SEC Football Head Coach Evaluation: Arkansas Razorbacks’ Bret Bielema

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Nov 22, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema reacts to a play during a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

While Bielema has brought a sense of calm to the Razorbacks, both on and off the field, one thing is missing from his Arkansas résumé.  One thing is preventing him from being mentioned with the top coaches of the SEC.  One thing he must add to his résumé soon, or face the unemployment line:  wins.  Without winning, all of Bielema’s contributions to the program will be forgotten and fans will do their best to quickly forget the Bielema era.  Such is life in the SEC.

3-9  and 7-6.   Those are the records of Arkansas under Bielema in 2013 and 2014.  The most significant different is not actually the 4 additional wins, but rather the two wins (LSU and Ole Miss) Bielema was able to get in the SEC.

While finally breaking through and winning an SEC game was important, starting with a 2-14 conference record means he will own a losing career record in SEC conference games for at least a few more seasons.  Even though the Razorbacks and Bielema broke through and won a conference game, there are still issues to be sorted out.

Arkansas is 0-4 against the SEC East; they have also yet to win an SEC game on the road.  These two facts will be brought against Bielema as long as they hold true.  The sooner he is able to fix them, the better for he and his program.

The Razorbacks’ conference road games this year are, in order:  Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss,  and LSU.  Winning any of those four will be an impressive win(s) for Bielema.  As Arkansas has clearly had more success playing at home, their best chance to end the SEC East losing streak will come November 27th against Missouri.

The good news is Arkansas has continued to improve.  The bad news is that it still might not be enough to make them relevant in a stacked SEC West.  Has Bielema done enough to maintain his stature as a 4 million dollar coach?  Or did his run to end 2014 just bring more dollars his way for a short time?

Next: The Verdict