How many SEC coaches put their teams in the position to compete in 3 straight BCS Bowls? How many SEC coaches have lead teams to a share of 3 straight conference championships?
Let's examine what he has accomplished at Arkansas.
We all know that Petrino didn't emphasize defense and wasn't a stellar recruiter; furthermore, his infamous scandal lead to Arkansas' 2012 season.
Ask yourselves, did 2012 Arkansas have it better or harder than 2013 Arkansas?
The answer is that 2013 Arkansas had it harder.
The damage from the 2012 season is unquantifiable.
Arkansas is neither a traditional power nor a program located in a recruiting hotbed.
To make matters worse, Petrino's negligence on the defensive side of the ball and John L Smith's team's failure to make much, if any, progress there truly hurt the Razorbacks this season. A defense lacking in SEC talent had to face several highly experienced and talented offenses this season. Notwithstanding, Arkansas' SEC schedule was also tougher since they didn't get cupcakes like 2012 Kentucky and 2012 Auburn.
Bret Bieliema's Arkansas continued the recent trend of LSU's historically and talent-wise inferior rivals giving LSU fits.
On the one hand, there were some on-the-field results where no progress was visible, and perhaps Arkansas regressed from the 2012 season, e.g. 52-0. On the other hand, there are games like the Mississippi State game where Arkansas demonstrated a significant improvement from last season's results.
Let us also recall that Bret Bielema didn't have a good quarterback like Tyler Wilson or the receiving corps that Petrino employed in his high octane passing attack.
Arkansas in on a 12-game SEC losing streak, but we know that won't go on forever. Arkansas is due for an upset of an SEC East or West power, and it may come next season.
Don't write off Bret Bielema, next year's team, and tFlagship!
This post was edited on 1/22 at 10:32 am