Like their coaches, Arkansas and Texas going in different directions

HOUSTON -- The postgame handshake was brief. No small-talk chatter or back-slapping. No horns-down twitches, either.

Charlie Strong walked up, gave Bret Bielema a firm handshake, turned and walked off.

"I got beat," Strong said soon after, "so what are you going to do, go talk and tell jokes?"

Bielema stared at the exiting Texas coach for a moment. He looked a bit startled by their two-second meeting, but what should he have expected? The two head coaches were heading in different directions.

Arkansas' head man made his way over to the midfield stage to accept the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl trophy, his prize for a purely dominant 31-7 victory and a seven-win season that should have Razorbacks fans fired up about the future.

Strong went over to a news conference room inside NRG Stadium and let loose with seven losses worth of anger and frustration before conceding Texas has "a long ways to go" after a rough first year of rebuilding.

Surely Bielema can sympathize, right? Until Nov. 15, the second-year coach had played 13 SEC games and lost them all. Suddenly, thanks to two upsets and the Monday night destruction of the Longhorns, Arkansas will start being hyped as hot for 2015.

"We have a lot of guys coming back that, if they continue to have the growth they did a year ago, we're gonna be able to do some special things," Bielema said.

His Razorbacks defense already had shutouts of Ole Miss and LSU on its résumé, yet found a way to top that. Arkansas held Texas to the least productive offensive performance of the entire 2014 college football season: an FBS-worst 59 total yards and 2 rushing yards on 43 plays.

The Hogs' control of the game was absolute. They pounded away up front, controlling the ball for more than 41 minutes and never giving Texas a hint of a real chance. Body blows early and often -- tough runs, easy passes, easier defensive stops -- was all it took.

When it was over, Bielema heaped praise on his seniors, on his players' leadership and focus. He touted his junior quarterback and bowl MVP winner, Brandon Allen. He pointed to just how exciting the future looks now.

The roughest days appear to be over at Arkansas. The elusive moment every rebuilding coach chases -- that over-the-hump victory, the high-profile display of dominance and promise -- heck, Bielema has had three of them in the past 60 days.

For Strong, the hill to climb is steeper. A brutal offseason is about to begin in Austin, Texas, and it's completely necessary.

"At some point, we've got to develop and get the pride back into this program," Strong said. "Texas has got to mean something. Right now, it doesn't mean much. You have to play with passion, play with energy and have to have an edge to you. We don't have that right now."

When Strong's most vocal player, senior corner Quandre Diggs, says Texas still has players who don't deserve their spot in the locker room, you know this team is tired of messing around. A fifth loss of 20-plus points -- the most in one season in school history -- raises the pressure.

Strong doesn't have a senior-to-be to hype up at quarterback. He has sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, who accounted for 25 total yards of offense (and minus-21 yards if you include his fourth-quarter interception return yardage); he has an offseason-long controversy that will require wide-open competition; and he has departing seniors, a patchwork offensive line, a dearth of playmakers. A lot more questions than answers.

Given that context, it's easy to see why Strong had no time to blather with Bielema. Texas badly wanted this season to end. And Arkansas just can’t wait for the next one to begin.