Bret Bielema / Photo: Walt Beazley, ArkansasRazorbacks.com
Will we get to hear Bret Bielema sing this weekend? I’d say it’s doubtful, but it is a possibility.
The Razorbacks’ head coach will serve as a guest studio analyst for CBS Sports’ telecast of the SEC Championship Game on Saturday along with host Adam Zucker and regular analysts Rick Neuheisel and Brian Jones. The pre-game show begins at 2:30 p.m. (CST), while the game telecast is at 3 p.m.
If you’ve watched CBS’s pre-game show this season then you’ve probably caught one of Neuheisel’s country ditties about the college game. The former Colorado, Washington and UCLA head football coach actually writes and sings the tunes while playing the guitar. Sometimes Jones and Zucker chime in on chorus. Maybe, Bielema will get his chance to sing along too?
All kidding aside, Saturday’s gig is a good one for the Hogs’ head coach and his Razorback program. A football program literally can’t buy exposure like CBS will give Bielema and the Razorbacks on Saturday.
No doubt some recruits and their parents will be watching the broadcast, and just by being on the show, Bielema and the Razorbacks make a positive impression. I’m not saying his appearance alone will land the five-star linebacker or running back that the program desperately needs, but it does help increase the Razorbacks footprint.
While Bielema’s off-the-cuff comments might be irritating to some — mainly when the Hogs aren’t winning — his candor, wit and gregarious nature pays dividends for the Razorbacks program. CBS could have had any SEC coach it wanted on the telecast, other than Florida’s Jim McElwain or Alabama’s Nick Saban, but the network picked Bielema because he is not only respected but also well liked by the media. Bielema’s not afraid to be himself in front or behind the cameras.
Certainly his openness allows some to take shots at him from time to time, but that’s going to happen no matter what. His nature also opens doors that wouldn’t avail themselves to coaches with a more guarded personality.
And let’s face it, Bielema’s likely to say something much more interesting than what will happen on the field. Florida is strong enough on defense to put up a fight early, but Alabama’s defense and its running game is going to end up bludgeoning the Gators.
Prediction: Alabama 28, Florida 6