Friday, November 26, 2021

Mel Tucker contract: Michigan State takes risk overpaying its coach hoping to raise program's prominence


If Tucker's as good as the Spartans believe him to be, championships should soon follow



Nov 26, 2021 at 11:14 pm ET

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Mel Tucker is overpaid. The man himself has to admit that. Before completing his third season as a head coach -- his second at Michigan State -- Tucker is now the game's second-highest paid coach.

Nick Saban is No. 1, and there are those who will suggest the only similarities between the two are their contracts and the fact that Tucker once worked for the great Alabama coach. Now, they can buy their own Mercedes dealerships. Wait, Saban already co-owns six of them, the same number of championships he has won at Alabama.

That's one indicator Tucker has some catching up to do, you know, on the field where these big contracts are supposedly earned. In case you haven't noticed in the coaching profession, salary frequently outstrips accomplishment.

The reaction to Tucker's contract in the college athletics' community is somewhere between floored and stunned. Tucker will collect $95 million from Michigan State over the next 10 years.

Good for him, but at least Bobby Bowden had won a national championship when he became the first $1 million dollar coach in 1995. So had Steve Spurrier when he became the first $2 million coach a year later.

Tucker is 16-14 as a head coach in his career. Just 21 months ago, he was leaving Colorado after one season in which he went 5-7. His biggest accomplishment in Spartyland is being the first Michigan State coach to go 2-0 against Michigan right out of the box while having his program competing for a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff berth into November.

He signed his extension Wednesday on the back of losing two of his last three games, at Purdue by 11 (MSU entered as a favorite) and at Ohio State by ... 49.

For a while, Tucker's running back, Kenneth Walker III, was the Heisman Trophy favorite. Walker should win the Doak Walker Award (best running back).

His coach can probably afford a really fancy note card congratulating him.

We can make jokes about the outlandish salaries of coaches, but this one is outlandish-ish. With the contract, the boosters who funded it are telling the world this endeavor is beyond winning championships. This is about becoming Michigan. No, Ohio State. No, this is about becoming Alabama.

For Michigan State, such is the price of (attempting) greatness. Tucker is qualified. The man has a lengthy resume including NFL experience, Big Ten chops and serving as a defensive coordinator under both Saban and Kirby Smart.

The Michigan State turnaround this season has been remarkable.

But is he a $95 million coach? We'll find out.

This extension whirlwind is also our American marketplace at work. The demand for good coaches is outstripping supply. Thus, you see inflation. There have been five coaches handed 10-year deals this year, three in the last three weeks -- Tucker, UTSA's Jeff Traylor and Penn State's James Franklin.

"Scarcity of elite coaches for those in the upper echelon," one Power Five athletic director explained as the reason for these deals. "Therefore, if you have a guy you believe in, lock him up. Otherwise, doing a search in this market is a lose-lose situation."

In other words, all the coaching studs are taken to the point the likes of Dave Aranda (less than two years' head coaching experience) is a hot name at both LSU and USC. Nothing against Aranda, who looks like the next coaching superstar, but not so quietly what used to be a two-year extension has become a 10-year extension.

"Schools are willing to do longer-term contracts if they feel they have the right head coach in place," Liberty AD Ian McCaw said. "Traditionally, they have been four- and five-year contracts. Now, you're seeing seven-, eight-, even 10-year contracts."

McCaw this week extended Hugh Freeze two years to 2028 but at an average of more than $4 million per year. That would be at or near the highest annual salary for a non-Power Five coach.

Is that fiscally responsible, or is it none of our business?

Saban is one of the few coaches in the country who actually earns his monster dollars. His success has contributed to enrollment increases, campus facility upgrades and an improved academic profile for Alabama.

Iowa's Kirk Ferentz got a $500,000 bonus for winning his eighth game. There are those who have pointed out Franklin has gone 11-9 in last two years and has one Big Ten title in eight seasons. Now he's earning $7.5 million per year with an additional $1 million in a life insurance loan.

Those observations are fair. It's also fair to say the Land Grant Trophy that goes to the winner of Saturday's Michigan State vs. Penn State game, should be sponsored by Rocket Mortgage. Both athletic departments could be banking their futures on combined 20-year contracts worth $170 million.

We should pause here and salute the fact Tucker became the highest-paid Black coach, ever, in American sports. He passes Stanford coach David Shaw.

In the negotiating trenches, super agent Neil Cornrich worked his magic. He clearly knew the market. There wasn't even an opening at Michigan State, and he blew the lid off. Tucker's name had come up at LSU. He would have interviewed at some point, sources tell CBS Sports. Maybe that's all Cornrich needed as leverage: the idea of an interview. 

A lot of coaches are overpaid, almost every single head coach at the Power Five level. When you make (much) more than the president of the school, that raises questions about an institution's priorities. But we passed that mile marker about 50 years ago. No one blinked then. Why start now?

Maybe it's because Tucker is more overpaid than most.

Again, he would probably admit that, but as Bill Parcells once said, you're worth what someone will pay you.

Tucker is worth a lot. Only the number of zeroes quantify whatever outrage exists. Critics were jumping down Knute Rockne's throat when he made $75,000 at the time of his death in 1931. In today's money, that would equal $1.2 million.   

Tucker is making eight times that. How times have changed -- or stayed the same.

Legend has it that Bear Bryant left Kentucky for Alabama because he got a cigarette lighter one year while Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp got a Cadillac for his accomplishments.

What a club Tucker has joined. Now comes the hard part: winning.

Those monied boosters who are funding this contract will expect championships. They won't be alone. Michigan State can no longer hide as Little Brother in quaint East Lansing, Michigan. That kind of money trumpets swagger and excellence.

First, you've got to win championships -- beating Michigan not only next year but every year. That's a good start. Becoming Alabama is the ultimate expectation.

For now, Walker can look forward to that really impressive note card. 

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker agrees to 10-year, $95 million contract as Spartans eye 10 wins

November 24, 2021

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker on Wednesday agreed to a 10-year deal worth $95 million to remain with the Spartans, the school announced.

The new contract, which made headlines around college football last week leading up to the Spartans' game at Ohio State, makes Tucker one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport and comes four days before Michigan State closes its regular season.

Tucker can thank a group of Spartans donors -- Mat Ishbia, Steve St. Andre, Brian Mosallam and Jason Strayhorn -- who gathered to help complete the deal this month, as Michigan State takes a turn toward recruiting.

"Every day I wake up feeling humbled to be the Head Football Coach at Michigan State," Tucker wrote in a letter posted on his official Twitter account. "It is my privilege to work alongside our student athletes, coaches and staff who embody our culture of hard work, discipline, and excellence -- on and off the field."


Tucker's contract is fully guaranteed. His buyout to leave Michigan State remains unchanged from his original contract: $2.5 million with annual decreases by $500,000.

The news comes five days after the Spartans dropped a 56-7 decision at Ohio State, Tucker's second loss in his past three games after Michigan State opened the year at 8-0. The surprising start landed the Spartans (9-2) in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings before ultimately dropping.

"This is a process to build a championship-winning program," he wrote in his social media post. "A process that drives us to be better. A process that demands relentless soul and grit. A process that requires the support from Spartans across the globe. I am honored to be a part of the Spartan process today, and for years to come."

Clearly, the Big Ten school believes in that process.

"Mel Tucker has been an outstanding addition to our Spartan Athletic program," university president Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., said in the school's announcement. "In less than two years, his leadership has already resulted in a program competing for top honors, and I'm impressed by his intensity and drive. Spartan fans around the country are enjoying the success of this year's football program and we look forward to many more successful seasons, competing at the highest levels under Coach Tucker."

According to the school's news release, Tucker's contract includes "non-performance related compensation of $9.5 million per year, including a $5.9 million base, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances, plus a $400,000 contingent annual bonus. The contract expires on January 15, 2032."

Only Alabama's Nick Saban, one of Tucker's mentors, who makes $9,753,221 a year, is paid more on an annual basis, according to the USA Today coaches' salaries database. And Tucker's 10-year deal puts him in select company with two other coaches on the same term: Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher. Swinney's contract is worth $92 million and Fisher's deal will pay him more than $9 million a year, starting in 2022.

Last week, Tucker said Michigan State is a destination job and that he never intended to "just pass through" on his way to another program.

Speaking on The Draymond Green Show with Green, a former basketball star at Michigan State now with the Golden State Warriors, Tucker made his first comments last week since the Detroit Free Press reported the two sides were working on the eventual final terms.

"I made it clear in my initial press conferences that I thought Michigan State was a destination job and not a stepping stone," Tucker, in his second season in East Lansing, Michigan, told Green, who played for the Spartans from 2008 to 2012. "It was never my intention to come here and just pass through. I believe that we're building something special here. I have tremendous support here to do that, and we're on the right track."

Tucker, 49, mentioned his roots in the Big Ten as a former Wisconsin player and a native of Cleveland who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State for then-coach Nick Saban. He also spent 2001 to 2004 as a defensive assistant at Ohio State.

Tucker's original deal was scheduled to run through the 2024 season, carrying a $5.56 million annual salary. In February 2020, he was hired after only one season at Colorado to replace longtime Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.

Tucker had been mentioned as a potential candidate for the coaching vacancy at LSU, which announced Oct. 17 that coach Ed Orgeron would not return in 2022.

The Spartans will close the regular season on Saturday, seeking their 10th win, with a home game against Penn State (7-4).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The surest hands in the league


The surest hands in the league 🙌

Inductees announced for 2022 CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame


By CHRISTINE BEDELL For The Californian

Nov 21, 2021


The CSUB Alumni Association will honor graduates who have expanded local access to health care, closed achievement gaps among Black college students, thrilled us on the football field, and led the nation's largest farmworker union by inducting them into its Hall of Fame.

The 2022 CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame class includes nursing administrator Terri Church, educator Paula Parks, retired NFL star Stephen Neal and farmworker union leader Connie Perez-Andreesen. They will be honored during an event in February that kicks off Homecoming Week and raises money for alumni programs.

A campus committee of CSUB alumni, faculty and staff selected the four inductees during an incredibly competitive process that involved a record-number of nominations. The inductees will bring to 68 the number of Alumni Hall of Fame members out of nearly 60,000 people who have graduated from the university.

"This is an outstanding group of alumni," said CSUB Director of Alumni Engagement Sarah Hendrick. "They represent diversity among CSUB graduates, advocate for underrepresented communities, empower through education, have reached the greatest heights in professional sports and led our community through the worst health crisis of our lifetime. We are honored to welcome them into the CSUB Alumni Hall of Fame."

Here's more on the 2022 class:

Terri Church

CSUB degrees: Bachelor of Science in nursing, 1990; Master of Science in nursing, 1999

Terri Church has helped oversee an extraordinary expansion of local health care options as chief nursing officer at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital including for children and those battling cancer, strokes and catastrophic burns.

She’s also been a passionate advocate for nursing education, and thoughtfully balanced the care of patients with the emotional toll it took on nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Church earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from CSUB in 1990 and 1999. Her career includes 26 years at San Joaquin Community Hospital, where she rose to vice president of patient care, and two years as director of nursing at Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center before moving to Bakersfield Memorial in 2008.

During her time there, the hospital has opened a 100-plus-bed patient tower, an outpatient infusion center for cancer treatment, and Kern County’s first comprehensive pediatric program. It has expanded its heart care, become a certified primary stroke center and partnered with the Grossman Burn Center to open a burn-service line.

Church encourages nurses to pursue advanced degrees, mentors young nurse leaders and collaborates with the CSUB and Bakersfield College RN programs. She oversaw implementation of the Versant RN New Graduate Nurse Residency Program in 2009, which has produced 676 clinically competent nurses, improving patient care and growing the nursing leadership ranks.

Her leadership has been recognized by Kern County’s chapter of the Association of Nurse Leaders, the Bakersfield College Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee and the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. She’s also received the CSUB Nightingale Award for excellence in nursing.

Stephen Neal

CSUB degree: Bachelor of Science in physical education, 1999

Stephen Neal is the most accomplished and decorated athlete to ever graduate from CSUB, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion during his college years who went on to win three Super Bowl rings as an offensive lineman with the New England Patriots.

Neal’s commitment to CSUB wrestling since graduating with a physical education degree in 1999 has never wavered. He’s not only supported the program financially but trained student-athletes, coached camps and started an endowment.

At CSUB, Neal was one of the nation’s top wrestlers with a 156-10 record in four All-American seasons; he was undefeated his final two seasons.

In 1999 he won his second NCAA title in a row as a heavyweight, the Dan Hodge Trophy (the Heisman of wrestling), and the World Wrestling Championship. He holds CSUB career records for most wins and most pins (71) and was a four-time Pac 10 Academic All-Conference selection.

Non-college football players rarely make it into the National Football League, but Neal did. The Patriots signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2001, kicking off a 10-year career there that included seven years as a starting offensive guard.

Neal, 45, played for and protected two of the greatest of all times in their field, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. With them Neal won his three Super Bowl rings, in wins over the St. Louis Rams in 2002, Carolina Panthers in 2004 and Philadelphia Eagles in 2005.

He has never forgotten where he came from, once telling a reporter he continues to support CSUB wrestling because it gave him his original “platform to compete.”

Paula Parks

CSUB degree: Master of Arts in education, 2001

Paula Parks is a journalist-turned-Bakersfield College English professor who founded and coordinates a campus program that closes academic success gaps among Black students, uplifting individuals, families and communities.

Parks has also been facilitating local conversations on race, in part sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Parks educated newspaper readers before students. With a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UC Irvine and master’s in journalism from Columbia University, she secured an internship with the Los Angeles Times that led to general assignment reporting and editing jobs at small newspapers. Then she launched a freelance career, selling stories to The Times and national magazines including Ebony, Black Enterprise and Heart and Soul.

When her family moved to Bakersfield, Parks began teaching at BC and fell in love with academia. She earned a master’s in education from CSUB in 2001 and doctorate in higher education from Capella University in 2014. While teaching she has participated in a variety of committee work to improve student success at BC and in 2015 founded the Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program, which has expanded in size and success each year.

In 2016, Parks was a finalist for BC’s Samuel McCall Teaching Award and named educator of the year by Bakersfield’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She’s a founding member of UC Irvine’s Black Alumni Chapter, former board member of the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, and has mentored students in the CSUB 'Runner Alumni Mentor Program.

Connie Perez-Andreesen

CSUB degree: Bachelor of Science in business administration, 2000

Connie Perez-Andreesen is the daughter of Mexican immigrant farmworkers who rose in the field of accountancy before taking on day-to-day management of the nation’s largest farmworker union.

With both time and treasure, Perez-Andreesen has generously supported CSUB. She serves as vice chair of the CSUB Foundation Board and on the President’s Latino Advisory Council. She and her husband, Joel, recently committed $150,000 to the campus’ Center for Social Justice and Roadrunner Scholarship Fund.

Perez Andreesen, 45, earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on accounting from CSUB in 2000. At a Kern County-based regional accounting firm, she worked her way up from staff accountant to one of only two Latinas to make partner.

In 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Perez-Andreesen to the State Lottery Commission, where she served as vice chair and chair of the audit committee. Her community service also includes volunteering on the Bakersfield City Council’s Public Safety/Vital City Services Oversight Committee, Latina Leaders of Kern County board, the Bakersfield College Foundation board and as co-chair of B3K Prosperity.

Perez-Andreesen recently served in a partnership between Kern Medical, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the UFW and the Latino COVID Taskforce to take vaccine clinics to underserved communities. She joined the UFW as controller in 2017 and was appointed chief administrative officer and national vice president in November 2020.

She’s been recognized as a businesswoman of the year by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle, Woman of Excellence by the National Latina Business Women Association Los Angeles, and as an experienced leader by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Christine Bedell is the senior alumni engagement specialist at Cal State Bakersfield.

Friday, November 19, 2021

A.J. Brown's words say much about his own bravery — and Titans coach Mike Vrabel | Estes


Gentry Estes

Nashville Tennessean

A tough exterior was shed Thursday at a place where it's often required. That made it all more powerful: The tears. The courage. The vulnerability. The good — difficult, but good — conversation, the kind we all should probably have more often.

This wasn’t about football, but life.

I’m going to repeat that in this column.

Such a scene and topic wouldn’t have been expected, though, during a game week at the home of the hottest team in the NFL, owners of a six-game win streak.

That’s kind of the point. You don’t know what’s going on with someone.

Like Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown, for instance. When he revealed Friday night on social media that he’d struggled with depression, it was jarring. Here was this enormously gifted, young NFL star with everything going for him. And he’s admitting that a year previously he’d considered taking his own life.

It took selflessness and bravery for Brown – in a brutal sport played by tough-minded people – to go public with his own struggles in order to help others and bring awareness to mental health. On Thursday, Brown followed it up by speaking to reporters at the Titans’ facility. He didn’t have to do that, either.

He fielded questions Thursday with a cool maturity far beyond his 24 years, and one of those questions was about his Titans coach, Mike Vrabel. 

Brown paused a bit longer to collect his thoughts on that one.

“You don't want to get emotionally attached or tied with someone, because there's a business side of it,” Brown said. “I appreciate (Vrabel) so much. People like that, no matter how this business may go, forever I'll be a friend of his and he'll be a friend of mine.

“I appreciate him so much, just opening his door and just listening and trying to help me as much as (he) can. It doesn't go unnoticed with me. He's definitely family in my book.”

Again, this isn’t about football. What’s important here is that it sounds like Brown is taking care of himself. He sought help and he says he’s doing much better.

How prominent a role Vrabel played in that, I don’t know. Brown’s comments would suggest his coach did a lot more than stand on the side and critique his route-running.

Note to NFL teams: Find yourself a coach who is discussed by players the way Brown spoke of Vrabel.

Because it's not normal, even if it has become that way around the Titans.

Vrabel’s players have been saying that sort of thing for a while. That his door has always been open for players to approach him about any topic, be it personal or professional. Like Brown, they tend to express an appreciation for him that goes beyond a standard player-coach relationship.

“Obviously, the conversations that I have with the players, I will keep between us,” Vrabel said this week when asked about Brown. “I do appreciate his courage and his willingness to share that message. The mental health of our staff or everybody in this building is something that I focus on very regularly. … It is part of our job to make sure that they can deal with the stresses of life, the stresses of professional football, the strain it sometimes puts on their family.”

Vrabel added that he is “relaying to the team that if you are willing to ask someone how they are doing, be willing to sit there and listen to them. Don’t make it a fly-by.”

I’ve known a lot of successful football coaches at all levels. Most are well-meaning and care about their players beyond winning games, but they don’t all think this way. Such compassion isn’t a given, and it can't be faked.

It's a unique strength that isn’t always understood by those who'd sit back and wonder how this former Bill Belichick linebacker has been so successful with the Titans. Vrabel is no softie, of course. You look at him and see this hard-nosed, former jock – and yet his words and actions keep reflecting a lot more under the surface.

“He cares about the guys,” Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said. “Like he truly, is genuinely caring about each individual player on this team, whatever their role might be, whatever situation they are going through. I think when you care about guys, that's when you start to earn their trust, each their respect. And, ultimately, they are willing to do whatever for you.”

Look at how Vrabel has assembled those around him. He's immensely loyal to those he trusts. With his coaches, both Bowen and offensive coordinator Todd Downing were promoted, just like Arthur Smith, Downing’s predecessor.

Vrabel is also loyal to players. He doesn't lose phone numbers. Long is the list of those who've been released only to return to the Titans later in a contributing role. A large number of Titans players over the years, too, had previously been in Houston, where Vrabel was an assistant coach with the Texans.

I’m not cynical enough to believe Vrabel’s relationship with players is strictly a means to an end for winning. I don’t mean to imply that on his part.

But it doesn’t hurt.

The margin between franchises is so small in the NFL. The best head coaches tend to be the ones who’ve figured out how to get a locker room full of young millionaires to cohesively buy in and play their hardest each week, sacrificing themselves for the greater good of the team.

That’s what Vrabel has done better than perhaps anyone in the NFL. The Titans play their tails off for him. They always have, and that’s the reason why – no matter injuries or adversity – they’ve continued to win.

And the reason for that, actually, doesn't have much to do with football.

Reach Gentry Estes at and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Whitlock: Mel Tucker’s $95 million contract serves Michigan State’s boosters and super-agents more than Tucker



We will soon learn whether Michigan State coach Mel Tucker suffers from premature veneration. It's a projectile dysfunction that afflicts many football coaches. It's when projections of greatness far exceed actual accomplishments and a school or franchise vastly overpays a promising head coach.

The coach prematurely goes limp, leaving the team, fans, and decision-makers totally unsatisfied.

The highest-profile example of premature veneration happened at Notre Dame 16 years ago. After a 5-2 start and reaching No. 9 in the polls, the Fighting Irish made Charlie Weis the highest-paid coach in college football, lavishing the former Bill Belichick assistant with a 10-year, $40-million contract. After his hot start, Weis lost 25 of his next 55 games at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame fired Weis halfway through his groundbreaking 10-year contract.

So here we are again. The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that Michigan State plans to extend the contract of its second-year head coach to the tune of 10 years and $95 million. At an average salary of $9.5 million, Tucker would be the third highest-paid coach in college football, trailing only Alabama's Nick Saban and Clemson's Dabo Swinney. Saban would earn approximately $200,000 more than Tucker and Swinney about $8,000.

Saban has won seven national championships. Swinney has won two.

In three years as a head coach, including one season at Colorado, Tucker has one winning season and a career record of 16-13. This extension smells like premature veneration. Tucker has gone from dating Instagram models to hopping in bed with Mia Khalifa, the adult film star.

The record contract might be far more than Tucker can handle.

Let me say it in a different way by quoting the street philosopher and adult rap star Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.

"Mo Money Mo Problems."

Most people have more trouble handling success than failure. There are a million books written about overcoming adversity and failure. Success makes you an author, which is short for authority. Success means you have all the answers. Success allows you to write your own rules. Most people can't handle that.

Mel Tucker no longer has to answer to a boss, the school's athletic director or school president. His critics are now irrelevant. It's game over. Tucker hit the lottery. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70% of lottery winners go broke in a few short years.

I get why Michigan State is paying Tucker. LSU and USC were allegedly interested in hiring Tucker. Tucker has NFL coaching experience. An NFL franchise would likely offer Tucker a job this off-season. The competition to employ Tucker was going to be intense.

Plus, two MSU boosters are financing Tucker's new contract. Mat Ishbia and Steve St. Andre, two Detroit-area businessmen, are paying for Tucker's whopping contract. Ishbia was a walk-on basketball player on Michigan State's 1999 national championship team. Ishbia is the president, chairman, and CEO of the largest wholesale mortgage lending company in America. He's worth nearly $7 billion. He previously gave $32 million to the Michigan State athletics department.

He's a white male billionaire who loves his alma mater, loves sports, and understands the value of good publicity. Investing in Mel Tucker is "cancel culture" insurance. Ishbia wed himself to a high-profile black football coach. Mel Tucker's new last name is Ishbia.

I don't write any of that to denigrate Ishbia or Tucker. I'm writing it to explain another one of the factors that led to Tucker being paid like he's Saban or Dabo. It's brilliant marketing by Ishbia and St. Andre.

But will all the money harm Tucker's evolution as a coach? Would Tucker's long-term success be better served by a contract that pays him $7 million a year for five years? Will the contract and the headlines sparked by the contract create unreasonable expectations around Tucker?

Tucker's deal will change the market for college coaches. Saban and Swinney and others will get raises because of the deal handed to Tucker. But the headlines about Tucker's deal will not go away. His name will be attached to Saban and Swinney moving forward. This Saturday, when Michigan State faces Ohio State, you will hear plenty of discussion of Tucker's contract. If the seventh-ranked Spartans lose to the fourth-ranked Buckeyes, you will hear that Tucker earns more money than Ohio State's Ryan Day.

Sometimes less really is more. A little less money would've protected Tucker's growth. I don't blame Tucker for taking the contract. I blame the overzealous boosters and Tucker's agent, Neil Cornrich. I'm not vilifying Cornrich, Ishbia, or St. Andre. They're all well-intentioned.

However, they're doing what serves them. Tucker getting paid as much as Saban and Swinney serves Cornrich. Changing the market serves Cornrich. Over the next decade, Cornrich will make far more money off the new market than Tucker will.

Cornrich can't lose. Tucker can. The whole sports world might see him prematurely venerated on national TV. He could end with a big pile of money and Charlie Weis' reputation. Tucker was already making $5 million a year. He was always going to end up with a big pile of money. This new contract puts his reputation at risk.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Titans are an unprecedented 7-0 through 10 games against last year’s playoff teams



The Titans are 8-2, tied for the best record in the NFL. But perhaps even more noteworthy than the number of wins they have is the identity of the teams they’ve beaten.

Specifically, Tennessee is 7-0 against teams that made the playoffs last season. According to ESPN, the Titans are the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to win seven games against the previous season’s playoff teams through the first 10 weeks of the season.

The seven games against 2020 playoff teams the Titans have won are the Colts twice as well as the Seahawks, Bills, Chiefs, Rams and Saints.

The Titans also, of course, have a loss to the Jets, one of the worst teams in the NFL both this year and last year. Call that game the ultimate example of how any team can beat any team on any given Sunday.

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