Mailbag: Defending Bret Bielema; Considering Johnny Manziel


Jim Harris joins the sports desk to answer a few of your questions from the Sporting Life Arkansas Mailbag.

This installment features questions from readers on the Razorback basketball program, Mike Anderson, Bret Bielema, the football playoff system and who the Texans should take in the NFL draft.

We’ve included an easy form for you to submit your questions to us address in future episodes below the video. Below the form, you will find some items we’ve written previously for your reference.

Questions For The Mailbag


Are You A Human Being?

On the Razorbacks basketball scheduling Jim has written:

Monday’s Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting went so smoothly and non-confrontational for Jeff Long and all the Razorback supporters in attendance — everyone including the War Memorial Stadium commissioners were all smiles, and Long even had news about $1.6 million from two anonymous Little Rock donors toward a basketball practice facility — that I couldn’t let the Arkansas athletic director exit without his addressing last week’s one nationally negative note about the UA program, specifically the men’s basketball nonconference schedule.

Maybe you missed it; it appears Long did.

Last week, ESPN college basketball writer Jason King took an in-depth look at the Razorback men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season and put it in his list of Top Ten Worst Schedules in the country. This doesn’t mean “worst” as in a taxing, difficult schedule like the UA football team will face over the next five weeks, but “worst” as in loaded with cream puffs (our own Doc Harper also ventured in on the subject Monday morning).

Turns out, Long said he didn’t know who the writer was, and I took it to mean he hadn’t read the piece. “Lots of people have opinions. He’s based it on what those teams are from last year and this is a different year,” Long said.

OK, but can we intelligently deduce that the likes of High Point, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Savannah State and Tennessee-Martin aren’t likely to field juggernauts in any year. Texas-San Antonio and Sun Belt Conference teams Louisiana and South Alabama also are on the schedule. Each of these games is in state. So, too, are the “headliner” games with SMU and Clemson. Arkansas plays in the Maui Invitational over Thanksgiving week where it is expected to see its toughest non-conference opposition.

Here is what Jim had to say about Razorback football recruiting earlier this year:

Arkansas has let some connections in Texas fall by the wayside since Les Miles was coaching at Oklahoma State and routinely beating Houston Nutt head up for Texas players earlier in the century. This year, in fact, Oklahoma State added 17 more players from Texas to its roster. Bobby Petrino, who followed Nutt, seemed to pollute the waters everywhere he went in Texas, from running off players who were high school coaches’ sons, to just being overly disagreeable with the good folks from the Cotton Bowl. Those stories get around, and Arkansas’ image took a hit over four years.

Bret Bielema, tasked with getting Arkansas competitive again in overall talent and leaning mostly on areas with which he and his staff were more familiar, hasn’t had much time to rebuild the relationships in Texas. That needs to be his chief task in coming weeks.

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