Bret Bielema isn’t afraid to say anything to anyone at anytime, it seems. He’s been on the job at Arkansas for nearly five months, and he’s already taking aim at the rest of the SEC and that 10,000-pound gorilla, Nick Saban.
Bielema was speaking recently at the Saline County Razorback Club fish fry, and he had a few things to say about the most powerful league and coach in college football and that team that recently won back-to-back national championships – Alabama.
“The reason the SEC is talked about all the time is one team, because of their dominance. But I didn’t come here to play Alabama. I came here to beat Alabama.
“You can take Saban’s record when he was at Michigan State and when he was a coach in the Big Ten and put it against mine, and he can’t compare.”
I’m sure the Razorback faithful came out of their seats for that one. But this league is humbling to even the finest coaches and players who have ever suited up in the SEC.
Saban finished with a 34-24-1 coaching record at Michigan State, while Bielema finished with a 68-24 record at Wisconsin. And he did have more success than Saban in the Big Ten, but why not wait until you spend a few weekends in the SEC or even notch your first league win?
Most will view Bielema’s comments and direct them at Nick Saban and Alabama solely, but remember, Alabama isn’t the only team that is a part of the last seven national championships. Florida, LSU and Auburn may also have something to say about that.
Bielema enters the toughest division in the country with a team who lost essentially 95 percent of its offensive firepower and was one of the league’s worst defenses. That’s not a knock against Arkansas or Bielema as a coach; it’s the reality for the league and the reality of the Hogs’ program heading into 2013.
Most will be on the edge of their seat when SEC Media Days kick off in July, where this statement will be rehashed again and again. Then, Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will rehash it some more on October 19th, when these two teams hook up in Tuscaloosa.
Aside from poking the gorilla, you have to love Bielema’s competitive fire, his confidence and his willingness to take on a rebuilding team in the country’s best football conference. And he’s not afraid to dish it out on Twitter either.
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