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Talking Points: Was the Bruce Pearl Era a Failure?

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ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER. Many of today's news items use yesterday's firing of Todd Raleigh merely as a place to jump off on Mike Hamilton. Team Speed Kills notes, among other things, that Tennessee is now paying over $7 million dollars to former coaches in all three of its major men's sports. John Adams says that some enterprising individual is likely to make a bunch of t-shirts featuring the phrase "Mike Hamilton paid me to leave." Not a bad idea, actually.

That's all fine; Hamilton's had a rough few years and has presided over a largely-disappointing decade on Rocky Top. But is there something a little funky here? Mark Wiedmer leads his piece off with this:

If you’re scoring at home, University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton now is 0-3 in hiring a coach either willing or capable of remaining at least seven years in his three most important men’s programs.

That rubbed me the wrong way, and it took me awhile to figure out why. Isn't seven years actually a fairly long tenure for coaches in this day and age? But Wiedmer had to use that particular time frame to make the point he wanted to make, which is that Hamilton is 0-3 in the major programs. The Case for Failure is easy to make when it comes to Lane Kiffin and Todd Raleigh, but is lumping Bruce Pearl in with them fair? It ended badly, yeah, but is six years of unprecedented success entirely undone by how it all ended? Would you really rather Bruce Pearl had never been hired? Reasonable minds can differ, but this one is shouting an emphatic no.

TENNESSEE BASKETBALL. VolQuest suggests that Tennessee fans look past the win/loss record in 2011-12 when judging the basketball team. Halcyon Hoops is on essentially the same theme and has a nifty infographic to bolster the point.

ETCETERAS. Florida has won a record eighth SEC Championship this season. I hate those guys. . . . UT Chaplain Roger Woods: "I grew up on drugs. My parents drug me to church. They drug me to Sunday school. Anything that involved church, they drug me to." . . . Offensive lineman Alan Posey is up to 320 pounds and is taking Chad Clifton's number. I hope he, like Clifton, makes the NFL so we can see how many headlines contain the words "Posey's Pockets." . . . BRACE FOR HERESY: Does Eric Berry throw like a girl?