Hugh Freeze’s dominant run at Liberty may be coming to an end sooner than we think. Freeze has the Flames at 8-1 with wins over Syracuse and Virginia Tech on the road. Their only loss came by one point at N.C. State.
Clay believes that Hugh Freeze could be the Bruce Pearl of SEC college football.
“So, I believe that Hugh Freeze is now poised, sitting at 8-1 at Liberty, to be the college football version of Bruce Pearl. A guy who got run out on his job has had to come back and redeem himself. And I think, whoever ends up hiring him, especially if it’s a Southeastern Conference football school, will have a tremendous amount of success, and he will win an SEC championship if the job is good enough.
“What I mean by that is, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. If I were the athletic director at Tennessee, and I was sitting around looking at the available coaching candidates right now, and I am looking at potentially going 3-7 in year three of Jeremy Pruitt, maybe 2-8. (And this changes, by the way, if Tennessee were to pull off a huge upset of Florida, or Tennessee were to pull off a huge upset of Texas A&M. Maybe I would have a different opinion about where the trajectory of the Tennessee football program is going.) But right now, Tennessee’s not playing against Vanderbilt this weekend. They are going to finish their season with three games in December. And I think there’s a very good chance that at best, Jeremy Pruitt’s going to be 3-7, and the team is going to have lost either seven games in a row or if they lose to Vanderbilt and go to 2-8, eight games in a row.
“And I’m a believer that when you know it’s the time to make the right decision, you can’t sit around and say, ‘Well, maybe things will get better next year.’ Because most of the time, how often does it happen where a coach who is right on the verge of getting fired, comes back the next year and makes you think, ‘Oh, you know what we were completely wrong to think about firing him in the first place’? By year three, you know. I just would submit to you that by year three, you know whether it’s the right guy or the wrong guy to run your program. Tennessee lost to Kentucky 34-7 or 14 or whatever the heck it was. It was a beat down. I think it was 34-7. Tennessee lost to Arkansas by double digits, gave up 24 points in the third quarter. Tennessee had no business losing either of those games. They have a more talented roster than both Arkansas and Kentucky.
“Tennessee choked away an opportunity to pull off an upset against Auburn. I don’t see it very likely against Florida or against Texas A&M. And so I think if you’re trying to win championships, the championship move is to go get Hugh Freeze. I believe he is the Bruce Pearl of college football. I think he would have the same level of success as Bruce Pearl has had.”
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 25, 2020