Is 0-16 a fireable offense for Bret Bielema?
Moral victories aren’t much to hang your hat on, but they’re all Bret Bielema has at Arkansas through one and a half seasons.
His emotional postgame speech after a one-point loss to Alabama on Oct. 11 was more or less a eulogy for this year’s team, a group that, while talented, remains crippled by inexperience and confidence issues.
The beaten man has 12 consecutive losses in the SEC to show for the supposed rebuilding project of a program left in the gutter by the previous regime.
Avoiding the graphic imagery of four losses to nationally-ranked teams this fall, if the Razorbacks don’t find a way to beat LSU after a bye in three weeks, the regular-season finale at Mizzou will determine if the conference losing skid hits a stomach-churning 16 games before nine months of excruciating down time.
Zero wins and 16 losses in two years from the former proven winner at Wisconsin is quite surprising, even in college football’s toughest division. The Big Ten run-heavy approach has performed greatly in non-conference wins against three teams with combined records of 8-14 and not so well elsewhere.
The Razorbacks have the players — Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams along with a stout defensive front and solid wall of blockers — but results have come at a snail’s pace, what feels like an eternity considering the Razorbacks are in danger of being lapped in their own division by blossoming Magnolia State powers.
Is the benefit of the doubt beginning to wear off in Fayetteville?
Being competitive along with countless promises of supposed lights at the end of the tunnel has kept Bielema in the good graces of an Arkansas fanbase that’s grown tired of being the doormat every Saturday in the SEC.
At what point does ‘tough schedule’ and ‘learning how to win’ no longer matter at a school only three years removed from a Sugar bowl berth? Athletic director Jeff Long has been Bielema’s chief support system during times of sorrow, but the vessel’s shrinking.
In a results-dominated profession, time’s running out on Bielema’s turnaround attempt and a disappointing start to the 2015 season would be his last.