Hogs Contacted About Kickoff Classic Events

Arkansas has been contacted about playing in a couple of Kickoff Classic-type events in 2017 and 2019 according to Razorback head football coach Bret Bielema.

BELLA VISTA - Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema says he has been contacted and would be open to the Razorbacks playing in one of the kickoff classic events in the future.

Bielema brought that up while discussing some proposals that the league’s coaches and athletic directors discussed at this week’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

“The part that is intriguing to me now is that both in Destin and in Phoenix (at the NCAA Coaches meetings) I had a couple of people come up and approach me about 2017 and 2019 and those Kickoff Classic openers.

“One in ’17 was very intriguing and one in ’19 or ’20 that was equally intriguing. Those are against big-time opponents on a neutral site, which I don’t mind.

“As we get better here at Arkansas, one of the common problems we had at my last institution (Wisconsin) was as we got to be pretty good, people didn’t want us to play home-and-home. They always wanted us to come play in their backyard and didn’t want to play in ours.

“That to me doesn’t make any sense but a neutral one-game shot in an area that is a good recruiting area for us is very intriguing. To get a game in the next state of Florida - a one-hit wonder against a common opponent - to me there would be a lot of beauty in that.”

Bielema did say that none of those games would likely be in Texas since Arkansas already plays Texas A&M yearly at the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“The thing with Texas is that we already have one every year with A&M so I don’t know if the value of that state is as great if we play two there, but I can say the SuperDome in Louisiana or something in Miami or something in the Midwest at times would be intriguing.”

Obviously Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long would have to approve any such game, but Bielema is certainly for it.

“I am all ears and obviously Jeff has a lot of input as well, but I think from what I have learned here is that if I am good with it, we are pretty good with it overall,” Bielema said.

Bielema said he was excited about the Arkansas-Missouri game being moved to the Friday after Thanksgiving.

“I love it,” Bielema said. “I love uniqueness. Obviously before I got here, you guys shared a history with LSU at the end of the year that was pretty cool. We got to be a part of it for one year.

“I would really love to build that Missouri rivalry. (Tigers head) Coach (Gary) Pinkel, I just have the utmost respect for him in the way he built his program and that maintenance he has had. I think it is a really cool way to end the year.”

One of the other proposals on the board was regarding whether SEC coaches should be allowed to hold satellite camps as many other conferences do.

The current league rule does not allow that, but will happen if the SEC proposal top ban them is voted down nationally.

“I kind of like the idea of going into some non-traditional SEC areas and I think if you partner up with four or five SEC schools and go to Ohio, like Cincinnati or Chicago or Detroit or somewhere in New Jersey or New York, I just think it could really bring that SEC label to somewhere it has never been done before.

“My obvious preference is to not do anything off campus, but I think as powerful as the SEC is if you can go in and make a statement like that, it would be a pretty good thing.”

The SEC handed out individual checks of $31.7 million dollars to each of the 14 schools in the conference on Friday.

“What has been cool over the last three or four months is that we former players come through our facilities and obviously that was in process before I got here, but since we have been here we have really spruced up the building in reference to the NFL and our players.

“Obviously with the academic facility opening up July 1 and I know I was talking with (Arkansas head basketball coach) Mike (Anderson) coming from Destin and he is so pumped to get into that new basketball facility," Bielema said.

“The things that (money) is providing right now in our athletic department are truly, truly needed and could be a huge advantage for us moving forward.”

Arkansas coaches Jimmy Dykes, Mike Anderson and Bret Bielema talk earlier this weekend at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla.

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