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Sports Talk Podcast: August 17, 2017

Year-in, year-out, Arkansas should be an 8-win team. Agree or disagree? Plus Brittany Wagner from “Last Chance U” on why she thinks universities aren’t doing a good job of preparing athletes for life after football.

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Bret Bielema Recaps NSD 2017 & Has Passionate Message for Arkansas Fans

Arkansas head coach taking positive outlook into 2017

By Bart Pohlman

If Arkansas football is in a bad place, then it’s news to head coach Bret Bielema.

“We’re nowhere close to where we can be, but we’re a hell of a long ways from where we were,” Bielema said on Sports Talk on Wednesday. “It’s a great job. It’s a great atmosphere. Our kids love it, they’re hungry, and I think they’re excited about where we can go.”

It’s clear the Head Hog has no room for the haters.

“I think the negative nellys out there that want to be that way, the 10 percent of them that exist, they’re never going to change,” Bielema said. “They live in a rainy day every day. I want to give them a little sunshine every once in a while, but if they don’t want to get out of it, they can stay in it.”

After wrapping up his fifth National Signing Day as coach of the Razorbacks with a class that ranks 28th nationally per 247Sports.com, Bielema said his message to recruits was one that shows just how far the program has come over the past four seasons.

“You know my first 20 games here as a head coach, we finished tied for 14th—last place in the SEC in the first 20 games, tied with Kentucky,” Bielema said. “…We currently, in the last 20 games, finished up tied for fourth. Alabama is No.1, undefeated through those last 20. No. 2 is Tennessee. I believe No. 3 was LSU and then we were tied for fourth. If we had won the last two, we’d be tied for second. If we had won one of the last two, we’d be tied for third. We lost them both, so we’re tied for fourth.”

“So during my time here, if someone can’t comprehend going from 14th in the SEC to fourth—we’ve played the second-highest number of ranked teams in the conference other than Alabama—if someone can’t do that simple math, I’ve got a math class I’ll show him.”

To the math: In Bielema’s first 20 games at Arkansas, the Razorbacks were 7-13. But in the past 20 games, the record is flipped, and the Hogs have a 13-7 record over that stretch.

“Everybody wants a now, wants an automatic correction, wants to be playing in the SEC Championship Game, and we’re going to get there,” Bielema said.

“It’s a work in progress, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Listen to the full interview with Bielema below: