Bret Bielema was not particularly well-liked by Arkansas fans to start the season. And that was before his team started getting blown out in SEC games.
The Razorbacks, for the third SEC game in a row, have gotten whipped by an SEC oppoent after losing 52-20 to Auburn on Saturday. With the loss, the Razorbacks fall to 0-4 in SEC play and 2-5 overall.
Arkansas also is overhauling a defense that struggled last year. After defensive coordinator Robb Smith left in the offseason, Bielema promoted secondary coach Paul Rhoads. Rhoads has experience calling a defense and was Iowa State’s coach from 2009-15. If Rhoads can turn around the defense, Arkansas has a chance to bounce back from the poor start.
Bielema’s teams have had a tendency to finish seasons strong, and that traditionally comes after a poor start. The Arkansas coach will certainly need one a strong finish this year, especially after reports indicated that his buyout was much lower than orginally thought.
The Razorbacks put together another top-30 recruiting class in 2017, landing four 4-star recruits. The Razorbacks have 12 commitments in their 2018 class, but only Missouri and Ole Miss have worse classes per the 247Sports composite rankings.
Bielema needs a strong season, considering his anemic 33.8-percent approval rating in SEC Country’s approval poll in August. That left him 11th among SEC coaches.
Bielema earned $4.1 million in 2016. In his four years at Arkansas, Bielema has a 27-31 overall record but is 10-26 in the SEC. The Razorbacks visit Ole Miss on Saturday.
Vote on Bret Bielema’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents who select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.