By Otis Kirk
Arkansas’ future non-conference schedules include some schools that are among the nation’s elite.
The 2019 non-conference schedule includes Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State and Western Kentucky, but the grind gets tougher beginning in 2020.
The Razorbacks are slated to open the 2020 season in Fayetteville by hosting Kent State on Sept. 5. It’s the next week though that grads the headlines as Arkansas travels to Notre Dame for a Sept. 12 game. The Fighting Irish are coming off a 12-1 season in 2018 and figure to be among the top teams in the nation in 2019. There’s two more games to be filled on the non-conference schedule, but the presence of Notre Dame presents Arkansas fans with a game to get very excited about.
In 2021, Arkansas is currently set to play Missouri State on Sept. 4, Texas Sept. 11, Georgia Southern on Sept. 18 and then Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Oct. 23. However, the Missouri State game won’t take place. It appears the Hogs will replace them with Rice according to a May 27 story from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Tom Murphy.
Murphy wrote, because Missouri State and UAPB are both Football Championship Subdivision teams, playing both in the same season would go against the Razorbacks’ scheduling parameters. Football Bowl Subdivision teams can only count one game per year against an FCS opponent toward bowl eligibility.
What is speculated to happen is Arkansas open with Rice in 2021 and Oklahoma State with Missouri State. That would be a trade since the Cowboys are currently slated to open with Rice in 2021. The Razorbacks would then play Missouri State in 2022.
In addition to Missouri State in 2022, Arkansas is slated to go to BYU on Oct. 15 and host Liberty on Nov. 5 in Fayetteville. That would leave one game for Arkansas to still have to schedule for 2022 assuming the Missouri State switch with Oklahoma State is successful.
In 2023, Arkansas opens with Western Carolina in Fayetteville on Sept. 2. BYU will then come to Fayetteville on Sept. 23. That leaves two more games for the Hogs to fill.
Arkansas will open the 2024 season in Fayetteville on Aug. 31 by hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They will follow that with a Sept. 7 trip to play Oklahoma State.
On Oct. 4, 2025, Arkansas will finally get the return game from Notre Dame with the Fighting Irish coming to Fayetteville. On Sept. 11, 2027, Oklahoma State will play the Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
Arkansas is still working on scheduling more non-conference games for future years.