Razorbacks Keep Day-After-Thanksgiving Date


FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas Razorbacks will face new crossover opponent Missouri on Friday, Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. on CBS, it was announced this week.

With Tuesday’s announcement, the Razorbacks are set to play on the Friday after Thanksgiving for the 17th time in the last 19 years. Arkansas and Missouri are meeting for the first time as SEC foes and the sixth time overall. The Razorbacks and Tigers are playing in the regular season for the first time since 1963, with their last two matchups occurring in bowl games, and are playing in Missouri for the first time since a 7-6 Arkansas win in 1944.

The Razorbacks begin their 2014 season Aug. 30 at Auburn with kickoff set for 3 p.m. on SEC Network. The next week, Arkansas plays its first home game of the year by hosting Nicholls State in Fayetteville at 3 p.m. on SEC Network.

Also this week, the SCE Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., are underway. Here is a roundup of some of the early goings on at the meetings.

LSU head football coach Les Miles touted the idea of an early signing period for college football recruits, suggesting the first Monday after Thanksgiving as a good day. Alex Byington, a writer for Opelika-Auburn News reported Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema’s thoughts on an early signing period.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema described himself as a “huge proponent” of the early signing period, so long as “it’s in the summer,” which is the ACC’s proposal.

“Here’s the deal, the early signing period in my mind allows a kid, say, from Arkansas, who wanted to be a Hog his whole life,” Bielema said, “he commits his sophomore year, junior year and he can sign before his senior year and then nobody recruits him, nobody can touch him.”

The idea of having it in August would alleviate the concerns about interrupting the football seasons and causing a major shift in the recruiting calendar, which most coaches and even Slive himself admitted was a major concern.

“By moving it up any further than where it is right now it would probably cause a huge shift in our recruiting calendar,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “I think we have to be careful what we’re asking for. I know there’s some good reason for it, but I’d be concern about being able to coach our team in season and about being able to have some sanity in the offseason.”

Beliema also provided ESPN’s Brett McMurphy with an interesting comment.

To which SB Nation’s Jason Kirk wrote:

The presence of at least one SEC team per year in the new College Football Playoff (whose selection committee is chaired by Bielema’s boss, Arkansas AD Jeff Long) is taken as a given at this point. The conference’s champion has ranked among the country’s two best teams at the end of the regular season for eight years now, with at least another team or two usually elsewhere in the top 10.

And two could make it in, in certain years. But a minimum of two? As in, three or four could make it?

CBS Sports Jeremy Fowler reported this:

Rail on Bielema if you must, but the awkward handoff from Bobby Petrino to interim coach John L. Smith eroded the roster. Recruiting has ranked ninth or worst in the conference the last four years. Bielema’s ‘Never Yield’ mantra means many things, such as manufacturing a vertical passing game and bolstering recruiting.

Bielema doesn’t use the rebuilding card as a crutch, but this quote perfectly summarizes the overhaul he saw coming — “I was emphatic about a six-year contract,” he said.

That won’t stop him from envisioning his Razorbacks in three-to-five years, with a reshaped perception.

“I haven’t won a game, so it’s hard to say you know what you’re talking about,” said Bielema about lack of wins undermining his outspoken nature. “I’m tired of Wisconsin statistics. I’d like to have some Arkansas statistics to brag about.”

“There’s no other team that went through what we went through,” Bielema said. “Some teams had success, some teams had moderate success, but nobody went 0-8. For a head coach to have a motivating factor like that, and to have a team behind you like that, that’s huge.”

“I made this move for a lot of different reasons — obviously assistant coaches salaries and all that jazz, but I just wanted to reboot the battery,” Bielema said. “I’d been at one place for 9 years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, loved every minute of it, I have great memories, great friends and great players. I just needed something to shake up my personal inventory a little bit to get where I needed to be.”

If there’s anything else you want to know about Bielema, just ask. He’s not hiding. He’s exposed, losses and all.

“I am who I am every day,” Bielema said. “I don’t vary much. I don’t have an agenda…I want the people of Arkansas to be proud of what kind of program we’re running.”


Brandon Marcello of al.com takes a look at the rivalry/non-rivalry between Bret Bielema and Gus Malzhan.

“It’s probably played up a little bit more than it needed to be,” Bielema said of the rivalry. “I was kinda of shocked at how much camaraderie there is in the SEC versus what people from the outside world probably think.”

Arkansas and Auburn open the season Aug. 30 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Bielema believes the brewing rivalry between the coaches has been blown out of proportion.

“I think our guys are fired up to play Auburn,” Bielema said. “They don’t need me or Gus involved. There are so many kids who play on both teams, friends and there are a couple coaches on his staff with ties to Arkansas. I don’t think it has anything to do with who the head coach is as much as people think. It’s more of Auburn and Arkansas and should be a big game.”

Is there a rivalry between Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn?

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