When rumors began to surface that Nebraska was targeting Arkansas coach Bret Bielema as its new coach Wednesday, it didn't take long for Bielema to use social media as a vehicle to stem the grapevine:
But while the rumor is now most assuredly dead, as Nebraska has hired Oregon State's Mike Riley, that doesn't mean the Bielema-Nebraska chatter never had legs. This from NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt:
Whoa, Pig Sooey. That casts an interesting light in more than one direction. First, it means Nebraska has been prepared to move with lightning speed to replace fired coach Bo Pelini. To offer the job to Bielema on a Wednesday and seal a deal with another coach just a day later speaks to how quickly a coaching search -- no matter how much athletic directors lead us to believe they are painstaking and arduous -- can open and close. Clearly enough, the Cornhuskers simply moved to the next man on their list, got the answer they were looking for, and ordered the new nameplate before Oregon State fans knew what hit them.
It's also evident enough that Bielema is supremely confident that the late-season improvement Arkansas showed is only the beginning of the Razorbacks' forward momentum. Staring up from the bottom of college football's toughest division is no fun, and Arkansas has done it for two years in a row under Bielema. The prospect of taking over a Nebraska program that could compete more readily in the Big Ten would naturally appeal to any coach in Bielema's position. But he'd apparently rather enjoy the ride from the bottom of the SEC West to whatever heights he can reach in a division that includes Alabama, Auburn and LSU.