Hogs Finalize 2005 Schedule

FAYETTEVILLE -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will be bringing his new team to Fayetteville next November.

Arkansas' plan to move its 2005 game against the Gamecocks from War Memorial Stadium to Reynolds Razorback Stadium was finalized when the Hogs released their schedule Tuesday. In return, the Arkansas-Mississippi State game, which is scheduled for Nov. 19, has been shifted from Fayetteville to Little Rock.

"We just feel like this way, both stadiums, for the whole thing, will be better off," athletic director Frank Broyles said. "It gives us a different (Southeastern Conference opponent) up here. We haven't played South Carolina up here in a long time and Mississippi State hasn't played there in a long time.

"So it mixes it up a little bit. I think it will help us sell tickets."

Broyles is hoping the swap will boost revenue for a schedule that contains only six home games in 2005. The Razorbacks played at least seven homes games the past five seasons (2000-04), but next season's 11-game schedule includes a nonconference trip to top-ranked Southern California on Sept. 17.

Arkansas will play four times in Fayetteville (Southwest Missouri State, Vanderbilt, Auburn and South Carolina) and twice in Little Rock (Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State). The Hogs are scheduled for road games at Southern Cal, Alabama (Sept. 24), Georgia (Oct. 22), Ole Miss (Nov. 12) and LSU (Nov. 26).

The 2005 schedule includes six teams that were bowl eligible this season.

"We are optimistic that the increase in attendance we enjoyed in 2004 will result in continued support in the 2005 season," Broyles said in a statement released by the university. "By virtue of adding a high-profile, nonconference game with Southern Cal, we will have only six home games in the state next season.

"We are grateful for the cooperation of the War Memorial Stadium Commission in developing a schedule that will be beneficial to both home venues as well as rotate conference opponents."

Broyles said Arkansas averages $3 million in revenue a game in Razorback Stadium, which has a capacity crowd of 72,000. The Hogs also averaged an all-time high of 70,689 fans in Razorback Stadium in 2004. Broyles said Arkansas generates $1.3 million in Little Rock, which has the second smallest stadium in the SEC (53,727).

So the addition of Spurrier-led South Carolina to the Razorback Stadium schedule would be considered a bigger attraction than Mississippi State, which is 11-35 since 2000. But Broyles insisted the decision wasn't made because of Spurrier's return to the conference after guiding Florida to a 122-27-1 record from 1990-2002.

"It has nothing to do with their coach," Broyles said. "We're just changing up the home schedule. We've been playing Mississippi State up here and South Carolina down there the past few years. So we just changed it."

Arkansas' last four home games against South Carolina were in War Memorial Stadium. The Hogs are 2-0 all-time against South Carolina in Fayetteville, but the teams haven't played in Razorback Stadium since Arkansas' 51-21 win in 1995.

Broyles said he discussed the swap with War Memorial Stadium committee members the past couple days and everyone was satisfied with the changes. The War Memorial Stadium Commission -- which runs until 2014 -- calls for the Hogs to play at least one SEC opponent in Little Rock every year.

Arkansas reserves the right to select which conference games will be played in Little Rock.

"They agreed with it completely," Broyles said about the decision. "I went through them and we talked and discussed it and they were satisfied with it. The committee has just been outstanding.

"We have a perfect relationship and we work together on everything."

One other change in the 2005 schedule was the switch of an October nonconference foe.

Arkansas was scheduled to play Troy in Little Rock on Oct. 8, but the Trojans were released from the agreement to pursue a home game. The Razorbacks added familiar foe Louisiana-Monroe in Troy's place.

The 2005 game is separate from the five-game, nine-year agreement the schools reached last January that helps the Indians maintain their Division I-A status. The Hogs agreed to play Louisiana-Monroe in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, but will be considered the road team at a neutral site (Little Rock) during the five games.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories