One Pivotal Game Makes Latest Batch of 11 AM Start Times Net Win for Hogs

Sam Pittman, Arkansas football
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

For the first time in a while, Arkansas football fans can go ahead and make most of their plans before an upcoming season.

On Tuesday, the SEC revealed approximate start times for almost all of the Razorbacks’ games in its upcoming 2024 season. Previously, the conference had released start times for three of the games.

Most notably, the Arkansas vs Texas matchup on Nov. 16 — the two former SWC rivals’ first game as SEC foes — has been set for 11 a.m. CT and will be televised on either ABC or ESPN.

That is one of at least four early games the Razorbacks will play this season. The Oklahoma State game in Stillwater, Okla., will start at 11 a.m. on Sept. 7 and the two games immediately preceding the Arkansas vs Texas football game have been assigned to the “early” time slot, which means a kickoff between 11 a.m. and noon.

Those games are against the two Mississippi schools — at Mississippi State on Oct. 26 and against Ole Miss on Nov. 2. The second of Arkansas’ two open dates follows those before its third straight early kickoff with the showdown against Texas.

Arkansas football fans are certainly no strangers to that time slot. The Razorbacks have had four 11 a.m. kickoffs in each of the last three seasons and had three in the 10-game, pandemic-altered 2020 campaign.

While some may be bummed about the early start to the Texas game after Arkansas fans so raucously showed up in the evening for the Hogs’ 2021 win in Fayetteville against the Longhorns, the early starts might actually end up benefiting Arkansas.

Two games critical to the Razorbacks reaching bowl eligibility are the early-season road trip to Oklahoma State and the midseason road trip to Mississippi State. Sam Pittman has discussed numerous times that he’d like to have early games on the road because, in theory, the opposing fans aren’t as awake and fired up as they would be for a night game.

Such an a.m. kickoff could help Arkansas pull off an upset against the Cowboys, which won 10 games last year. It could also mean slightly less deafening cowbells in Starkville, Miss.

In terms of setting up momentum for the rest of the season, beating Oklahoma State in the second game would be more significant than beating Texas in the 10th game. A loss in that second game would increase the chances of matters unraveling, similar to how things went south after Arkansas’ loss to BYU in 2023.

Assuming the season doesn’t tank, fans should be amped up for Ole Miss and Texas regardless of start time. Perhaps the Rebels and Longhorns will sleepwalk into Razorback Stadium and Arkansas can punch them in the mouth early, leading to an upset.

Sure, that might be a stretch, especially given the College Football Playoff hopes of those two schools, but Arkansas could use any help it can get coming off a 4-8 season that has Pittman squarely on the hot seat.

Other Schedule Notes

  • For several years, kickoff times weren’t announced until a couple weeks out because the SEC’s rights were split between ESPN/ABC and CBS. The CBS deal ended after last season and now ESPN and ABC own all of the games, giving the network more freedom to at least announce approximate time slots more than two months before the season.
  • The only game without a time slot is the Nov. 23 non-conference showdown with Louisiana Tech, which will be streamed on SEC Network+ and ESPN+. That means the UA controls its kickoff time. It will likely be announced sometime during the season.
  • As things currently stand, Arkansas is guaranteed only one night game — against LSU on Oct. 19 — but two other games could end up being played in the afternoon or at night. Those are at Auburn (Sept. 21) and against Tennessee (Oct. 5).
  • These “flex” games will be assigned to either the “afternoon” or “night” time slot 12 days before the game, with specific times and broadcast information revealed 6 days out.
  • The Arkansas vs Missouri game is expected to remain on Nov. 30, a Saturday, and not shift up a day to its traditional Black Friday date, according to WholeHogSports. That was a CBS decision to move Arkansas’ regular-season finale up. ESPN and ABC, who now own all of the rights to SEC games, have decided the Mississippi State-Ole Miss and Georgia-Georgia Tech games will be played on Black Friday.

2024 Arkansas Football Schedule

DateOpponentTimeTV
Aug. 29UAPB (War Memorial Stadium)6:30 p.m.ESPNU
Sept. 7at Oklahoma State11 a.m.ABC
Sept. 14UAB3:15 p.m.SEC Network
Sept. 21at AuburnFLEX (2:30-7 p.m.)TBA
Sept. 28vs. Texas A&M (AT&T Stadium)AFTERNOON (2:30-3:30 p.m.)TBA
Oct. 5TennesseeFLEX (2:30-7 p.m.)TBA
Oct. 12OPENOPENOPEN
Oct. 19LSUNIGHT (5-7 p.m.)TBA
Oct. 26at Mississippi StateEARLY (11 a.m.-noon)TBA
Nov. 2Ole MissEARLY (11 a.m.-noon)TBA
Nov. 9OPENOPENOPEN
Nov. 16Texas11 a.m.ABC or ESPN
Nov. 23Louisiana TechTBAESPN+/SECN+
Nov. 30at MissouriAFTERNOON (2:30-3:30 p.m.)TBA
All times Central

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