Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Razorbacks won't need to look far for non-SEC game
An Arkansas football helmet sits on the ground prior to a game between the Razorbacks and Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Lexington, Ky.
If — there’s that word again — the SEC has a football season, and it includes one nonconference game, it might not be one of the four schools currently scheduled for the University of Arkansas.
There seems to be a remote chance the Razorbacks will be touring Touchdown Jesus this season.
Notre Dame is being included by the ACC in its scheduling if the season is shortened.
Right now with the coronavirus pandemic raging, it doesn’t seem likely that football will start the first week of September.
Arkansas is scheduled to open with Nevada, but the Wolf Pack would have to endure a very long plane ride to Fayetteville, and there are no commercial airlines where you can social distance if you are carrying 120 in the travel party.
Would the Razorbacks even want to play a team that just got off a four-hour plane ride?
Charleston Southern also faces a travel challenge.
That leaves Louisiana-Monroe which is currently scheduled for Nov. 21 in Fayetteville.
If the SEC schedule changes, that date may not be available for a nonconference game.
So logical thinking is that this might be the perfect time to move into the 21st century and add Arkansas State to the schedule.
It is a bus ride from Jonesboro to Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
There is definitely a groundswell for the Hogs and Red Wolves to play and will someday be realized.
Common and economical sense says it will happen.
Of course, it may not work this year.
If the Razorbacks need a regional nonconference game who would the fans be thrilled about?
Maybe an Oklahoma or SMU.
Obviously this is subjective and speculative because no one knows if there will even be a season.
It was good news that Walmart has made it mandatory for its shoppers to wear a mask.
The grandson and your scribe were in there Tuesday afternoon and a large number were wearing masks, but wearing it like a chin strap is not wearing a mask.
Wearing it below your nose like the waiter at Chili’s is not what is advised or desired by customers.
It remains odd that wearing a mask is not a statewide requirement.
Those who have not social distanced or wore a mask when in public or washing their hands regularly are why there may not be a football season.
All the early models said we would be through the worst of this horrible virus by the end of July and could expect a new outbreak in the fall around flu season.
Instead, we have learned March and April were just a kick start for covid-19.
Which is why every Power 5 conference commissioner and athletic director are saying if there is a season.
There’s still a chance there will be some sort of season.
The athletic departments need it financially and the country needs it socially.
If there are vast improvements in the numbers of those infected — and they have been bad in the SEC footprint — there’s a shot games could start in late September or early October.
I’ve already written that former All-American Jim Mabry had a great plan: Play all SEC division teams and one nonconference game.
The West plays one week, the East the next. That gives plenty of time for testing and recuperation before playing another game.
The UA could be searching for a nonconference opponent.
It would be exciting and interesting if that was ASU for the first time in history.
Maybe it won’t happen, and the Hogs have to entice a Memphis, Tulsa or SMU into a game, but the question is who would the fans pick for that game. I am seriously curious.
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