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Bret Bielema's long history of clashes, or why Kliff Kingsbury is so popular right now

The Arkansas coach has been barking since his Wisconsin days, but now he's gotten embarrassed two weeks in a row.

In the friendlier days of 2014.
In the friendlier days of 2014.
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury spat perhaps the hottest fire of this young college football season when he went in on Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.

After Bielema is said to have called out spread offenses in front of Texas coaches earlier in the year, Kingsbury got his revenge by beating the Razorbacks with a spread offense on Saturday, and he didn't hold back.

At the Texas high school coaches convention this summer, [Bielema] stood up and said, 'If you don't play with a fullback, we'll kick your ass. If you throw it 70 times a game, we'll kick your ass.'

And he just got his ass kicked twice in a row, and probably next week by A&M as well. So, that did feel good.

This is the first time this feud has reached the public eye, but it has apparently been discussed already in high school football circles. Those coaches appear to be Team Kingsbury.

"Several HS coaches have reached out to me this AM in support of Kliff saying what he did last night," tweeted coaching website FootballScoop. "Apparently what Bret said this summer has been widely discussed among TX HS coaches. Wasn't well-received."

But Kingsbury isn't just a hero in Texas right now. He's getting a lot of love in Ohio, Wisconsin, California and all over the Internet. As Kingsbury said, Bielema "speaks his mind."

Here's a history of Bielema controversies.

"That's what the card says"

In 2010, Bielema went for two with six minutes left and Wisconsin up, 41-16, on Minnesota. Gophers coach Tim Brewster took exception to what he thought was Bielema running up the score, and the postgame handshake was less than cordial. Bielema's response? Just going by what the two-point conversion math dictates.

The Bielema-Meyer feud

Bielema criticized Ohio State coach Urban Meyer when Meyer first got to the Big Ten for aggressive recruiting tactics. Specifically, Bielema said Meyer was not honoring a Big Ten "gentleman's agreement" of not recruiting committed players. Bielema said those tactics were illegal, but Meyer called the criticism "nonsense."

Unsurprisingly, Meyer and Bielema don't appear to be good friends, and they let everyone know after Bielema left for Arkansas.


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This was the big one. After Wisconsin lost in bizarre fashion to Arizona State in 2013, Bielema's wife, Jen, just tweeted "#karma." Why? She never really elaborated. Something to do with how she and her husband were treated by the school and its fans, it seems.

That didn't go super well. Arkansas went 0-8 in the SEC that year. The Razorbacks also lost to Rutgers, so Jen Vrabel, the wife of then-Ohio State assistant Mike Vrabel, had her own #karma tweet.

The rest of Ohio State fandom got on board, and both Bielemas have now blocked noted Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors, among others.

Bielema mocks Brewster

Remember the Bielema-Brewster beef? Well Brewster is now an assistant at Florida State. He made a joke about SEC schedules, and Bielema couldn't resist. (This happened before Florida State was a national champion, FWIW.)

"Death certificates"

Many of these are funny, but this one's not.

Bielema's Arkansas team plays a slow, bruising style of football. He and Nick Saban favored rules that would slow opponents down, and he fought with opposing coaches over the hurry-up.

Bielema said tempo offenses are more dangerous, and when asked for proof, he cited "death certificates." That was in the immediate aftermath of Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu passing away during a spring run. Bielema later apologized.

Trolling Texas

Arkansas hammered Texas in the Texas Bowl last season. He and his quarterback made "Horns Down" hand signs, and he poked fun at the "values" Charlie Strong lists for Longhorns players:

Months later, he called the win "borderline erotic."

Ohio State schedule talk

Bielema was back to taking shots at Meyer this season, mocking Ohio State's strength of schedule.

But then Arkansas went and lost to unranked Toledo. So Bielema took inspiration from Ohio State, implying Arkansas could still make the College Football Playoff, since the Buckeyes did after an early-season loss last season. But then Arkansas went and lost to unranked Texas Tech.

Fellow noted outspoken football coach Rex Ryan took some notes from Bielema: "I'm not gonna pull an Arkansas coach," he said.