Media picks Arkansas to finish last in the SEC West

New Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema speaks during an introductory press conference in December.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

First-year Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema should not be surprised that the Razorbacks were picked to finish dead last in the SEC’s western division during a media poll at SEC Media Days.

After all, he asked for it.

“The lower the better,” he said on Wednesday when asked where he thought the Razorbacks would be projected to finish this season.

Bielema said his teams excel in situations where people think very little of them. He noted his first season as head coach at Wisconsin when he took over for Barry Alvarez in 2006. Bielema was picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten, but went 12-1, with a single loss to No. 6 Michigan.

“I’m not saying we’re going to go out and go 12-1,” said Bielema. “But I do know this: We have a team that’s very hungry, a group of coaches that are very gifted, a staff that is very talented and a lot of years to back that up.”

Determined to get his wish, Bielema took a shot at voters in the media poll.

“The same group that’s going to vote us a certain place tomorrow is the same group that a year ago today had us in the top five,” he said.

And then he sealed the deal, almost guaranteeing himself a seat at the bottom of the list, but not without projecting an air of confidence that only deepened the intrigue of the upcoming season.

“For those of you that want to, vote us lower,” he said. “Then just sit back and watch.”

2013 SEC media predictions

SEC Champion

SEC East
1. Georgia
2. South Carolina
3. Florida
4. Vanderbilt
5. Tennessee
6. Missouri
7. Kentucky

SEC West
1. Alabama
2. Texas A&M
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Auburn
6. Mississippi State
7. Arkansas