The public reaction of Jeff Long and Bret Bielema to Michigan’s dumping a home-and-home with the Razorbacks in favor of Notre Dame has been polite.
To read the quotes of them, it’s the politically-correct way of saying “it happens.”
Privately, though, you know they are both pissed off. It may not be an understatement to say Long more than Bielema.
With fans clamoring for a better slate of non-conference games (as if the weekly minefield in the SEC West isn’t daunting enough), Long was on a roll. He has a home-and-home with TCU starting this year.
And with Jim Harbaugh having the Wolverines back in the public eye with his nonstop antics, it was going to be a marquee step up the ladder going to Ann Arbor in a couple of years. At this point never mind what each program is doing. You simply never know with these things.
Long received an e-mail Wednesday night about the cancellation. It is assumed the check will follow soon. Well, maybe since everything is done electronically these days it’ll probably be done via some computer keystrokes.
The guess here is Long is steaming.
“Primarily, we are disappointed in Michigan’s timing in pulling out of a non-conference football series between the SEC and the Big Ten that has been set for four years,” Long said in a statement, per Matt Jones of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “While there are many other quality opponents that would help us strengthen our nonconference schedule, the late notice of Michigan’s cancellation makes securing those games substantially more difficult.
“Our focus will be to find a program that welcomes the opportunity to compete against a nationally respected program in the most competitive conference in college football.”
In a take-off on my usual deciphering of coach-speak, here’s the summation of what all of that politically-correct commentary really disguises:
“Those freakin’ a-holes! I’ll schedule a game with Arkansas State before I’ll schedule them again in anything!”
Okay, I added that last one just for fun. I would seriously doubt he’s THAT pissed-off about the whole deal.
But it does create a future hole in the schedule. That will create a headache for Long. Getting a marquee opponent along the lines of Michigan won’t be possible in this short time frame, considering how far in advance schedules are done these days.
And remember, it could have been worse.
Instead of dumping the Hogs for the Irish, it could have been for somebody like Texas.