Tusk to Tail: Bret Bielema is a walking football party

Hiring a new football coach is always interesting. Did Arkansas find the next Nick Saban, or did we get Houston Nutt’s playbook combined with Bobby Petrino’s ego and libido? Read below to find what some of the Tusk to Tail team thinks about the decision by University of Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long to hire Bret Bielema as the next head coach of the football Razorbacks. Bielema left the University of Wisconsin head coach job for the chance to coach in the SEC.

Sean Casey
I am still somewhat surprised at the Bielema hire, and question whether he can successfully recruit to Arkansas. I confess, I was underwhelmed when Bielema was announced.

Time will tell whether this is a good hire but here are my expectations. I expect Bielema will take average talent (compared to Bama, LSU, etc.) and coach them up. Our O-line and running back play will improve. Our team will become much more physical. I expect Arkansas will have a winning season at 7-5 next year and go to a lower tier bowl. I want an SEC championship in five years and parlay that into a title.

Dale Cullins
I like the hire. It was out of left field, but a solid hire. The guy is a winner, and if he is willing to jump into the Snake Pit that is the SEC West and compete for not much more money than he was making at Wisky, then he likes a challenge.

There is talent on the team Coach Bret Bielema (CBB) inherit. It might take a season to beef up the O-Line to his standard but I think that by 2014, the Hogs should be back to winning. I think CBB will get us to the SEC Championship Game and to a BCS Playoff game. It may be a slim chance in 2014 due to schedule and the talent, but 2016 might be more realistic. I think 6-6 would be a good season next year but I could see 7-5 if he's lucky.

Greg Houser
I am a fan! I am also a fan that Jeff Long was able to get that hire without anyone in the media adding Coach Bielema to the coaching carousel. Well played Jeff!

I think he is exactly what we need. I could see Bielema doing well his first year. I think he is still hungry and I am very interested in how he does in the SEC.

Bielema will get us to a BCS bowl in 3-5 years. BCS bowls seem easier than an SEC championship. SEC could take 6 years. Hope I'm wrong on that.

I like the 6-8 win range next year. I'll file in line with Mark on this one and say 7-5.

Craig May (the Godfather of Tusk to Tail)
I love the hire. I think he is going to bring a brand of physical football the fans are going to embrace. At 42, his best coaching years are ahead of him and he'll be up to the challenge that comes with being in the SEC West.

I'm looking forward to watching him bring the team through the A at the first game in 2013.

David Rice
I wrote in the very first Tusk to Tail article that we love football, and we love a party. Well Bielema is a walking, breathing football party. Forget the three consecutive Rose Bowls. This guy met his smokin’ hot 27-year-old wife at a blackjack table in Vegas.

With his three straight conference championships, you could make a case that he is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. I find it humorous that people question whether his style of ball will win in the SEC. If you can run the ball and stop the other team, you will win a lot more games than you lose at any level.

This may be irrational for yet another rebuilding year, but I will be disappointed with anything less than seven wins next season. However, I am skeptical that Bielema leads us to a conference championship or BCS bowl game during his Arkansas tenure. Ten or 11 wins may be our ceiling.

Mark Wagner
I wasn't happy about the hire at first. It wasn't the "name" hire I wanted, but after thinking about it for a day and reading and hearing things, I have to say that my hat is off to Jeff Long. I think he got the program an excellent coach who will take us back to the SEC elite, and hopefully a National Championship (NC).

I know that we lose a QB and our best receiver and running back, but there is talent left on the team. With this past season and the lack of coaching, I don't think the talent we have on the team was evident. The cupboard isn't bare for the new coach. A lot will depend on who he brings in for his staff. I predict we will have a 7-5 record next year, an SEC Championship in 3 or 4 years, with an NC that same year.

Overall a good hire, and I'm excited for the Razorback program. It will be a fun offseason to see how he builds his staff, who he recruits, and the spring practices take on a whole new meaning.

Football all year round! A Tusk to Tail dream come true.