Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Two round scheduling holes -- one in the Big East, one in the SEC -- each found a round peg Friday as Rutgers and Arkansas officially agreed to play a home-and-home series starting this fall in Fayetteville.
Thanks to the latest round of conference realignment, both programs found themselves with gaps to fill in their 2012 slate--Rutgers needing a replacement for Big 12 defector West Virginia, and Arkansas one for Texas A&M, thanks to their nonconference series with the Aggies becoming a conference matchup instead.
The agreement has been rumored for weeks, but became official with statements issued by both sides Friday morning. The 2012 meeting will be held at Arkansas's regular home stadium in Fayetteville on Sept. 22, 2012, with the return game set for Sept. 21, 2013. The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools and the first time any SEC program has made the trip to Piscataway.
“It is a constant priority to secure marquee scheduling opportunities for our football program and our fans,” Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said. “This home-and-home series with Arkansas clearly illustrates another enhancement of that strategy ... This agreement further enhances our future non-conference game schedule which includes Penn State, Miami and UCLA.”
“We are pleased to add a quality non-conference opponent like Rutgers to our 2012 football schedule,” Razorback athletic director 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.”
The agreement completes Arkansas's 2012 schedule, while Rutgers still needs one additional conference opponent. With a rumored in-season rematch with Syracuse off the table, the Scarlet Knights -- like the rest of the Big East -- are no doubt hoping fervently that Boise State will swoop in to rescue the league schedule.
Arkansas also announced that it would be playing Ole Miss in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium and LSU in Fayetteville. With Arkansas traditionally hosting LSU in Little Rock, the latter game will mark the Bayou Bengals' first visit to the Arkansas campus since the Hogs' inaugural SEC season in 1992.Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.
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