Bret Bielema Is the new Lane Kiffin

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Bret Bielema at Arkansas is like Lane Kiffin at Tennessee, except without the wins.

Bielema’s a disaster, the latest Lane Kiffin to join the SEC. You remember Kiffin’s short-lived tenure at Tennessee, right? How he blew into town from a different geographic region convinced that he was going to dominate the SEC. With his hot blonde wife in tow, Kiffin embarked on a series of ill-fated public comments, brought the NCAA to Knoxville for an investigation that somehow ended up costing Bruce Pearl his job, stumbled through to a 7-6 first season record, and then blew out of town for the job at USC just a couple of weeks before signing day.

Along the way it became clear that Kiffin had no idea about Tennessee or its job, basing most of his decision to accept the job on recruiting questionnaires he had sent out that revealed Tennessee to be one of the best known programs in the country. Upon his arrival in Knoxville Kiffin found out that — sakes alive — Vol fans actually wanted to meet the head coach when he went out to dinner and that it was cold in the winter, two things that he’d had no idea about prior to accepting the job. He was like a tourist from California who showed up at the Smoky Mountains and couldn’t leave. Boy, they really like country music here, huh?

The best story that sums up Lane Kiffin’s tenure at Tennessee? He got lost on a gameday jog in Knoxville.

Now let’s compare Kiffin with Bret Bielema, who blew into Fayetteville with a hot blonde wife and immediately compared his Big Ten coaching record, in a favorable manner, to Nick Saban’s. Then he proceeded to go 0-8 in the SEC, putting him just two losses away from Nick Saban’s total SEC losses in seven years. After running off three straight wins his wife Tweeted #karma and Bielema’s Razorback team has not won since. While every other first year SEC coach racked up sterling recruiting classes, Bielema signed the SEC’s 11th best class. Then, not content with a winless fall and an awful recruiting class in the nation’s most competitive conference, Bielema embarked on a tour de force performance in stupidity by arguing that he opposed hurry up no huddle offenses because of “death certificates,” and “sickle cell disease.”

What stood out about Kiffin’s tenure at Tennessee was the ill fit, the sense that he didn’t know what he’d gotten himself into, Kiffin seemed like a cultural anthropologist, looking around him and jotting down notes, “People like football here. Orange is the color of choice, Peyton Manning is important.” Bret Bielema is doing the same. How else to explain this written comment which analyzes the culture of Arkansas. “We are in the “Bible Belt.” All the emphasis on doing things right in a Christian way is there. Knowing that, I just signed a Moslem quarterback from New Jersey.” 

This reads like satire. I couldn’t even make up three more perfect fake Bret Bielema sentences. Yes, nothing says fitting into the Southern Bible belt like a “Moslem” quarterback from New Jersey. 


Seriously, how old is Bielema. Is the Moslem a pale face or a negro?

I actually feel sorry for Arkansas fans. The rational ones, yes, there are some, realize that they’re driving their pick-up trucks full speed towards a brick wall. (Probably while Bielema sits in the back of the pick-up truck “as locals like to do when the weather is nice.”) They’ve gone from believing that Bobby Petrino would win them a national championship, which he might well have done, to John L. Smith, to a guy from Wisconsin who walks around like Rust Cohle in “True Detective,” writing down cultural observations in his oversized notebook so he fits in better. “Ah, the locals like guns, let me buy one.” Only Bielema will buy a silencer on the Internet and get arrested for illegal firearms possession. “Ah, the locals like hunting dogs.” Only Bielema buys a Yorkie poo.

Everything is lost in translation.

That happens when you’re an awful fit.  

People involved in football are incentivized to make the game seem complicated, but really, it isn’t. The team with the best players and the best coaches will win 95% of the time. Arkansas, the fifth best job in the SEC West, will never have better players than Alabama, Auburn, LSU, or Texas A&M while Bielema is in charge of recruiting. So that means that in order to win Arkansas will have to outcoach and outscheme its opposition. What’s Bielema’s scheme? Pretty much the same pro football sets that Alabama and LSU already run with better players. Gulp. Without the spread offensive ingenuity of Auburn, Texas A&M, or Ole Miss. Double gulp.   

What in the hell was Arkansas thinking?

The Razorbacks are never going to have better players or better coaches than their opponents. 

Meaning, you guessed it, Arkansas isn’t going to win with Bielema. 

If only there was a short youtube video that perfectly summed up the disaster of Bielema to Arkansas. 

Oh, wait, there is. 


More evidence of an ill fit, have you ever seen a coach wear headphones on the walk into the stadium? What, Bielema can’t be bothered with actually hearing the crowd cheer for him?

I’m sorry, Arkansas fans, I really am. 

You’ve hired the SEC’s next Lane Kiffin. Only without the recruiting ability or the wins.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.  

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.