When Michigan was mopping the floor with Tennessee (75-45) this weekend, I was mentioning to Eileen that this would likely be the last game Bruce Pearl would get with the Vols; a series of NCAA violations on top of the worst thumping seen in an 8-9 seed matchup put Pearl in roughly the same spot that Rich Rodriguez was after laying an egg in the Gator Bowl along with bringing sanctions upon the Michigan football program for the first time in memory.
Had RichRod won the bowl game, the powers that be in Ann Arbor might have been more willing to give him another year; that didn't happen and Brady Hoke is now the big man at the Big House. Likewise, a run to at least the second weekend of the NCAAs might have bought Pearl some time, but the first-round stinker was the last straw.
Pearl seemed to be a good guy, at least before all the news came out. A lot of the rule violations weren't exactly corrupt and evil; having a recruit over to a cookout at the coach's house and talking to a recruit in passing out of season were against the rules, but not exactly capital offenses. Lying about them is another matter, and that is likely what got the plugged pulled on Pearl. News out of Knoxville has him on the way out.
Jim Tressel is another seemingly good guy who's darker side got seen; he fibbed about when he knew about his star players' transgressions and was given a two-game sit-down by OSU. To Tressell's credit, he personally extended the suspension to five games to match the punishment the NCAA gave the players involved.
Tressel made OSU a school that was hard to dislike, even for a Michigan kid raised on the Bo and Woody wars. This will knock the cache of OSU down a notch, for the football program has had had a near-pristine record with the NCAA. Tressel himself carried the kind of choir-boy facade that made him on a par with folks like Joe Paterno or Coack K as ambassadors for college sports; not so much now.
On an encouraging note, Billy Gillespie has landed on his feet after two years in limbo, getting a coaching gig at Texas Tech after Bobby Knight's son Pat got the ax. 2009 was his annus horribilis, getting fired from UK after failing to get them into the Big Dance and then getting into a DUI. He isn't a bad coach, just one that wasn't quite up to either the pressure or the PR requirements of being the Grand Poobah of the Bluegrass.
Billy Clyde had a good run at Texas A&M before getting the UK gig, so Texas Tech would be a good fit. He can focus on being a good ballcoach and not have to be the face of the school and the state. The Peter Principle doesn't always have to apply, letting people take downward moves after hitting jobs where they're overmatched.