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You Serious, Bert?

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The latest on Bret Bielema and his beef with Auburn.

Mike Zarrilli

It's Labor Day today, so we're taking it a bit relaxed around these parts. We had my quick recap of the game on Saturday night, Blake with his TAKES today, and Josh is providing his "Are We Going Back?" Column here in a bit.

However, a few minutes ago I got home from a nice lunch with the girlfriend and checked Twitter to find the latest fiasco with BERT and his hatred of all things Auburn and Gus Malzahn. If you haven't already seen it, here is the Tweet that started it all:

Ok, so maybe we're all reading this wrong, but this sure sounds like BERT is accusing Auburn of cheating, doesn't it? I don't think that's the case, but now let's go back just a few weeks ago to Arkansas' last scrimage when he addressed video-taping of the scrimmage and "especially if they're wearing an Auburn shirt, knock the shit out of them." This is all starting to sound like BERT legitimately thinks Auburn is out to get him some how and was cheating. Combine that with the unfortunate event with the elevator (which, seriously, Jay Jacobs, Jordan-Hare needs some upgrades, that's just embarrassing), and it all makes for one big fuss.

This is definitely not the first time. Last year he famously accused Auburn of sending him incomplete game film. Then there's the whole thing with the slowing down of the Hurry-Up, No Huddle offenses.

I harbor no ill-will towards Arkansas in particular and especially not to Arkansas people. As I've stated before, I have a lot of friends who are Arkansas fans from my first deployment overseas (many of whom were on my second deployment through sheer coincidence, as well). I've got a soft-spot for Arkansas. But BERT... I hate BERT. This is really getting out of hand. I can't recall another team that he's targeted with his vitriol to the level that he appears to target Auburn.

We, of course, have to ask why that is. Maybe it's because a ton of high schools in Arkansas run Gus' offense, where Gus is a legend, and BERT is having to recruit for REAL AMERICAN FOOTBALL in a state where more people follow Gus' view of football. Maybe it's because he's trying to come up with an excuse - any excuse - as to why his brand of football has been mud-stomped by Gus' brand. You can point to the low-scoring game last year all you want, but realize Auburn ran all of about nine plays and didn't really try all that hard on offense in that game.

I think Arkansas will be ok if they stick with Bielema and let him do things the way he wants. His offense gave us fits in the first half as they took advantage of what Auburn was doing defensively and did some things Auburn wasn't prepared for. The difference in the second half wasn't because Auburn was spying on Arkansas somehow or "knew a bit more" about you, though, BERT. Had that been the case, the first half would have gone much differently, as well. Let's face it, you couldn't really stop Auburn on offense, and eventually Ellis Johnson figured you out on our defensive side of the ball. Auburn - the defending SEC Champions - did NOT need to cheat to beat a team that was winless in the SEC last year.

Maybe you're right, though, BERT. Maybe Auburn did know a bit more about you. Not because of any nefarious doings, but because they were better coached and better prepared overall.

This may all turn out to be much ado about nothing. Maybe BERT meant it purely in relation to the elevator incident and was trying to say Auburn knew more because their coaches were able to fully game plan at half-time. If so, he's doing himself no favors (and the Arkansas beat writers aren't helping with the way they selectively quote him) in the way he words these things.

All I know for sure is 45 is more than 21, and I'm very happy with the way my Tigers played on Saturday. Now outside of our normal game review stuff that will be showing up soon (though a bit off schedule given the holiday), I'm going to move on to San Jose State. I'm really glad we're able to put Arkansas and their bloviating head coach out of the way early, this season.

UPDATE:

Apparently the reporter with the previous quote followed up with this:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Even though Arkansas lost, Bielema believes &quot;other sideline&quot; has a better understanding of what Arkansas plans to be after the game.</p>&mdash; Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) <a href="https://twitter.com/NWARobbie/statuses/506509274894180352">September 1, 2014</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Soooo... it looks like the issue was the beat writer's usage, maybe, but the context is still very strange. I still have no idea what Bert was trying to say there. Is is that Auburn has more respect for Arkansas and what they're aiming for? Is it saying Auburn's coaches were smart enough to figure out what Arkansas was trying to do and trying to be and were just great at stopping it? I really have no idea. This whole thing is a bit blown out of proportion, but someone should really give Bielema some lessons on how better to get his message across.