New Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema left the comfy confines of the Big Ten for the ruthless world of the SEC following the 2012-13 college football season.
Despite being the new kid on the block, Bielema is holding nothing back when it comes to his mentality of competing in the nation’s best conference and taking on the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.
According to David Hendrix Jr. of Hootens.com, Beliema had the following to say at a recent Saline County Razorback Club fish fry:
“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.”
Obviously, any coach’s goal is to compete for national championships, especially at a major FBS program. Wanting to beat Alabama should be at the top of Bielema’s list, because if you are going to be the best, you first have to beat the best.
As far as “one team” dominating the conference, that statement is very inaccurate. Three SEC program’s outside of Alabama — Florida (2), LSU (1), and Auburn (1) — have all won at least one BCS Championship during the conference’s seven straight national titles.
The last part of Beliema’s statement on Saban’s Big Ten tenure and that “he can’t compare” to Beliema’s resume is simply absurd. Saban inherited a Michigan State squad in 1995 that hadn’t had a winning season since 1990 and was facing sanctions from the NCAA for infractions that occurred under the watch of George Perles.
Saban turned the program around, posting records of .500 or better every year and compiling a 9-2 record in his last season (’99) with the Spartans. No, Saban didn’t have three straight Rose Bowl trips like Bielema’s Badgers, but his career in East Lansing was still solid for what he had to work with.
Bielema was likely looking to just rile up his fan base, but he also had to know that those comments would be making their rounds around the SEC.
Saban is sitting on top of the proverbial college football mountain right now, and when it is all said and done, could likely be the greatest coach in NCAA history.
That is something that Bielema can’t compare in even the smallest of ways too.