Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shocker: Bielema leaves Wisconsin for Arkansas

Wow! Really didn't see this one coming.

It appears that the University of Arkansas is going to get a surprise football coaching hire after all.

Sources tell OSG Sports that the school has hired now former Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema to replace the departed John L. Smith.

Bielema is coming off of one his worst seasons in Madison at 8-5, though they did win the Big 10 title game and will play in the Rose Bowl after annihilating Nebraska 70-21.

Bielema, an Iowa grad, had been the head coach at Wisconsin since 2006, his 1st head coaching job and has a 68-24 record.

Our Thoughts:

Preliminary reports seem to indicate most serious SEC writers and fans are laughing at the choice. Though we suspect Arkansas will trumpet this as the greatest move in coaching history.

Bielema has been a very traditional "Big 10" style, grind it out coach. That style has shown little to no success in most Big 10 vs. SEC match ups.

And while yes, the move is a bit of a surprise, we are quite curious to see how he does in a job where the school has incredibly high, albeit mostly unrealistic expectations. The Razorbacks have been a middle to upper middle SEC team, we aren't very sure that this hire will (a) excite the fanbase or (b) make the rest of the SEC concerned the Razorbacks are going to run them down.

Here's early coverage from KTHV-TV in Little Rock


  1. Hi Phil,

    I'll be really interested to see how Bielema does at Arkansas. I think he'll be OK and a galactic improvement over John L. Smith. (not saying much, I know) I would expect him to bring Arkansas back to the middle to upper-middle portion of the SEC, with the ability to take them higher occasionally.

    While he's been labeled as a "grind-it-out" kind of coach, I don't think he's limited to that. He did have Russell Wilson last year and did very well, utilizing his abilities to pass and run. Now he can recruit to the SEC and with his known ability to get the most out of his players, I think he'll do alright.

    Don't forget either that if you look at Saban and Miles, they aren't far off from being "grind-it-out" coaches themselves. They definitely are "run-first" and typically don't have dynamic passing attacks, even if they have do sometimes have talented, big-play wide receivers. They also typically have better defenses than offenses. Sound familiar?

    Time will tell, but this won't come down to offensive "philosophy", but how Bielema is able to recruit against the other SEC teams. We've already seen some indication that his recruiting style is different from the SEC with his mild butting of heads with Urban Meyer this year, but I think he'll adjust and Arkansas will return to their former "glory" of recent years.


  2. Well said. I agree, if things turn the right way, he could have a nice run there. But it's a bit of a strange fit. Much the same way a spread coach struggles with grind it out recruits.

    The issue is more the "Win This Minute" SEC. Most coaches if they aren't challenging for a title in the first 2-years don't last any longer than that. And based on what Arky showed this year, they've got a long, long way to go.