With reports surfacing that Michigan State will offer head football coach Mel Tucker a massive contract extension, one of the nation’s most recognizable sports talk show hosts weighed in on the developments.
Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, host of The Herd, praised the university and its donors for speaking with their wallets.
“Michigan State is doing something rare, and only Oregon has done this in the last 20 years,” Cowherd said. “Oregon was a solid, Tier 2 program, and then Phil Knight said, ‘We’re gonna go Tier 1’. Built a new stadium, best facilities, marketing, uniforms, coaches’ salaries – money solved it.”
The reported offer to Tucker is a 10-year, $95 million contract extension that would make Tucker the second-highest paid head coach in college football behind Nick Saban.
Cowherd said the move could move MSU from a “Tier 2” college football program to a “Tier 1” program.
“Michigan State’s going to sign Mel Tucker, a great young coach, to a nearly $100 million dollar deal. And that’s the only way – money – you go from ‘2’ to ‘1’,” Cowherd said. “Michigan State has always been a Tier 2. It’s a basketball school. It’s a Tier 2 [football] school.”
Cowherd also said that although Michigan State has gotten the better of Michigan on the football field for the last 15 years – winning 10 out of 15 matchups – that the Wolverines remain the superior program.
“Michigan State fans are confusing, ‘We’re winning games’ to ‘We’re the superior program,” Cowher said. “For…the last 15 years, Michigan State has dominated Michigan on the field. Now, from 1970 to about 2007, Michigan dominated Michigan State, and they are the superior program.
“Don’t confuse, ‘We’re winning games’ with ‘We’re Tier 1’. In the 1990s, UCLA dominated USC. In Los Angeles, USC will always be the Number 1 program. This year, Oklahoma State’s better, [but] Oklahoma will always be Number 1”
Cowherd pointed to the financial advantages that Michigan has over MSU as his major reason why the Wolverines remain the ahead of the Spartans as a program.
“Right now, Michigan gets on TV more. They’re part of the biggest rivalry in college football. It’s a football first school. They’ve always paid their coaches more,” Cowherd said. “Don’t confuse, ‘We’re beating them on the field’ to ‘We’re beating them in revenue’. Michigan makes $135 million dollars a year in revenue. They’re a richer football program than Michigan State.”
With this investment Michigan State is making in Mel Tucker, however, Cowherd said the university and its financial backers are changing the way they will be perceived moving forward.
“What happened to Oregon is happening to Michigan State,” Cowherd said. “Three of Michigan State’s biggest boosters are all-in on sports, and they’re building massive facilities. This is always been a school that if they have a great coach – Saban – they leave. What they’re saying is, ‘No, no we want to be Oklahoma. We want to be Michigan.’ You either retire, get fired or go to the NFL. But you don’t need to go anywhere else.”
Needless to say, Cowherd sees this as absolutely the right move for Michigan State, and he tipped his hat to the university leadership and financial donors for getting this done.
“Michigan State’s doing it,” Cowherd said. “I think they’ve got the right guy. I love Mel Tucker. But money solved it. They got three donors, they’re all rich and they all love sports. Congrats, Sparty.”