Mel Tucker leaving Colorado for Michigan State was seen as another example of the Pac-12 being unable to compete with the Big Ten or SEC. Especially when the Pac-12 previously lost Mike Leach to Mississippi State.
But Tucker and Leach did not leave USC, Oregon or Washington for those jobs. They didn’t even leave Arizona State or Utah.
That doesn’t mean the Pac-12 is not falling behind. It is.
But here’s a real example: Florida State spent $20 million on three buyouts when it fired Willie Taggart. USC couldn’t pull off around $12-15 million buyout for Clay Helton.
Michigan State did what it needed to do to hire Tucker. Florida State did what it needed to do to get rid of Taggart. USC did not do what it needed to do with Helton. It shrank. It hid. It made excuses.
When the crown jewel program of the Pac-12 is impotent, why would the smaller programs compete against the Big Ten or SEC?