All That and a Bag of Mail: Jon Gruden Rumors Hit Overload Edition

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 Chances are many of you are reading today’s mailbag with a bleary eyes.

That’s because the coaching search season drains productivity by approximately 48% across the South. (Note, this is a made up statistic that somehow seems completely accurate.)

Let me tell you what’s been going on in Knoxville — athletic director Dave Hart doesn’t want Jon Gruden to be Vols coach and lots of big Vol boosters do. Last night this conflict hit a crescendo when the Chattanooga Times Free-Press reported that Gruden had an offer. This morning UT leaked the information that Gruden had declined the job offer.

So what happened?

Dave Hart dropped the ball and didn’t pursue Jon Gruden like he should have.


The easy answer is because Hart didn’t think Gruden was the right choice and dragged his feet on the pursuit. The boosters, including Peyton Manning, had done the hard work to sell Gruden. All Hart had to do was make him the top Vol priority.

Instead Hart made it clear that Gruden wasn’t his top priority.

I’m completely baffled by this decision.

Was it because he doesn’t think Gruden would succeed in college? Because he didn’t believe Gruden would stay at Tennessee long enough? Because he was worried about not having enough power?

Maybe a combination of all three of these things?

It’s just unbelievable to me that Dave Hart didn’t have Gruden number one on his list.

But that seems to be the case.

Why has the Gruden pursuit been such a mess in terms of conflicting stories?

Because of this conflict in priorities. The Knoxville media has been getting the story from inside UT’s athletic department, which has been that Gruden isn’t going to happen. Meanwhile others, including this site, have been hearing from the Gruden camp.

It’s unbelievable to me that Dave Hart wasn’t willing to go all in with Jon Gruden, but that’s exactly what happened. He was looking for reasons to not get this deal done. He didn’t believe that Gruden would be UT’s Saban. As a result Dave Hart’s guy better be an absolute homerun.

Or Hart’s tenure on the Hill may be a short one as well.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is the kid with the Johnny Manziel haircut. He was sent home from high school this week for violating the school’s dress code.


On to the mailbag.

Thomas Clark tweets:

“Is this the greatest or the worst hype video ever?”


They had me with the rapping black midget.

Which leads me to this politically incorrect thesis that we’ve now proven true.

Thesis: if you start a video with a rapping black midget, it’s impossible to be bad.

I can’t wait for this game tomorrow.

I’ll be driving down to Atlanta in the morning. I think Bama wins, but I’d probably be inclined to take Georgia if you can get them +7.5. Nothing under that.

A billion of you on Twitter, who would I hire at UT:

This is my end of season list.

First, I would hire Gruden.

But if Gruden doesn’t get done:

1. James Franklin

The guy has a top fifteen recruiting class at Vandy and may win the most football games at the school in 100 years.

He would win huge at UT.


The risk here is that he would turn you down. But I think the payoff is so substantial he’d be worth the risk.

2. Bobby Petrino

See below for my rationale on why Auburn should hire him.

3. Charlie Strong

He’d recruit well and he’s low risk.

The worst thing he’d do is win eight or nine games a year.

4. Dan Mullen

I think he’s hit the ceiling at Mississippi State, but I believe he’d do really well in Knoxville.

He’s already won at historically high levels for one SEC program, why couldn’t he do it for another one?

5. Phil Fulmer

He’d bring back John Chavis and hire Tee Martin.

If you can’t get a guaranteed winner, why would you not pull a Bill Snyder and go back to Fulmer?

Taking an Al Golden or Jimbo Fisher or Larry Fedora or their ilk is still a pretty decent risk.

Anyway, this would be my five.

Tons of y’all on Twitter as well: 

“Clay, would you hire Bobby Petrino at Auburn?”



The only two reasons given for why Auburn shouldn’t hire Petrino are these:

1. The moral hang-up.

Are you kidding me?

Auburn fans were all in with buying Cam Newton and players robbing local homes as long as the team is winning. Now because a guy cheats on his wife they can’t root for him to win football games?


I don’t mind people who are moralists — although I think they should chill out — but what I really hate are hypocrites.

And right now Auburn fans arguing that the school can’t hire Petrino for moral reasons are complete and total hypocrites.

If monogamy was a prerequisite for head coaching, how many sidelines do you think would be empty come kickoff next season?

A whole hell of a lot.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t care who my football coach sleeps with. I care if he wins games.

Most Auburn fans are a lot like me. (Minus the gay muslim part).

2. What will everyone else think?

The national reaction here is so overrated.

We’re a forgiving society with a short memory. Typically overreactions occur when expectations are upset. That is, people overreact when something happens that’s much different than we’ve come to expect.

The best example of this is Charles Barkley getting arrested driving drunk while en route to pay a woman for sex?

No one even cared.

Guess what the message will be if Auburn hires Bobby Petrino: All Auburn really cares about is winning football games.

Guess what the national message already is about Auburn: All Auburn really cares about is winning football games.

If anything all this will do is confirm what people already believe.

Meaning there will hardly be any reaction at all.

Trust me on this, Auburn fans.

Hire Petrino.


Mike Connolly tweets:

“Does Notre Dame need to import some cute half naked girls so Teo can close the “photo with half naked chicks” gap?”


That’s why I keep expecting for pictures of Teo dressed as Thomas the Tank Engine and grinding on a stripper to hit the Internet any day.

Which would allow me to write this sentence that every parent of toddlers will think is hysterical and will leave the rest of you scratching your heads.

“Manti Teo is a very useful engine indeed.”

@hunterjohnson12 Tweets:

“What would be the ultimate SEC coaching search curveball that would cause the Internet to explode?”

I’ll give you my top five:

1. Saban to Auburn.

2. Derek Dooley gets into a fist fight with Jon Gruden at a Knoxville area Cracker Barrel.

3. Bill Belichick to Arkansas in the middle of this current season.

4. Lane Kiffin accepts the open job at Arkansas, Tennessee, or Auburn.  

5. Houston Nutt to Tennessee.

These are my top five, anyway, y’all may be able to beat these.

@catfan270 Tweets:

“Is there any fan base in the SEC that you haven’t pissed off yet? How do you plan to infuriate them?”

Ha, I don’t keep track of who loves me right now and who hates me. It fluctuates based on what I’ve said the most recently.

SEC fan bases are easy to piss off because I’m a truth-teller and most of the people they listen to or read are in the business of telling them exactly what they want to hear.

So when I say Arkansas is the ninth best job in the SEC, it’s not done to piss off Arkansas fans. It’s done because it’s true. Then Arkansas fans are in an outrage because no one in the local media can make a living in Arkansas if they say this.

Some people got on me for saying Notre Dame would be the 7th best team in the SEC. I’m not saying that because I hate Notre Dame, I’m saying it because I believe it’s true.

Now, do I also find it to incredibly entertaining to ridicule idiots?


That’s because dumb people get coddled in our society. Hell, everyone gets coddled because most media are in the business of trying not to offend people.

I’m the opposite, I don’t give a damn what you think of me.

My wife told me this a while back and she was completely right: The dumbest people in the world are so dumb that they think they’re actually the smart ones.

Once you realize that this is true, the Internet makes so much more sense.

She also tells me that it’s incredibly rare not to care what anyone else thinks about you.

So I guess I’m lucky?

Parker Hendricks Tweets:

“If you made everyone in Alabama and Arkansas take a IQ test, what state would be higher?”

Great question.

According to this site, just 18.8% of Arkansas residents have college degrees. That ranks 50th in the United States.

Alabama is 46th in the nation with 22.3% of its residents having college degrees.

Now, having a college degree is not a direct sign of intelligence. My grandfather dropped out of school in the eighth grade and was brilliant. But by and large people with college degrees tend to be smarter than people without college degrees, right? I mean, that’s not a ridiculous statement in a broad context.

But according to the 2003 census, Alabama was 46th and Arkansas was 44th in percentage of high school graduates. They were both near 80%.

Again, there are exceptions, but I think most people would agree that high school graduates tend to be smarter than non-high school grads.

Given that Alabama has substantially more college degree holders and close to the same number of high school grads, I think Alabama would score higher on a statewide IQ test than Arkansas would.

A.B. Holloday Tweets:

“Three sitcoms you have to finish an episode of if you stumble across during channel surfing.”

1. Seinfeld

2. Saved By the Bell

3. Fresh Prince of Bel Air

@derilicious75 Tweets:

“Have you ever used the line “My eyes hurt, can we turn off the lights?” As a way to score with the ladies?”

I’ve been married eight years.

I can barely remember when I was single.

The only time my wife really wanted to sleep with me was when she wanted to get pregnant. And she got pregnant in like a month. I should have gotten a vasectomy and not told her. (Imagine if men could easily go on birth control. Be honest, how many of you married men would use the birth control to have more sex? Especially once you knew that your sperm worked and you’d already had one kid. Having six months of her demanding sex would have been outstanding).

After year five I asked my wife why she didn’t wear lingerie more often and she said, “Because you’re just going to take it off.”

You’ve got a lot to look forward to single men. 

We’ll see you guys tomorrow for the CBS Drinking Game.  

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.