Arkansas coach Bret Bielema confirms talks of Texas Tech series

By Chip Patterson | College Writer

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema confirmed talks of a future series with Texas Tech. (USATSI)
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema confirmed talks of a future series with Texas Tech. (USATSI)

Former Southwest Conference rivals Arkansas and Texas Tech have had discussions about a future home-and-home football series, Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema confirmed Tuesday.

Texas Tech's Rivals site, RedRaiderSports.com, initially reported the possibility of the two schools meeting for the first time since 1991, after which Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC. The Razorbacks' coach confirmed his knowledge of those discussions in a radio interview on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly.

"I've been engaged with that talk," Bielema said. "There has been a lot of hesitation since I've been here because we haven't gotten the 2014 SEC schedule. Until that kind of gets finalized and '15 gets finalized, we can't move forward, but there are a lot of interesting possibilities out there -- some things I know will excite our fan base in more than one way."

SEC commissioner Mike Slive recently told reporters that the league was "closing in" on finalizing the 2014 football schedule. According to the Rivals' report, the initial meeting would likely be played at Texas Tech in 2014 with a return game in Fayetteville set for 2015.

Another issue for Arkansas to consider is the league's "open-minded" approach to following the Big Ten's lead with a nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 and Big 12 each played nine-game conference schedules in 2012 and will do the same in 2013.

"When you're projecting a couple of years out, you have to factor in what you believe [the opponent] can be," Bielema said. "The best thing is to try to take care of what services Arkansas best. You take into account fan base, history and some things that would give flavor to your schedule you can't find in the SEC."

The Razorbacks and Red Raiders met 35 times as SWC opponents, with Arkansas winning 28 times. Both teams enter 2013 with first-year head coaches and plenty of excitement for the future. Texas Tech has been rejuvenated by the return of former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury as the program's new head coach following a wildly successful season as Kevin Sumlin's offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

 
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