Dear Mr. Bielema,
Eleven. Sixteen. These two numbers hold great significance to the story I am about to tell you Bret. The first number reflects the number of wins you have achieved as a head coach at Arkansas. The second number, which I will point out as bigger than the first, is the number of tallied losses you have suffered as a coach at Arkansas.
Your first year below the Mason-Dixon line was a "rebuilding year," I get it, you don't have to explain to me why you took a bad team and empirically made them worse, honestly Bret, please.
You had three wins in 2013, and to put that number into perspective, Alabama had 12 (three times four equals 12). The first win was against a bowl winning mid-major, Louisiana-Lafayette. Bravo Bret, surely great things were to come. The very next week your Razorbacks took home a close win against FCS middleweight, Samford; the SEC grit seeping from your pores is what finally did them in during the fourth quarter.
Your last win of 2013 came in week three and was the most disappointing in my opinion. You beat down a poor Southern Miss team, which was the third loss on their road to a 1-11 season. I know you have to save your team for conference play, but Bret, Jesus, cant you pick on someone your own size?
Ending 2013 with nine straight losses, eight in the SEC, and one to northern juggernaut, Rutgers, must have been cheerless. My question to you Bret, is why did you have to go all the way to Fayetteville, Arkansas to lose to the bottom feeders of the Big Ten? Didn't someone tell you they were joining the league? We can blame this one on communication.
2014 was monumental for you Bret, it really was. You more than doubled your win total at Arkansas, and even got your first conference win. In 2014 your conference had us all fooled from the very beginning. It was flawless manipulation, and I salute your effort in it.
Your southern cartel knew that when Kenny Hill put up deceivingly impressive numbers against South Carolina in Week 1 that we would all drool. You knew we would then later fantasize about your messiah, Johnny Football, and hope Hill would bring excitement to the SEC once more. Our all-too-human reflexes got the best of us and before we realized what we had done, every single team on your side of the SEC had a number next to its name. But you see Bret, every action has a reaction, and college football found that out last fall.
As the SEC West ate itself alive, the playoff picture became less captive to the SEC. Your SEC house of cards, a mystery no more. Other teams rose from the ashes Bret, and no, your team was not one of them, are you even listening? No, I mean teams not from the SEC Bret, teams from the golden west, and the frozen north, and they did so gracefully, without a sound or a belligerent chant.
As the playoffs approached your win total in Fayetteville stood at six, and you had qualified for a bowl. You deserved this Bret -- you had after all -- come out of the battle tested SEC West with a much-improved 2-6 record (0-8 previous).
The folks at AdvoCare recognized your achievement, and provided you with a sacrificial offering of Longhorn, your favorite. Was Texas one of the worst offensive teams in the whole country in 2014, and did they start one of the most hapless Power 5 quarterbacks in recent memory? That's right Bret, the answer to both of those questions is yes. But Longhorn tasted good -- and you had more than your share.
And I believe the next stop on this journey is this year Bret, 2015, your year. You started 2015 with a win over a Conference USA member by the name of UTEP. Pretty impressive Bret, your team didn't even get caught looking ahead to Toledo, although in retrospect, I won't go there.
Week 1 was a big week for you, and it wasn't because your team scored almost fifty points on a inferior UTEP squad, it was because your belly wasn't the only part of you acting too big; your mouth entered the equation as well.
You used your privileged position as a Division I head coach to spray projectile ignorance in all directions. You complained about Ohio State's schedule just days after their dominating win in Lane Stadium, you fished for acceptance of your broken SEC narrative, and more than anything you forgot what your role as a coach was.
You took a play right out of Congress's playbook, and you didn't even have to get elected. Instead of focusing on what you can actually contribute to, or control, you decided to focus on negativity, blame, and irrelevances. Instead of using your time on air to talk about the great things going on at Arkansas, you talked about hypotheticals such as how the Buckeyes would fair with your team's impossible schedule.
You let a bunch of 18-22 year olds that look up to you, hear and see you on national television, radio, and social media, personify the nasty side of college football. You see Bret, I know you want to win in Fayetteville, and I know you want to advocate for your guys, but what you deferred to was bush-league.
If you want to win at Arkansas, give recruits legitimate reasons to come to Fayetteville, instead of reasons not to go to Ohio State. If you want to advocate for your guys, let Paul Finebaum know how your players are incredible student athletes on and off the field, don't act like a desperate politician who is losing an election.
Ohio State's program currently is an appropriate example of this; spread positivity about your program, not negativity about others. Prove your hypotheticals between the hashes.
Toledo came in with their best player suspended, no warm up game in Week 1, and in your bloodthirsty eyes they were fresh meat. How better to get your boys ready for a tough season down south then to artificially inflate their worth in front of a big sweaty home Arkansan crowd? Well Bret, your devilish plan didn't work. It may have been karma, or it could have been just a bad day, but one thing is a certainty, you will never live this loss down.
You see Bret, everyone remembers people for something. For Urban Meyer, it's his ruthless mentality and multiple national championships. For Dennis Dixon, it's his horrible season ending injury in 2007, as Oregon rose to its current national prominence. For Brady Hoke, it's sweaty nervousness during his short tenure at Michigan. But for you Bret, it's something much worse.
You will be remembered as a whiner. A whiner, who uses his loud mouth to compensate for his professional inadequacies. Your logic may be that no press is bad press. But Bret, I can assure you that this is bad press.
All the best,