<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Probably doesn't need to be said in here how much I hate Auburn." - Bielema.</p>— Eric Bolin (@ericwbolin) <a href="https://twitter.com/ericwbolin/status/637434275629936640">August 29, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Well, thank you, Bert. Thank you for finally letting us in on what we all already knew.
ArkansasFight.com, the SB Nation Razorback folks, has a pretty good round-up of all of the events surrounding everything that's happened between Auburn and Arkansas, Gus Malzahn and Bret Bielema since both took over their respective schools prior to the 2013 season. You can go there and check it out. It's an even approach to the situation, although I would say the elevator event wasn't "mysterious" so much as "unfortunate," since I've heard many in the media talk about it being known that particular elevator has been known to be faulty. It's embarrassing, but I highly doubt it was intentional.
So, what do we think about Bielema saying he hates Auburn? Not much, really. I think we all knew about it. I can't say that I really understand why he hates Auburn so vociferously over such little quibbles, but ok, he does.
Someone pointed out last season that some of this may be blustering because he's trying to overcome the very legacy of Gus Malzahn in the state of Arkansas. Plenty of high schools run Gus' offense, and Bielema is trying to recruit home state players to run a totally different style and philosophy. Maybe he's just trying to change the culture of football in the state. That's pure speculation, though.
There are plenty of reasons for people in Arkansas to appreciate the Auburn hate. We've come into the state and taken a few coaches and players that have been highly thought of. Not all of them panned out, but we still got them. That makes Auburn a natural target for Bielema to point to a team for the fans to get riled up about. Perhaps this is just an attempt to give Arkansas fans someone to latch on to as a new rival since they don't have too many traditional rivals in the SEC (though the addition of Texas A&M helps reunite them with an old SWC foe).
As for me, I don't hate Arkansas. I don't really consider them a rival, either. They're just a conference foe. I have plenty of friends who are from the state of Arkansas, and I have a deep connection with those friends over the loss of some comrades overseas. I don't even really hate Bret Bielema. He's fun to pick on, but he also does a lot of funny things that I appreciate. I'd put him somewhere above Dan Mullen, but below Les Miles in my "love and hate" of SEC coaches. Dan Mullen is more the "I just really don't like you" and Les Miles being the "you're a rival coach, but I appreciate your charm and appeal for the conference."
Will Bielema's quote to that Kickoff Dinner spark a growth in the Auburn vs Arkansas series? Honestly, I doubt it. Sure, it may provide more of a media narrative to the situation, but I don't think it's going to do much else. And if Bielema doesn't get Arkansas completely turned around (which, in all fairness, I believe he is doing and will do), then this type of comment may get him pushed out the door quicker.
We're one week out from this type of thing being down-played by actual football. This is the type of thing that people realy only care about during the offseason. Game week begins Monday. It could even be said to begin tomorrow, but I'm going to go with Monday. Football is sooooo close.