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Does the perception of the Pac-12 matter?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Arizona State at Arizona Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When you think of the Pac-12, defense may not be the first thing you think of. And new Colorado head coach Mel Tucker wants to change that.

“I don’t think it helps the Pac-12 (that) there are these stigmas, that it’s a ‘finesse’ league, ‘You don’t play defense,’” Tucker said, via the Denver Post. “I don’t think that helps anything.”

Tucker previously coached in the SEC and used the Pac-12’s reputation against the conference when recruiting.

“Whether you’re an offensive head coach or a defensive head coach, I think that’s a bad look on your (league), because (of what it implies). It’s like, ‘If you want to play real ball, play in the SEC. If you want to play in a tennis-shoes league, come on out here, toss it around a little bit and play flag football in the Pac.’ That ain’t good.”

Maybe perception does matter and defensive recruits don’t want to play in the Pac-12 because the style of play isn’t grinding it out in the trenches. I’ve never recruited a college football player before, so Tucker would know the impact better than I would, but I would argue most top recruits care more about 1. Winning 2. Getting to the NFL, than they do about the “stigma” of whether a conference is fun. Oklahoma — and the Big-12 — aren’t exactly known for defense these days, and the Sooners seem to be doing just fine.

I would argue winning, in any style, leads to success. If the Pac-12 won championships winning games 60-59, the “stigma” wouldn’t matter.

What do you think, does style of play and “stigma” really hurt the Pac-12?


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