Rece Davis reacts to 'sheer number' of firings across SEC, college football
Count ESPN “College GameDay” host Rece Davis among those who follow college football closely and didn’t think there would be many firings this season. Certainly at the beginning of the season when the pandemic’s impact on college finances was more understood.
Davis was a guest on the “Dooley Noted” podcast with Pat Dooley out of Gainesville, Florida and discussed the college football season, and number of head coaches who were fired across the SEC and college football in general.
“I can’t believe how wrong I was about that, Pat,” Davis said. “I knew people would be unhappy and it might shorten the leash, so to speak, on coaches who might be in a little bit of trouble. But the sheer number of guys who were paid to go away, and not coach anymore was astonishing to me.”
Davis added that the recent firing of Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee, which he described as a “fiasco” is almost in a class by itself.
“The most astonishing to me was Auburn,” he said. “I have reason to believe I’m not sure everyone at Auburn wanted to make that move, but it became a situation where they did. They paid Gus (Malzahn) $21 million to go away. They have for a long time, and I’m not saying exclusively and I’m not casting aspersions at them, but they have largely, historically, measured their success about how well do you do against Alabama? Well, nobody’s doing very well against Alabama right now, but they’re doing better than almost anybody else, maybe even save Clemson, who’s fought Alabama basically .500 over their meetings.”
Davis then recalled the 2017 Iron Bowl as GameDay was on hand and he said there were a lot of “rumblings” from insiders that if Alabama won, it’d be a mutual parting of the ways for Malzahn, and he would go to Arkansas.
“There are a lot of things that I think the relationship was better than the people who didn’t like it thought that it was, at least in terms of being successful — it was more successful, I should say, than people thought it was,” Davis said. “But it had just come time for a change in many peoples’ eyes.”
Davis added that South Carolina surprised him a little, but overall, he didn’t think this many programs would pay this much for coaches to go away, and he included Texas in that group as well.