I was going to let Ed Cunningham's comments on Mike Leach pass on by because they weren't worth the attention, but now that the video has kind of gone viral, we should probably discuss it. Cunningham was on College Football Live on Tuesday, "breaking down" the coaching hires this offseason. I use the term loosely: Cunningham managed to make himself sound like a fool in short order while picking out his best and worst college football hires of the year.
Here's Cunningham calling Leach the worst hire in college football. Now seems like a great time to link Bill Connelly's rankings of this offseason's coaching hires.
Transcript and more after the jump
"The worst was Washington State and Mike Leach. The wheels were coming off for Leach at Texas Tech before he was let go there. Set aside the Adam James issue, whether "he said, he said," whatever happens there. But I happen to know that he completely lost control of that program. A lot of the players wondering what was going on. He was late to meetings. He often didn't come to the office until one or two in the afternoon. So, I think Mike Leach's time as a head coach is over and I think Washington State really stretched with this hire."
The perception here will be simple: Cunningham works for ESPN, a company Leach is suing, and is shilling for the higher-ups or perhaps trying to discredit Leach. Yes, I understand Cunningham played football for the Washington Huskies -- on the 1991 National Championship team, no less -- and works for ESPN, but these are convenient, and perhaps petty, crutches to attack his arguments.
I'm going a different route: Cunningham just doesn't have a damn clue what he's talking about and is taking a contrarian view on purpose. It's well known ESPN encourages its announcers to take stances outside the box and in opposition to the masses in an effort to promote discussion -- often times heated discussion. In this case, we have Cunningham choosing Tim Beckman as the best hire, which is odd enough in itself even before the Leach noise.*
*Real quickly, let's all remember Kansas hired Charlie Weis. Think about that, let it sink in, then realize it's absolutely impossible for Leach to have been the worst hire this year.
Which is why I'm convinced that a combination of factors, including Cunningham deciding to essentially troll everybody, led to his spectacular case of idiocy. Were he to put together a well reasoned argument against Leach, I'd understand. Spouting off that he knows inside information and opining that Leach is done as a head coach, however, doesn't form the solid foundation of an argument.
Perhaps Cunningham was hopping aboard the contrarian train to be the guy screaming "I was right" on the off chance things fall apart. Or perhaps he truly believes Tim Beckman was the best hire this year and Mike Leach was the worst. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on his abilities as an analyst.