Bret Bielema to Arkansas came out of nowhere. It was stunning. But if you think about it, it makes sense.
Football coaches get into the job race for a few reasons. One, hit the lottery. Two, they’re in a mid-level job in their league and want to go where they can win a championship. Three, they feel like they’ve done all they can where they are and fans will soon demand more or become tired of them (see Kirk Ferentz).
With Bielema, I’m betting on No. 1 and 3. Three straight Rose Bowls is a tough act to follow for any coach, especially the coach who went to the Rose Bowls.
Sure, the former Hawkeye player, K-State coordinator and Barry Alvarez’s hand-picked successor looks like such a good fit in cheese country. But when it comes to money and longevity, coaches are versatile. Bielema’s smashmouth style will play well in the SEC, where Alabama plays it and everyone else chases Bama.
The oldest Hogs in Fayetteville will recall when the Razorbacks used to run hard and tackle hard back in the Southwest Conference.
Bielema’s little comment last year about the Big Ten not wanting to be like the SEC will be brought up. So will his taking offense to Urban Meyer’s SEC-like recruiting tactics. Chances are, Bielema was just trying to show the rest of the league he would stand up to the new star. In any case, he’ll take the ribbing from Paul Finebaum, get the SEC handbook and the secret handshake and fit right in.
What does this mean for Nebraska? Not much, since the Huskers and Badgers won’t play every year. It’s a bigger deal in C-Bus, and I’m not sure Paul Chryst is a name that will have them shaking in their cleats. We’ll see who Barry Alvarez hires. Hey, how about Barry Alvarez? If Bill Snyder can …
My question is, was Bielema a possibility before last Saturday night’s 70-31 win over you-know-who (and if he knew he was going when he coached that game, wow)? And was the guy on the other sidelines a candidate until that game?