSU and Missouri.

Missouri fans seem to be happy with the move to the SEC, but after a season or two in the East division, they may be saying "show me" a door back to the Big 12 conference.