HOOVER, Ala. — Southeastern Conference Media Days needed a shot in the arm, and it got one from Missouri linebacker Eric Beisel.
The Great Bearded Magma-Spewer made regional headlines last November when he called Arkansas “Ar-Kansas” and told the Razorbacks not to show up for their Battle Line game. Wednesday, he was at it again in a local media session, then couldn’t resist piling on during his main press conference.
“I probably — I guess you would call it — poked the bear,” Beisel said. “I’d say it’s more like poking a cute little kitten.”
Beisel, a Fenton, Mo., native, also had some harsh words for the University of Kansas, which ended its Border War rivalry with Missouri when the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012.
“I don’t think it’s just Missouri; I don’t think anyone likes Kansas,” Beisel said. “It’s a shame that they’re afraid to play us, both basketball and football. It’s just personal, you know what I mean? It’s personal.”
Does he regret not being able to play the Jayhawks?
“Not really,” he said. “I don’t want to waste my time.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior delighted reporters with outlandish statements throughout his session. He claimed he has visions of games before they happen, in which he sees thousands of outcomes. Related: He believes he was a gladiator in a past life, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that he’s seen Russell Crowe’s Gladiator “maybe seven or eight” times.
“I step into the arena every Saturday,” he said. “There’s tons of crazy fans who just want to see bloodshed. And I’m happy to give it to them.”
(Another favorite: “If you want to live another day, you might have to end someone else’s life.”)
The quote-a-minute Beisel is reminiscent of another Mizzou motormouth: former Tigers offensive lineman Max Copeland, who was once barred from speaking to the media after comparing Missouri’s 2013 win at Georgia to Sherman’s March.
Beisel invites controversy, but probably won’t tap into the Civil War for material.
“I stay to hug the line,” he said. “I don’t like to cross the line. I like to keep it fun. Make it personal, but keep it fun.”
He even had some kind words for Arkansas.
“That state down south has such an amazing fanbase,” he said. “Seriously. Hats off to them. They deserve it. They have an incredible coach. Coach Bielema. Incredible staff. Incredible players. They’re a great team.”