Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel is in favor of the SEC keeping an eight-game conference schedule and thinks it can be a great opportunity to restore the Tigers’ rivalry with the Kansas Jayhawks, according to Dave Morrison of the Columbia Tribune.
“We might even be playing Kansas again someday, if they were willing to discuss and continue playing that great rivalry we had,” Pinkel said during the SEC football teleconference yesterday. “Or just bring in whomever. I think those are certainly possibilities. We look at those. Those have been very positive. We’ll just see the direction that we want to go.”
The two programs played 120 times with the first meeting taking place in 1891 and came to an end in 2011 after Missouri left the Big 12 conference for the SEC.
As Missouri keeps its options open for rekindling that longstanding rivalry, Pinkel is looking forward to starting one with the Arkansas Razorbacks who is the new crossover rival for the Tigers. The two programs have only met three times in the regular season and two more in bowl games but the Hogs make their first trip to Missouri for the first time in 108 years and Pinkel thinks it can be one of the best rivalries in the SEC and the country.
“You’ve got to play before you start a rivalry,” Pinkel said. “I think it could be great. I have great respect for Arkansas, and it’s right adjacent to us. I think that has the potential to be outstanding. We’ve got to get it going, and I think it can be very, very positive. I feel good that one day it could be considered as one of the great rivalries in the SEC and maybe the country.”
Missouri and Arkansas will never be able to match the historical aspects of the other great rivalries in the SEC, but it can make a case for being one of the better modern rivalries provided both teams are playing well.