Say what you want about Bret Bielema, but the man knows how to stir up controversy right off the bat. The first-year Arkansas coach managed to raise some eyebrows this week before even coaching a single game in the SEC.
Bielema was speaking to the Saline County Razorback Club, a group of Arkansas boosters, when he managed to say some pretty ridiculous things. Including calling out Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
The 43-year-old former Wisconsin coach started out mildly enough, saying the following:
“I came to the SEC for a variety of reasons, but the major one in my mind was to win an SEC championship.”
OK, that’s pretty standard fare for one of these booster events. But then he turned his gaze towards Tuscaloosa and started to throw some bombs:
“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.”
Alright, not so bad, could be worse. He probably should have stopped there, but I think he kind of got on a roll and no one stopped him because, well, he kept going:
“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 (at Wisconsin), and he can’t compare.”
Ouch Bret. Seriously, ouch buddy.
Frankly, Saban wasn’t a world-beater at Michigan State, but to act like he’s the same guy now that he was then is ridiculous. On top of that, Saban built his own program in East Lansing, while Bielema was gifted his in Madison by Barry Alvarez.
This ought to be fun. I can’t wait for Saban’s subdued, yet pointed response. Then I can’t wait for Alabama to beat the tar out of Arkansas on the field next season and see Bielema’s response to finally “arriving” in the SEC.