The Razorback football team now officially has all of its 2012 opponents in place and all but one of its locations firmed up.
Arkansas announced Friday morning via a press release that it had scheduled a home-and-home series with Rutgers – a team it has never played on the gridiron.
The first game will be in Fayetteville on Sept. 22 with the return game in Piscataway, N.J., on Sept. 21, 2013.
"We are pleased to add a quality non-conference opponent like Rutgers to our 2012 football schedule," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "The additions of Texas A&M and Missouri and the delay in the release of the conference schedule posed some specific scheduling challenges for the 2012 season. We know that many other events around the state are contingent on the Razorback football schedule and we appreciate the patience of our fans as we worked through this process. In the end, we believe we have put together a competitive 2012 schedule for our nationally ranked football program and some exciting games for Razorback fans."
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has handed new head coach Kyle Flood a premium non-conference game.
"It is a constant priority to secure marquee scheduling opportunities for our football program and our fans," Pernetti said in a statement. "This home-and-home series with Arkansas clearly illustrates another enhancement of that strategy. We are excited to have the Razorbacks as the first-ever SEC opponent to play at High Point Solutions Stadium and this agreement further enhances our future non-conference game schedule which includes Penn State, Miami and UCLA."
Rutgers has not played an SEC opponent since beating Vanderbilt 37-34 back in 2004 and is 5-11-2 all-time against SEC foes.
The release also noted that Arkansas will be hosting LSU Saturday, Nov. 24th in Fayetteville although that game is expected to be moved to Friday, Nov. 23 because of television.
The Arkansas-LSU game has normally been played in Little Rock and will be replaced by the Razorbacks game with Ole Miss on Oct. 27th at War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino is pleased with the slate his team will face this season.
"I am excited about the announcement of our 2012 schedule," Petrino said. "I anticipate our opponents will present a competitive challenge, which will be a great motivator for our program throughout the months ahead. I've always enjoyed the atmosphere our fans have created and their willingness to support what is necessary to give our team the best opportunity to succeed.
"Due to our November schedule this year, it is to our advantage to play LSU on campus,' Petrino added. " In Fayetteville, Little Rock or away from home the passion and pride of our fans always lifts our team."
That means Arkansas' home games in Fayetteville will be against Jacksonville State (Sept.1), Alabama (Sept. 15), Kentucky (Oct. 13), Tulsa (Nov. 3) and LSU.
"Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium will host some outstanding games in 2012," Long said. "In addition to three non-conference games, we will host three SEC games on campus including matchups against the two teams who played for this year's national championship.
"Playing the LSU game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium directly benefits our program in a number of ways including most importantly providing an additional 20,000 Razorback fans an opportunity to cheer on our team and in this great rivalry game," Long added. "By re-arranging the rotation and playing the regular season finale in Fayetteville, it will also prevent our team from a competitive disadvantage of traveling three straight weekends in the most crucial part of the season. Playing on campus will also allow our football program the recruiting advantage of hosting prospects for a game that has traditionally carried conference and national implications."
Arkansas' games in Little Rock this season will be against Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 8) and Ole Miss (Oct. 27th).
"We are excited about the opportunity to renew our tradition against Ole Miss in Little Rock," Long said. "We have a rich history playing against the Rebels in Central Arkansas including in some of the most significant games in our history. Since joining the SEC in 1992, we have rotated nine different SEC opponents in War Memorial Stadium. Accordingly, we will continue to review the assignment of home games and could make adjustments in the future. I appreciate the cooperation and support of Kevin Crass and the War Memorial Stadium Commission as we continue to work together in the best interests of our program and its success."
It will be the 16th time that Arkansas and Ole Miss will have played in Little Rock.
"For Razorback fans, the Arkansas–Ole Miss game in Little Rock has a long and storied history," War Memorial Stadium Commission Chairman Kevin Crass said. "War Memorial Stadium is excited to host the 2012 matchup, which will mark only the second time the Rebels have visited Little Rock since Arkansas joined the SEC. I am grateful to Jeff Long for his communication with the Commission and his efforts to bring this game to Central Arkansas. I urge all fans to make sure all season ticket packages for Little Rock are sold and that War Memorial Stadium is full of Razorback fans for the Louisiana-Monroe and Ole Miss games."
The only question mark left on the 2012 schedule is whether the Razorbacks' road game with Texas A&M will be played as part of the Southwest Classic in Arlington or in College Station as a true home game for the Aggies.
Arkansas wants to continue to play the game in Arlington as the contract states while A&M officials want the game to be a true home-and-home series now that the Aggies are joining the SEC next season.
Sat, Sep 01 Jacksonville State Fayetteville
Sat, Sep 08 Louisiana-Monroe Little Rock
Sat, Sep 15 Alabama * Fayetteville
Sat, Sep 22 Rutgers Fayetteville
Sat, Sep 29 Texas A&M * at TBD
Sat, Oct 06 Auburn * at Auburn, Ala.
Sat, Oct 13 Kentucky * Fayetteville
Sat, Oct 27 Ole Miss * Little Rock
Sat, Nov 03 Tulsa Fayetteville
Sat, Nov 10 South Carolina * at Columbia, S.C
Sat, Nov 17 Mississippi State * at Starkville, Miss.
Sat, Nov 24 LSU * Fayetteville
* Conference Games
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