That whole Bret Bielema playing macho head games with Nick Saban thing… he wants you to know he was just funnin’, folks.
The thing is, I can’t figure out what’s supposed to be humorous about this comment:
“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.”
The only way that’s a joke is if you start with the premise that Bielema is an inferior coach to Nick Saban, and while I think most neutral observers would probably agree with that, Bielema doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who indulges in self-mockery, especially at a pep rally.
I suspect he wouldn’t have tweeted that if his comments hadn’t provoked the response they did, but, then again, he did it on April Fools Day, so maybe it’s the tweet we shouldn’t take seriously. In the meantime, there’s some fuel for the SEC Media Days fire, no?
I wonder what it is about Arkansas’ football program that makes people dizzy. There were all the folks anointing the Hogs as the next big thing in the SEC West despite the fact they never played a lick of defense under Petrino or Smith. And then there’s the respect for AD Jeff Long.
Granted, when he hopped on that motorcycle, Petrino left Long in a tough spot. But the Smith hire was questionable from the start. And the compensation package Long came up with for his new coach made things even worse.
Former Arkansas football coach John L. Smith has been accused of using his employment contracts with the Razorbacks to defraud several of his creditors, according to two complaints filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court…
… Smith made a series of transactions “with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors,” said one of the complaints filed Monday.
The creditors cite his unusual contract with the Razorbacks last year, in which 71% of his $850,000 salary was deferred until right after the 2012 season. In general, the bankruptcy estate controls assets acquired by a debtor before the date of the bankruptcy filing, which was Sept. 6 in Smith’s case. Debtors generally can keep what they earn after the filing date.
Nothing like having your institution associated with bankruptcy fraud. And Long’s explanation at the time – “… Long told reporters last year the deferral was made for Smith’s retirement” – seemed lame given that Smith made it quite clear then that he hoped he could do enough to turn his position from interim into something longer term. And in fact as the article notes, Smith hasn’t retired since leaving Arkansas.
At least Long got a good season for his trou… oh, wait.
Looking back, giving John L. Smith a ten-month contract may not have been the smartest thing Jeff Long ever did.
In separate interviews with Sporting News, Haynes, who was the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator last season, and Petrino, who was their offensive coordinator, said Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long made a mistake when he hired Smith to a 10-month contract last April, a couple of weeks after Bobby Petrino was fired amidst a personal scandal.
It was a mistake that bore such awkwardness and dysfunction within the program that both ex-coordinators—and Smith himself—believe some players eventually quit on the team.
Whether or not Smith was the right man for Arkansas at that time, he, Haynes and Paul Petrino say the duration of Smith’s contract had players convinced the entire staff wouldn’t be around in 2013, and that realization led some to tune out their coaches.
“I don’t think an A.D. should ever hire somebody for 10 months,” Paul Petrino said. “Players know what that means; they understand that. It hurts the power of the head coach and the assistants.
“They should’ve hired (Smith) for two years or hired someone else for two years, or just (expletive)-canned all of us.”
Not that I feel too sorry for Long. It’s the risk you run when you hire a wandering soul like Bobby Petrino – and let’s not forget how the timing of that hire went down.
Karma is a beyotch.
Didn’t see this one coming.
Bielema’s got a good track record – three 11-win seasons and a bunch of Rose Bowl trips. Good pick up for Arky.
I like the hire for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a nice knee to the balls of Jim Delany (you know Slive is smirking as you read this). Second, this was one of my favorite dick moves of the past decade. Nothing wrong with making JoePa apoplectic during a game.
Hope somebody gives him the low down on cell phone usage, though.
Of course, bankruptcy court ain’t exactly like the coin toss.
Chris Gragg believes.
“We still feel like we’re a top 10 team,” Gragg said. “We have one blemish on our record, but we’re 0-0 in the SEC and we know that this is a big game. Like it always is every year I’ve been here, it has a lot of implications on what happens in the SEC.”
If the Hogs are still a top-10 team, what does that make UL-M? According to Barnhart, richer:
Last week was a good one for Louisiana-Monroe (the alma mater of Timmy Brando) of the Sun Belt Conference. The Warhawks picked up a cool $950,000 to play Arkansas in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. But under the unique terms of the agreement ULM got to count it as a home game, boosting its overall attendance and thus helping the school maintain its requirements to remain the Football Bowl Subdivision. Then ULM had the temerity to beat No. 10 Arkansas in overtime, the biggest upset of this young season. It was the first win ever by the Sun Belt Conference over a top-10 team. They’ve even got the T-shirts: “The Shock in Little Rock.”
Well, if you think last week was good, what if ULM goes to Auburn on Saturday and wins? With QB Kolton Browning (42 of 67, 412 yards vs. Arkansas) the Warhawks certainly have a shot against Auburn (0-2), which is last in total defense in the SEC. And for those of you keeping score at home, ULM will be paid $1,050,000 for the visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
If UL-M wins this week, I may add the Warhawks to my SEC Power Poll ballot.
There’s a wee Irish tinge to the offerings today.
- The Dawgs enjoyed a good bit of success running out of four-wide sets against Missouri. (In fact, I think the TD pass to King came out of a five-wide, empty backfield set.) Will the offensive line be strong enough for Georgia to keep on doing that?
- If you believe that the biggest difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is the quality of the defensive linemen, then this story will make complete sense to you.
- Mars needs women, but colleges need men. Football, testosterone and Stanford.
- Tyler Wilson looks like he may be ready to show up for Alabama. The question is whether his offensive line will do the same.
- Mark Richt has lost control of LSU’s academics.
- Notre Dame’s move to the ACC – and the news that it will schedule five games a year with that conference’s members – means it’s got some scrambling to do on the scheduling front.
- Jim Delany whistles in the dark about the move, even though it’s likely to impact teams in his conference fairly significantly. (And even though Delany wanted the Irish for the Big Ten.)
- And Ivan Maisel thinks the move signals the death knell of Notre Dame’s independence.
- ACC votes to bump exit fee to a whopping $50 million immediately; FSU voices displeasure after voting against the change.
A few tempting morsels set out in the buffet line for you this morning:
- We all know the hundred-dollar handshake has long been a part of doing bidness, but you don’t often hear of it spoken about publicly.
- Steve Spurrier goes for his 200th collegiate coaching win this Saturday. As he’s 45-0 against non-BCS opponents, he won’t break a sweat getting it.
- “I hope you budgeted extra money for defending (NCAA) violations.” You get one guess whom that quote is about.
- Uncle Verne offers a few thoughts about the early SEC season here.
- For some inexplicable reason, Jeff Long thinks a “Red Out” for Arkansas’ game against Alabama is a good idea. Go figure.
- Bruce Feldman’s ten most surprising stats of the early season has some good information. The UCLA numbers are eye-popping.
- Georgia-Missouri was a big hit, TV-wise.
- This is non-football related and definitely NSFW, but it’s the funniest thing I’ve come across on the intertubes in the last week.
Look at the bright side, Arkansas – at least today somebody thinks beating you is t-shirt worthy.
You might want to hope that sentiment holds up at the end of the year.
Excuse me if I find myself a little amused by Chris Low’s discovery that maybe Arkansas wasn’t the juggernaut the press held it up to be at the season’s start.
And while we’re at it, does he not absorb some of the blame for how bad the defense has been? I’ve never been one to evaluate somebody based on two or three games, but Petrino is the one who hired Haynes.
Also, what about some of the Hogs’ personnel shortcomings, particularly at linebacker and in the secondary? These last few recruiting classes were all headed up by Petrino.
As much as Petrino did in elevating the program, the one area where he was just OK was bringing in premium talent. The recruiting game is never an exact science, and recruiting rankings are often times a farce.
But it is fair to say that Petrino lost more battles than he won on the recruiting trail against people he had to beat on the field, although recruiting in Arkansas is significantly more challenging than recruiting in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.
As good as Petrino was at developing players and calling plays, the SEC will always be about stockpiling talent.
Now he tells us. How come nobody bothered to point that out before the season started?