FAYETTEVILLE -- A season opener at War Memorial Stadium, a home game against BYU and a game at Florida are among the notable highlights on the Arkansas Razorbacks' 2023 football schedule, which was announced Tuesday.
The Razorbacks will play 12 games in seven cities, including Little Rock, where the team has played just once since 2020. Arkansas is scheduled to open next season with a game against Western Carolina at War Memorial Stadium -- the Razorbacks' first season opener in Little Rock since a 49-7 victory over Florida A&M in 2017.
Arkansas is also under contract to open the 2024 season with a game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at War Memorial Stadium. The Razorbacks defeated UAPB 45-3 in their most recent game in Little Rock in October 2021.
On-campus games next season will include SEC matchups against Auburn, Mississippi State and Missouri, and non-conference games against BYU, Kent State and Florida International.
The Razorbacks will sacrifice a home game to be the designated host for the Southwest Classic against Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas. The contract for that series is scheduled to end after 2024, at which point the games are expected to move back to the teams' campuses.
Arkansas is scheduled to play SEC road games at Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Florida in 2023. The Gators last hosted the Razorbacks in 2020 when the game was a late addition to the schedule after the SEC opted to play 10 conference-only games. Florida won 63-35 as Arkansas played without Coach Sam Pittman, who was in quarantine due to covid-19.
Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is one of two SEC stadiums where Arkansas has never won a game, along with Missouri's Faurot Field. The Razorbacks are 0-5 at the Gators' home field with an average loss margin of 23 points.
The SEC's cross-division schedule was set for 12 seasons beginning in 2014. Arkansas plays Missouri from the SEC East each season, typically on the day after Thanksgiving. Their 2023 matchup has been scheduled for the final Saturday of the regular season but is subject to change when the league compiles its preliminary TV schedule in the spring.
No TV designations or kick-off times are expected to be announced until next year.
The BYU game will be the return in a two-game series that will begin when the Razorbacks play in Provo, Utah, on Oct. 15. The Cougars, ranked 19th in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll, will join the Big 12 next season.
Kent State, a member of the Mid-American Conference, has had a record of .500 or above each season under coach Sean Lewis since 2019, and is 1-2 this season with losses to Washington and Oklahoma. The Golden Flashes were previously coached by former Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, who was fired after his sixth consecutive season with a losing record in 2018.
FIU, a member of Conference USA, is 1-1 in its first season under Coach Mike MacIntyre, a former national coach of the year at Colorado. MacIntyre was hired to replace Springdale native Butch Davis, a former Arkansas letterman and mentor to Pittman. Davis was fired after a 1-11 record last year.
Western Carolina competes in the Football Championship Subdivision and has not had a winning record since 2017. The Catamounts are 2-1 in their second season under Coach Kerwin Bell, with their loss coming at Georgia Tech.
Arkansas will play Kent State and Western Carolina for the first time, and will play BYU for the first time in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks defeated FIU 58-10 in 2007.
Arkansas 2023 schedule
Sept. 2;Western Carolina (Little Rock)
Sept. 9;Kent State
Sept. 23;at LSU
Sept. 30;Texas A&M (Arlington, Texas)
Oct. 7;at Ole Miss
Oct. 14;at Alabama
Oct. 21;Mississippi State
Nov. 4;at Florida
Nov. 18;Florida International