Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema is pumped that the Southeastern Conference put a record 10 teams in the most recent Associated Press Top 25.
“It’s just wonderful,” he said Wednesday on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “I love it. I say that with a smile out of both sides. It’s a major statement to not only obviously everybody here, but to the nation.”
Of course, Bielema, a former Kansas State co-defensive coordinator who was Wisconsin’s coach from 2006-12, also took the moment to jab at the Big Ten.
“I spent a lot of time in that other conference,” he said. “Ohio State’s ranked No. 1, and they have one game remaining on their schedule that has anybody ranked right now, Michigan State. And I looked at, and we’re going to play eight straight opponents that are ranked.
Never miss a local story.
“It just goes show that (Arkansas athletic director and College Football Playoff chairman) Jeff Long and his committee has a huge task in front of them. … It’s truly unprecedented what every team in this league can bring. If anybody tries to argue with that, they’re completely nonsense. It’s a whole other level when it comes to competitive nature and balance.”
LSU remains a mystery
LSU didn’t play last week. Its opener against McNeese State was canceled because of lightning, which presents a quandary for Mississippi State.
“There’s advantages for them, because we don’t get to see what they’re doing this year,” Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said.
The 14th-ranked Tigers has a new defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele, and new personnel on offense and defense, but the 25th-ranked Bulldogs didn’t get a chance to see how the Tigers will deploy this season.
Of course, LSU’s players didn’t have a chance to eradicate first-game jitters yet.
“Our players that are playing for the first time, got an opportunity to go, play on the road and get a game under their belt …” Mullen said. “So there’s advantages and disadvantages on both sides this year.”
Tunsil watch continues in Oxford
Mississippi and All-SEC offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil remains in limbo.
Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said Tunsil is practicing, but that he’s had no contact with the NCAA regarding allegations of receiving impermissible benefits from agents.
Tunsil, who was suspended for the season-opening win against Tennessee-Martin, will be withheld from play until the investigation concludes. That includes Saturday against Fresno State and possibly Sept. 19 at Alabama.
“I just trust in the people that are involved in it and sure hope that they get it right for the young man and for our program,” Freeze said.