Cuonzo Is Gonzo: So Who's Next for the Vols?
Cuonzo Is Gonzo: So Who's Next for the Vols?
Cuonzo Is Gonzo: So Who's...

Cuonzo Is Gonzo: So Who's Next for the Vols?

WWE Raw Came To Birmingham, Bama Fans Were Pleased
WWE Raw Came To Birmingham, Bama Fans Were Pleased
WWE Raw Came To Birmingha...

WWE Raw Came To Birmingham, Bama Fans Were Pleased

Nick Saban Met the Alabama Gymnastics Team
Nick Saban Met the Alabama Gymnastics Team
Nick Saban Met the Alabam...

Nick Saban Met the Alabama Gymnastics Team

Game of Thrones Season Four Episode Two: Joffrey Gets Married
Game of Thrones Season Four Episode Two: Joffrey Gets Married
Game of Thrones Season Fo...

Game of Thrones Season Four Episode Two: Joffrey Gets Married

All That and a Bag of Mail: Baby Bracket Name Challenge
All That and a Bag of Mail: Baby Bracket Name Challenge
All That and a Bag of Mai...

All That and a Bag of Mail: Baby Bracket Name Challenge

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Cuonzo Is Gonzo: So Who's Next for the Vols?

Written by: Clay Travis

Cuonzo Martin and the Tennessee Vols were in the midst of an awkward divorce. Neither really wanted to be in a relationship with the other. Vol athletic director Dave Hart expected Martin to take the Marquette job, but at the last minute Martin told Marquette no. So just over ten days ago Tennessee released an unplanned commitment letter between Martin and the Vols. Clearly, that "commitment" is now no longer. Tennessee and Cuonzo both got their wish, the divorce is final.

So now the question becomes this -- what will Tennessee pay to hire a replacement coach? If the Vols are willing to pay in the neighborhood of $2.5 million a year then there are many top-tier candidates. That kind of salary would mean that Tennessee is paying top-ten college basketball coaching money.  There aren't many schools that can pay top-ten coaching money. Tennessee can. 

The men's basketball program has been right around the top five in the country for much of that last decade in total attendance. Three of the last four Tennessee coaches -- everyone except for the woeful Buzz Peterson -- has been to a Sweet 16. The Vols have been in the NCAA tournament for 11 of the past 16 seasons. This is without a doubt one of the top four basketball jobs in the SEC. Kentucky is the unquestioned number one job in the conference, but Bruce Pearl recently argued that Tennessee was number two. His argument was pretty simple, Billy Donovan makes Florida's program, not the other way around. (Pearl's top six SEC programs in order were Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Missouri). That's a fair list. Given that Arkansas hasn't even been to the Sweet 16 since 1996, approaching an entire generation, it's hard to argue that Arkansas is superior to the Vols. I don't believe Vandy and Mizzou are either. 

As is, Cuonzo leaves behind a mediocre collection of talent, but Vol fans know this. Expectations will be realistic for a new coach. 

So who will that new coach be? It really depends on what Dave Hart can spend. The finances of Vol athletics have stabilized a great deal of late. Dooley's buyout is, mercifully, mostly gone. Butch Jones has the football team on the right track. Vol athletics has dug out of its buyout hole. 

Hell, Cal will actually be paying Tennessee over a million dollars for Cuonzo to leave.

Here's an early stab at a guess. 

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If there's one thing that Nick Saban has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's how much he cares about the health of his players. The guy gives out medical redshirts like a grandma of fifteen gives out birthday cards. He's just so nice. In fact, Saban just might be the nicest guy in all of sports. Do any of y'all doubt that Nick Saban has the best interests of the sport in mind when he endorses new timing rules and works to ensure that they get secretly passed?

I mean, do y'all really think Nick Saban would do anything to get an advantage for his own team while simultaneously hurting another team that he's playing against?

Of course not!

Yesterday Saban compared football concussions to smoking cigarettes. I say bravo to Nick Saban for connecting two completely unconnected things. Without Nick Saban standing steadfastly on the front lines of college football health, we were clearly heading towards an era where players smoked while playing football. Plainly, that's dangerous. Especially with sickle cell and HIV and syphilis to consider. Otherwise, those hurry up no huddle offenses want to trot out sickle cell syphilitic smoking HIV positive quarterbacks who they are trying to kill. AND RUN THE READ OPTION WITH THEM IN THE HOT SUN. Who's going to protect you from sickle cell syphilitic HIV positive smoking deaths on the football field?

Nick F'ing Saban, that's who. 

Thanks to Outkick's spectacular relationship with Nick Saban, we were able to obtain 14 additional rules that Nick Saban has endorsed to make college football safer. I think we would all agree that these are necessary and proper rules and that we're all very fortunate that Nick Saban has the best interests of the game in mind.  

Former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has now been at Penn State for a couple of months.

Franklin talks about pretty much everything -- his appreciation for everyone at Vanderbilt, the challenges of Penn State, the fact that he had nothing to do with a Penn State moving truck showing up to pick up his belongings, living at the Residence Inn in Happy Valley, Penn State's upcoming trip to Ireland, our wikipedia marriage, and whether or not he'd be willing to play Vanderbilt down the road. 

Here are a few selected quotes, but I'd encourage y'all to listen to all thirty minutes. After all, it's not like you're working, right?

Franklin on attending football camp at Penn State: "My focus was to be the next Randall Cunningham," he said. "Jim Caldwell was the quarterbacks coach, and he gave me the stiff-arm. He told me I wasn't good enough, which I wasn't."

Dish Network Officially Adds SEC Network

Written by: Clay Travis

Last night news officially broke that Dish Network had agreed to carry the SEC Network. Combined with the already announced deal with AT&T Uverse, the SEC is now assured that its network will be in twenty million households for the August 14th launch. (The SEC is also launching a week earlier than earlier announced to increase the pressure on DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner, and other smaller cable and satellite providers). You'll recall that roughly ten days ago DirecTV made the mistake of emailing SEC fans that it would not be carrying the SEC Network and immediately felt their wrath on social media after Outkick published those emails

The multi-year deal with Dish Network is big for the number of homes that will carry the network, but also for the tier on which the channel will be carried as part of the multi-year agreeement -- Dish Network's 120+ package nationwide. That's a level of nationwide distribution that neither the Pac 12 Network nor the Big Ten Network currently have. (Those networks are only available on the 200+ channel package nationwide). Being carried on the 120+ package goes a long way towards endorsing the SEC and ESPN's proposition that they see the SEC Network as a nationwide offering that should be available in 75 million homes, the same number of homes as ESPNU.

It also proves that Dish Network, the nation's third largest cable or satellite distributor after Comcast and DirecTV, believes the SEC Network will be much more in demand than the Big Ten or Pac 12's Network. In fact, Dish is so confident in the SEC's appeal that it plans to role out a specific marketing campaign encouraging SEC fans to switch cable or satellite providers to ensure they have the SEC Network by launch.  

By Cippy Wallace

Sup brown bears, for the hometown dates and fantasy nights, ABC decided we all haven’t been tortured enough and felt it was necessary to give us FOUR HOURS over TWO DAYS of “It’s AMAZING, it’s GREAT, I’m opening up my heart, WATER and Ess-Ohhkay.”

(We also got to spend some quality time talking with Jason Fox and his partner in crime Finch Machine working on JF’s Bachelor campaign. Ladies, to give you an idea of how great they are think of them as a hybrid of Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but better. After the finale next week, which we will be watching together in Fort Worth, we are going to introduce you them in all of their glory. Seriously, it’s easily going to make up for this terrible season.) 

John Calipari Finally Sinking Under Big Blue Sea

Written by: Clay Travis

John Calipari is the only SEC basketball coach that any of you care about. I'm not sure that this says more about Coach Cal or more about how boring the rest of the SEC basketball coaches are. I mean, Billy Donovan is great, maybe the most underrated coach in college basketball, but does anyone in the conference actually dislike him? Nope. This, by the way, tells you all you need to know about SEC basketball, a guy can have two national titles, be undefeated in the conference this season, and I don't think a single SEC fan even dislikes Billy Donovan. Can you ever imagine this happening in SEC football?

The same indifference applies to every other SEC basketball coach. Heck. most of you can't even name every SEC basketball coach. And I'll be honest with you, neither can I. I just ran through every coach -- confession, I don't know LSU's coach's first name -- until I got to Mississippi State. I have no idea who Mississippi State's basketball coach is. Chances are, neither do you. (It's not Rick Stansbury, FYI.)

All of this helps to explain why SEC basketball is so bad, the good players don't stay very long, the coaches are incredibly boring and relatively undistinguished, and fans don't demand better. It's why every fan base in the SEC except for Kentucky and Florida would trade their head coach right now for former-Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. The coaches aren't very good at their jobs and they're boring. In this day and age, that's a horrible combination. 

Which brings us back to Coach Cal, the SEC's only lightning rod, the only basketball coach that most of you have any opinion about at all. You either love Coach Cal, in which case you are a Kentucky basketball fan, or you hate him, in which case you are the rest of SEC fans.

Vegas Bracketology 4.0.14

Written by: Todd Fuhrman

When it comes to the field of 68 some will use the eye test; others focus on win/loss record. There are math guys who delve into advanced statistics to create complex valuations of teams like they’re commodities openly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and there are committee members trained to focus on current form.  Of course no single approach is 100% accurate however none of these methodologies trump the processes employed by oddsmakers who are reminded daily (by their balance sheets) if teams are rated correctly.  Put all of these individuals in one room and you’ll get 100 different permutations of how the field of 68 should look on March 16th.  Vegas Bracketology isn’t concerned with modern convention. Resume building wins? Who cares.  Record over the last 10 games? Nope, mnimal importance. Instead the focus right here and now for our purposes is on who would be favored over who on a neutral court and by how many.

Let's Have Actual Spring College Football Games

Written by: Clay Travis

It's spring football season, which means that many of you will be taking a break from march madness to obsessively follow practice for the next several weeks. Such is the life of a college football fan bereft of actual games for a longer time period than any other fan of any other sport. Even after nearly two months since the BCS title game, we're still nearly six months away from actual games. Whereas the baseball, hockey, and NBA seasons never seem to end, college football is over in a flash, here for an instant and then gone.

We love college football so much that hundreds of thousands of you will make pilgrimages to your favorite team's campus to watch a scrimmage at the end of spring football practice. Hell, millions of you are so desperate for college football that you'll even watch these games on television. It's clear, we all want more college football. 

Which got me wondering -- why don't college football teams play an actual game against another team at the end of spring practice? 

Think of the fun, think of the money, think of how much more exciting this would make spring practice for players and coaches. 

We have a big decision this morning -- should we induct Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett's husband, into the Outkick the Coverage Hall of Fame? 

So far we have only six inductees: you can check them all out here.

Upton, who is a playright from Australia, has been married to Blanchett since 1997 and the couple have three sons. During last night's Oscar acceptance speech, Blanchett referred to her husband as a "legend," which made most of you recognize a solid Outkick for the first time. It's not just that Upton's ended up with a woman much better looking than he is, he may have also married, and thrice procreated, with the greatest actress of our generation. We're talking about an incredible combination of beauty and skill here. For Upton's offspring, this is like winning the genetic lottery.  

But now comes an important decision, does Upton belong in the Outkick hall of fame? 

This is not some small trifle, it's forever. 

For your review, here's Andrew Upton and his wife Cate Blanchett. 

All That and a Bag of Mail: VY vs. Cam Edition

Written by: Clay Travis

Okay, kids, it's mailbag time.

Hopefully you've all had productive weeks at work because that's about to come to a close right now.  

And not just because Obama has unleashed the gay white homo demons. Look out, black women!

Before we go any further, I get lots of email questions from people who want advice or suggestions from me. (I know, this is terrifying). Lots of you are college-aged, some of you are much older than that. Regardless of your age, many of you want to actually meet me in person. Leaving aside the fact that I don't really like to meet with strangers and I'm not that entertaining in person, from August to February this is pretty much impossible because my schedule's too wild. But I always feel bad about not having time to talk with the people who have legitimate questions or want advice. Because I really do value all of the time you guys spend on Outkick and the ownership many of you feel for the site.   

So, and this could turn out to be a total disaster that ends in my death, I'm going to start Outkick office hours. Yes, as if I was a professor teaching on a college campus. For one hour every week during the spring and summer, i will make myself available for whoever shows up with questions. This is only in person -- I'm not talking on the phone because I'm a Southern dad now and Southern dads don't talk on the phone. Generally these office hours will be from six to seven every Friday evening at Nashville's Tin Roof bar, directly across the street from our radio station.

I'll take to Twitter to modify changes in the event that I'm traveling for work or vacation.

I can only promise one hour, but I'll be there to help mold your minds. 

Office hours start today at six.

We'll see how this goes. 

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto, thanks for creating the best six episode drama in TV history. Here's to hoping the final two episodes don't suck. (Also, programming note, set your DVRs to record "The Americans," on FX. You'll love it, trust me).   

On to the mailbag. 

You know the story, a high school basketball coach resigns because of inapppropriate text messages with a student.

That's the story that the Bowling Green (Kentucky) Daily News is reporting. (The photo is from their story linked here). A high school boy's basketball coach, Jason (Stoney) Stonebraker, a former walk-on player at Western Kentucky with a middling coaching record over the past four years, resigns two days before the district tournament because of inappropriate texts with an 18 year old student.  Normally these stories play out on the periphery of the public arena and no one really dives into the details especially where, as here, there's no intimation of inappropriate physical contact, just texts. Unless, that is, you happen to have a live-in girlfriend who isn't very happy with you. And that girlfriend takes to Facebook and crushes you in what may go down as one of the most public takedowns of the Facebook era.

Courtesy of tipster Frank R. comes this Facebook post from Haley Russell. 

Yes, this really happened.  

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