FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas will play its 2012 football game against LSU at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, the school announced Friday.
The game between the two schools has been played in Little Rock the last nine times when the Razorbacks were the home team. Arkansas and LSU haven't met in Fayetteville since 1992.
The game, currently scheduled for Nov. 24, will likely be moved to Nov. 23 to accommodate a national TV audience, though that determination has yet to be made. The Razorbacks and Tigers have met on the Friday after Thanksgiving 15 times since 1995 with the game televised by CBS.
The 2011 matchup between then-No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Arkansas was the third-most watched regular season football game of the year, according to CBS.
Tickets for the game in Arkansas have been difficult to obtain in recent years, which was one of several reasons cited for the change. Arkansas' on-campus stadium has a listed capacity of 72,000, while War Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 53,955.
“Playing the LSU game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium directly benefits our program in a number of ways including most importantly providing an additional 20,000 Razorback fans an opportunity to cheer on our team and in this great rivalry game," Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a release. "By rearranging the rotation and playing the regular season finale in Fayetteville, it will also prevent our team from a competitive disadvantage of traveling three straight weekends in the most crucial part of the season.
"Playing on campus will also allow our football program the recruiting advantage of hosting prospects for a game that has traditionally carried conference and national implications.”
As a result of moving the game against the LSU, Arkansas will face Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium on Oct. 27. The Razorbacks are under contract to play two games - including one conference game - in Little Rock through the 2016 season.
Arkansas has played Ole Miss 15 times in Little Rock dating back to 1915. The city serves as a midway point between the schools' campuses and hasn't hosted the game since 1992.
“For Razorback fans, the Arkansas–Ole Miss game in Little Rock has a long and storied history,” War Memorial Stadium Commission chairman Kevin Crass said in a release. “War Memorial Stadium is excited to host the 2012 matchup, which will mark only the second time the Rebels have visited Little Rock since Arkansas joined the SEC."
In addition to Ole Miss, Arkansas will play Louisiana-Monroe there on Sept. 8.
The Razorbacks also announced a two-year home-and-home series against Rutgers on Friday. Arkansas will host Rutgers on Sept. 22 in Fayetteville and will travel to the Scarlet Knights' campus in Piscataway, N.J. on Sept. 21, 2013. The two programs have never met in football.
Rutgers will replace Texas A&M as Arkansas' marquee nonconference game next season. The Razorbacks and Aggies were scheduled to play in a nonconference game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas through the 2018 season, but Texas A&M will become a member of the Southeastern Conference later this year.
Texas A&M has expressed the desire to move that game to the schools' campuses, while Arkansas wants to keep the game in the Dallas suburb. No time table has been set for a resolution to the dispute.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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Sept. 1 - Jacksonville State at Fayetteville
Sept. 8 - Louisiana-Monroe at Little Rock
Sept. 15 - Alabama at Fayetteville
Sept. 22 - Rutgers at Fayetteville
Sept. 29 - Texas A&M at TBD
Oct. 6 - Auburn at Auburn, Ala.
Oct. 13 - Kentucky at Fayetteville
Oct. 20 - Open Date
Oct. 27 - Ole Miss at Little Rock
Nov. 3 - Tulsa at Fayetteville
Nov. 10 - South Carolina at Columbia, S.C.
Nov. 17 - Mississippi State at Starkville, Miss.
Nov. 24 (likely Nov. 23 for TV) - LSU at Fayetteville