So Urban Meyer, Michigan and Michigan State are scary, but Saban, LSU, and Auburn are...? And that's just the sec west
The SEC is a huge turn up in competition, but he is inheriting a situation with massive potential. Bobby Petrino showed in his time here that Arkansas could easily be in the conversation as an elite team. Beat LSU twice in his four years, though he wasn't able to cross Alabama. Getting Arkansas to #3 in 2011 is crazy, and that was just year 4.
Arkansas puts Beliema in a situation where he has the resources to compete. First off, he keeps mentioning assistant salaries. He was capped at $300,000 at Wisconsin (that's very low) and had huge turnover as coaches kept moving on to higher paying positions. At Arkansas we already pay $500,000 to coordinators and $200-275,000 to position coaches, and I expect that number to be bumped up. The $40 million athletic facilities (which will be finished likely by kickoff next season) will from day one be one of the best facilities in the SEC and obviously in the nation. Heck, it may be the best. The recruiting territory is better at Arkansas than in Wisconsin. Petrino, whose weakness was recruiting, continued the Arkansas tradition of keeping instate guys, hitting the DFW metro area, east Oklahoma, and getting a few kids out of other SEC states. Bret Bielema has hit Florida hard and now will be in a better position to continue that trend.
In the end, it's the SEC. It is more cut throat than anyone else and Bielema even talked down about it last offseason, but if you're a best you want to be a part of it. Bret Bielema, who approaches Arkansas in September, wanted to be part of the best. The SEC West each year is a going to be a bar fight with the survivor going to the SEC Championship and the winner of that gets an invite to the SEC Invitational. Soon enough with the playoff system the SEC will be prepared to put multiple teams in every year.
The best want to play the best. Bret Bielema said it himself, he was ready to be in the "big league". Arkansas will give him every possible tool to win a national championship, and now its his challenge to build a program that can take on those cold blooded killers in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge while fighting off the guys in Auburn, Oxford, Starkville, College Station, and in the SEC East.