Tennessee fired Jeremy Pruitt yesterday and spent considerable time telling the world this was not an amicable split. “Your failures are likely to lead to significant penalties to the University and has jeopardized the eligibility of our student athletes,” the school said in its statement to the now-former Volunteers head coach.

Even taking Tennessee’s comments with the appropriate amount of cynicism — Would they really be doing this if Pruitt hadn’t also underperformed on the field? — one must consider that the Vols risk torpedoing the search for the next head coach in kissing Pruitt goodbye by so openly admitting that NCAA sanctions are coming. This — the firing, the press conference, firing multiple assistant coaches and staffers along with the head man — can’t all be about getting out from under Pruitt’s buyout, can it?

Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman used the words “shocking” and “stunning” multiple times on Monday. Considering this is the SEC we’re talking about, those words bring to mind the old “Office” joke about Creed’s blog — “Even for the Internet, it’s pretty shocking.”

Dan Patrick thinks he knows.

Patrick, who, if we can recall back to late summer, was right about some things in college football and wrong on others, said what did Pruitt and his staff in was handing out $100 Egg McMuffins.

“You literally had bag men, and they put the cash in McDonald’s bags and handed it to recruits,” Patrick said.

As for who Tennessee targets next, Patrick said to keep an eye on Tennessee alum Jason Witten.

For a mired in an extended downturn with a black cloud of NCAA sanctions hanging over their heads, turning to a guy with zero coaching experience and no first-hand experience running a college program… would certainly be a choice.

As comical as Dan’s story was to hear, it may be too comical to believe.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.