Everything for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, as a new coach in the Southeastern Conference, is new to him this season. From opponents to personnel, from facilities to league policies, things take some getting used to.
One of the adjustments, the coach said Wednesday, is travel. Particularly before an early kickoff, like this weekend's road game at Ole Miss (12:21 p.m. ET). That's 11:21 a.m. local time.
"We are staying in Memphis, got about an hour, hour and 10-minute drive," Bielema said, according to clarionledger.com. "When you throw that in on the front end of an early-morning kickoff, it leads to a really early morning."
The Oxford, Miss., campus of Ole Miss lies south of Memphis in fairly close proximity for weekend getaways for the Rebels. But for opponents coming in from Memphis to play, that hour-long drive doesn't seem quite so short. Bielema said his team will have a 6 a.m. wake-up call Saturday, and the team bus will pull out by 7:45. But Bielema noted it's not the only SEC venue that requires a lengthy drive for the visiting team.
"This is our third one, so our kids are a little more well-versed, but that's probably the only thing that jumps out to you with the location of some of these universities and the towns around them. It's just not real convenient for the visiting team to have a hotel that's (not) within a reasonable driving distance. That's a challenge, as is the early game, but it's not something we can't overcome."
Here's an SEC hint, coach: Win more games, kick off later.
CBS and ESPN get to pick the league's marquee games for later broadcasts, CBS typically at 3:30 p.m. ET, and ESPN in primetime at night. The teams wallowing near the bottom of the SEC standings, inevitably, get more than their share of early kickoffs. Last kid picked on the playground, as it were.
Arkansas is 3-6, and 0-5 in SEC play. That will make for bacon and eggs football every time.