I am shocked. Happy. Excited.
I, for the life of me, did not think in 100 years I would be expressing these emotions about MSU football. Not after Luke Fickell said “nah” and we took a look at what exactly is going on behind the curtain at MSU. Not after our first five options said “no” throughout the last week.
But here we are...one of those “no” guys turned into a “yes” man and albeit one that has me pretty, pretty jazzed. And I know I’m not the only one feeling that way.
Man, where on earth do I even begin? Let’s just start with what Mel brings to the table.
When Luke Fickell spurned us I was bummed because he represented three things – energy, recruiting and stability. Tucker gets us those first two – the 48-year-old head coach is as solid of a recruiter as they come. Back at Ohio State he recruited Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and four other first round picks from that team. This year at Colorado he hauled in a No. 35 nationally ranked recruiting class and the No. 7 ranked class in the PAC 12, which is the highest ever for Colorado since joining the conference in 2011. HE PROPOSED TO HIS WIFE AND SEALED THE DEAL ON THE FIRST DATE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
Now the stability part? Who knows, really. He’s been a head coach for one year. However, he leaves a trail of national championships as an assistant or coordinator and a time card full of experience at major programs and a decade in the NFL behind him. That’s a gamble that I’m beyond fine with.
Besides minimal head coaching experience, there was one other concern that I’ve already talked myself out of. It is the fact that he did just spurn Colorado for MSU. Who’s to say he won’t do the same at MSU at any given time?
Well…let’s start with the reported salary of $5.4 million. That’s not small potatoes. If a program from the SEC wants to come up and get him for a nice pay raise, that means he’s done great things in East Lansing to deserve that. It’s one thing to leave Boulder when you’re making $2.7 million. It’s another to leave a program giving you $5.4 million – and who’s to say MSU wouldn’t match other offers one day – and a reported $6 million-plus for the assistants pool.
Let’s talk about that massive assistant coaches salary pool. Last season there were eight programs that shelled out north of $6 million for their assistants. Eight. In the whole country.
Guys, MSU found their big boy pants, got them tailored and put them on for the whole nation to see. You want to make a splash and show the college football world you’re serious about this whole football thing? You doll out $6 million combined, which is a $1.1 million bump from the MSU staff last year. This leads to more up-and-coming coaches, better recruiters and a loud statement.
Also, and I know they’re probably not ever going to see this, but a huge thanks goes out to the big shot donors funneling money into East Lansing. This is obviously not possible without them opening their check books. I like to think my $700 season tickets had something to do with this but...let’s be honest, this is completely on the Huntington Club-and-up donors at MSU.
The Bruce Feldman article on The Athletic also stated a major emphasis being put on strength and conditioning. That can usually be a footnote in these sort of things, but when you’re coming off a few seasons of MSU’s injury report pretty much matching the depth chart…we are a little more keen to revel in it.
I can’t help but to put myself in the shoes of Colorado fans and players. This absolutely sucks for them and I feel awful – I won’t dance on their grave. I mean, their up-and-coming coach who just brought in a solid recruiting class and was schmoozing donors up until Tuesday night just got up and left. With that said…come on, guys. Tucker just saw his salary double and gets to come closer to his home and family that still lives in Ohio. What would you do in that situation?
Let’s just get this one negative tidbit out there – next year will still be pretty rough. I would be absolutely floored if this team got to seven wins. The Quick Lane Bowl might as well be the Rose Bowl next season. This will take a minute to clean up – give Tucker some time and don’t expect fireworks at Spartan Stadium next season.
Alright, back to being positive. Just like the complete sucker I am, I am back to being all-in. Going from writing off this program after seemingly out first 20 options said “no” to now having one of those top options come back and say yes? And not just say yes – but say yes to a school that’s now rolling out an assistant pay pool worth $6 million? With commitment to enhancing the strength and conditioning program?
This is like the girl that rejected you at the bar at midnight coming back to you at 2 a.m. Except now she’s holding a winning Mega Millions ticket too.
I’m all back in. The reports of MSU football’s death have been GREATLY exaggerated.
GO GREEN, BABY!