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WSU’s Leach Thinks The Only Advantage The SEC Has Is On The D-Line

gfx - they said itMike Leach has never been afraid to speak his mind.  (Or to lock a kid in an equipment shed if you believe Craig James.)  Earlier this week, Washington State’s head coach shared his thoughts about the differences between conferences… specifically, the difference between the SEC and everyone else:


“Everybody loves to try to talk about these differences.  Conferences want their (own identity).  ‘They’re the power conference, they’re the speed conference, they’re the skill conference.’  All that’s a bunch of baloney, I’ll tell you that.  Once you’re in one of the major conferences, everybody’s got 300-pounders, everybody’s got people that can run.  As boring as this answer is, although it’s unique and more accurate, these conferences are all the same.

The difference with the SEC that does exist — don’t think in the SEC that the skill guys are any faster or better than the skill guys in the other conferences — what I do think is different is defensive front guys.  They’ve got good speed in their defensive fronts.  In other words, in the SEC, I think, a lot of time, you’ll see teams playing with four bona fide, good-looking, talented defensive linemen, where I do think that other conferences are playing with two or something like that.

After that, I’m telling you, not to dash any hopes, they’re very similar and remarkably the same.”


There’s no question that Leach knows what he’s talking about as he’s coached all over, including in the SEC.  But the fact that NFL teams draft more SEC players each year than players from other leagues tempers his statement just a bit.

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An ESPN Double-Standard In Not Hiring Pearl?

Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has made it clear that he’d like to land a broadcasting job for the 2011-12 season.  But as we’ve suggested multiple times on this site, it doesn’t look like ESPN will be an option for him.

The website is reporting that “ESPN programming executive Norby Williamson has made known that Pearl won’t be hired anytime soon because of his pending NCAA issues.”

The site then goes on to suggest that ESPN is applying a double-standard to Pearl.  Lou Holtz was hired by ESPN in 2005 after stepping down at South Carolina in 2004.  And Holtz’s Carolina program was about to be hit with NCAA sanctions when the network hired him.

Now, SportsByBrooks also makes a very loose accusation that Craig James was guilty of cheating at SMU because his eventual agent was named in that investigation, but that’s not hard enough evidence for us.  The site also mentions that Terrelle Pryor has appeared on ESPN following the Ohio State scandal, but that was as a news figure, not as a paid analyst.

The website’s argument would be tighter if it simply stuck to the Holtz-Pearl comparison… so that’s what we’ll do.

While Holtz and Pearl are both tainted by NCAA issues, Pearl’s scandal became a much bigger national story than Holtz’s three-time cheating ways at Minnesota, Notre Dame and Carolina.  In addition — and this needs to be considered — a number of current ESPN analysts made it clear that they believed Pearl should have been fired by Tennessee as soon as his lie to NCAA investigators became public knowledge.  That was not the case with Holtz.  Rece Davis wasn’t calling for his ouster from Columbia.

In Pearl’s case, he would be talking with Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps, men who said they flat-out would have fired him.  For that reason, we stated early on that Pearl would likely have to spend a year rehabbing his reputation (and allowing the story to blow over) before landing a gig in Bristol, Connecticut.

That said, CBS might be a possibility for the personable Pearl.  Despite the scandal in his personal life, Rick Pitino served as a guest analyst on that network during last year’s NCAA Tournament.  Pearl has also  made appearences on CBS as a guest analyst.

If UT’s ex-coach is to take up a microphone next year, expect it to be at CBS.  ESPN spent way too much time making the case against Pearl to welcome him into its fold so soon.

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