With the news that Mizzou is joining the SEC as a member of the Eastern Division, there's a lot of speculation that Arkansas will be Mizzou's permanent Western Division opponent. The pairing makes a lot of sense, as the two schools are natural geographic rivals. However, that would mean USC would need a new permanent opponent. The two teams that have been mentioned are Texas A&M and LSU. It's also been mentioned that Mizzou and TAMU may match up, leaving USC and Arkansas a pair. What would you prefer?
Here's my sense of the pros and cons.
Arkansas--Pros: The main pro for the Hogs is that we've now been playing for 20 years and have some modicum of a rivalry brewing. USC and Ark. are far from natural rivals, sharing no pre-SEC history and no geographical contiguity. However, the two teams have matched up for some good games over the years.
Arkansas--Cons: As said, there's nothing natural about this series. Its history is completely arbitrary in nature. I would add that we haven't had much luck against the Hogs lately, but that's probably just because they're better than us right now, and that wouldn't necessarily change against TAMU, and it certainly wouldn't against LSU.
LSU--Pros: The main pro here would be that this would frequently provide the potential for a season-defining win.
LSU--Cons: They're one of the nation's marquee programs and would be very tough to beat with any kind of consistency. Heck, we couldn't even beat them in 2008, which was one of the few average years they've had in recent history. It would essentially be adding another Florida to the schedule, only this one wouldn't be suffering from coaching instability. There's also, again, little history between the schools.
TAMU--Pros: The game would come with a lot of fanfare the first few years because TAMU will be a new member of the SEC. It would generate a lot of excitement among fans and the nation at large. This is probably also the best matchup for us among the three schools, as they're currently a bit behind Arkansas and far behind LSU, although I have a feeling their stock will rise quickly after they join the SEC.
TAMU--Cons: Again, little history, although that's a common denominator between us and all the SEC West schools.
Personally, I'm probably in favor of keeping Arkansas. I've developed some affection for the series. However, I'd also be happy with TAMU. I say no way to LSU.