By now, many of you have seen this clip from ESPN's tour of the 50 states in regards to college football, but it certainly merits attention from any college football fan. It is absolutely shameful that ESPN - the supposed "World Wide Leader in Sports" - allowed an apparently ignorant Shaun King to provide such stupid answers to John Saunder's questions regarding the rich history of college football in Mississippi.
First off, I have no issue with naming Walter Payton the greatest college player in state history. With the sheer amount of incredible individual talent to come through the state through the years, it's an endless argument, but it's easy to make a case for Payton. The issues come with the other "history" questions King fields.
Calling the 1999 mittippi tate bulldogs the best team in state history is absolutely comical at best. Behind the brilliant coaching strategy of Mr. Cutcliffe, the Rebels gave the Egg Bowl away that year. And while the 10-2 record and a top 15 finish is nice, the Rebels 2003 team finished 7-1 in the SEC and was a painful loss to LSU away from an 8-0 record. That team or last year's Rebel team would have destroyed those '99 dogs.
ESPN has truncated the segment to not show the "best coach in state history" question, which is probably for the best. Of all the football coaches in the history of Mississippi, Shaun King proclaimed Sylvester "goo goo g'joob" Croom as the greatest. He of the 21-38 (10-30 SEC) career record. He of the one winning season in 5 years. He of the "be good or be gone" mantra, despite the Urban Myer-esque arrest numbers during his tenure.
The man was an absolute fraud... a clown propped up by the local media fascinated with his skin color. Even the most loyal of bulldog faithful were happy to see him axed because he just flat out couldn't coach. Or recuit. Or conjugate verbs correctly. He was an embarrasment and left the program in as equally as bad a shape as he inherited it.
Despite all of those acheivements, Shaun King proclaimed him the best coach in Mississippi's history. Not Johnny Vaught. Not Jeff Bower. Sylvester Croom.
John Saunders and Mike Lupica ruined The Sports Reporters with their personal agendas, so it's not surprising to see Saunders in on a stunt like this. Shaun King is new to the gig, so he was probably just doing what he was told. ESPN always had a fascination with Croom and this was just another way for them to sing his praises, which is not the easiest thing to do when you have a record like Croom's.