Pearl's ESPN visit includes UT-Vandy debate with Bayless

Vanderbilt graduate and ESPN analyst Skip Bayless showed no mercy, but Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl held his own in a nationally televised debate Wednesday.

"I was schooled to despise everything orange in Tennessee, so I hate you, but welcome,'' Bayless said, opening the head-to-head discussion on "First Take," broadcast on ESPN2.

Pearl's appearance on the morning program was the first of many stops for him at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn. He also did ESPN News, an ESPNU recruiting show and radio shows with Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb.

The 7 1/2-minute debate with Bayless, however, was among the more entertaining moments of the day.

Bayless is a decorated veteran journalist who specializes in arguing sports topics, often insulting his opponent with verbal barbs that sometimes get personal.

Pearl was too intent on using the platform to promote the UT men's basketball program to be intimidated.

"When you're dealing with the national media, it does provide you with some credibility,'' Pearl said. "There are a lot of intangible benefits.

"I understand the value of getting up at 5 a.m. to take a commercial flight up there and keep Tennessee out there.''

Pearl took a stand for college basketball in his debate with Bayless, arguing the merits of the NCAA tournament versus the NBA playoffs.

"Number one is the sense of urgency,'' Pearl said, ". . . the student-athlete might be playing the last college game of his career . . . an (NBA) playoff series might take two weeks.''

Bayless interjected a verbal jab: "You're good at spewing boloney, spew some more.''

Pearl, slightly ruffled, continued.

"You have 65 game sevens, that points to the sense of urgency,'' Pearl said. "Who is the Cinderella in the NBA playoffs?''

Bayless argued the level of play is higher in the NBA playoffs and that the NCAA tournament is "wildly" exciting for all the wrong reasons with games in random locations at random times with "strange" referees.

"Let me ask you a question. How many bracketologists are there that fill out their NBA brackets?'' Pearl countered. "How many guys take off the weekend from work just to watch the opening round?''

Bayless cleverly used UT's loss to Michigan State to drive home his key point: "amateurish" officiating in the NCAA tournament.

"J.P. Prince, he got all ball on Raymar (Morgan), you know it and I know it," Bayless said, referring to the controversial foul called with 1.8 seconds left that enabled the Spartans to advance to the Final Four. "They took the game out of the kids' hands, and they let him (Morgan) shoot free throws to beat you."

Pearl said "nine times out of 10, that's a foul. Michigan State got the ball in there too deep," and that ". . . we lost the game because we didn't get back on defense."

Bayless finished his argument: "Was it a foul?"

Pearl's reply: "No, but I woulda called it.''

Pearl said he was impressed with the ESPN facilities and enjoyed meeting many of the broadcasters, producers, directors and executives.

"We were able to talk about future scheduling, the properties (tournaments) they own like Maui, Orlando and the Big East/SEC Challenge," Pearl said. "Maintaining the contacts and relationships is important for future scheduling. It was a great experience."

On The Spot: Pearl was asked prior to his "First Take" debate if he would mind arguing Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt basketball with Bayless.

"I told them I wasn't comfortable doing that," Pearl said. "But then they asked anyway."

Pearl, who has referred to Bayless as "Vandy Skip," didn't hold back once provoked.

"Head to head against them, we have a winning record; they've beaten us at our place one time, we beat them at their place a couple times," Pearl said. "Over the last three or four years we've won seven NCAA tournament games; over the last three years Vanderbilt hasn't won a game.

"We average 20,000 (attendance), they average about 12. We play on a court where the benches are actually on the sidelines, not in the end zone. . . . I think our program is ahead of Vanderbilt's."

Both men had their voices raised as the debate continued with Bayless countering.

"My trump card here is that my coach, Kevin Stallings, would never stoop to painting his chest gold and sitting in the student section," he said. "Second of all, we beat you both times this year. And third of all, Duke gets all the best smart kids; while our academic admission standards are so severe that we have a limit to how many talented kids we can recruit, so we consistently do more with less than you do."

Pearl closed the discussion.

"Kevin Stallings does a phenomenal job," he said, "but I'm telling you right now, if there's a Tennessee kid with a chance to go to Tennessee or Vanderbilt, he's going to Tennessee."

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Comments » 61

Give_It_My_ALL writes:

i really dont like skip bayless and prolly never will... just sayin

brianarauch#206642 writes:

Go get em Bruce!

murrayvol writes:

Way to hang Bruce. Points for the Vols.

ruffbunch#253882 writes:

first at being second!!

thevoice writes:

Bayless didn't play an ounce of college basketball. What a goob.

uwishuwereassmartasme (Inactive) writes:

Pearl should have given him a piledriver!

bugman (Inactive) writes:

lmao these analyst..got to love them

keepitreal4vols writes:

Bruuuuuuuuuuuce!!!!!!!

volfan53 writes:

Those who can do, those who can't make rude comments and pretend they know more than anybody. Sound like anybody you know? I'll let you Skip a second before you guess. What a bonehead. I have never liked his comments and his degrading manner of debating. When you have to fall back on calling names or saying things you know are not true it just shows how ignorant you really are.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

in response to burntorangeVOLffle:

Thanks for a link KNS...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/featur...

Nevermind its not the Bayless clip. Sorry.

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

Bayless is such a tool. I've never met a person who is actually a fan of the guy.

RockyTopVolFan writes:

Bayless... a typical Vandy dolt with too many bucks in the bank waiting for a Vol to relieve him of them. Wanna Bet me Mr. Bayless?

Porterhouse writes:

Bayless is ok. He is what they pay him to be. It was fun sports TV and we come out of it ahead of where we went into it.

Titan writes:

So Skip - when is Stallings going to get invited to ESPN to do the show? Answer that question and that tells you which program is more prominent and relevant.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Stallings is a helluva coach. He really does have a very good sense of humor, too.

The best thing about vandy is they give us another rivalry game.

The worst thing about vandy: wasn't there fault, but having to play them just after beating Memphis AT memphis was damned near impossible. I think we would have stayed No. 1 longer if we'd have had a bit of a break.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

BTW, I think we need a 'challenge' instant replay. A coach gets one challenge, and it costs him a timeout. Period.

If he has no timeouts, no challenge.

kb7398#233189 writes:

For lack of a better term...Skip sucks...

69grad writes:

Skip Bayless is an insufferable little prik who is of questionable gender selection.

HOSSFLY writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you are right on........i grew up in nashville and it is a great town. and i have a certain distain for the school on west end ave that has only grown larger with the passing years. all orange baby !!!!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

Vandy people are the Judge Smails of the world. Elitists with no idea of how things work outside the 6-8 block area on West End.

"You'll have nothing and like it."

mocsandvolsfan writes:

When I was a young college kid UT Chattanooga we looked forward to Vandy because it was an SEC team we had a shot at beating...well football but also UTC probably could have beaten them in basketball. We hung with SEC bball back then in the late 70s. Today I think Shulman (UTC) would dread playing UT or Vandy. They were both great teams this year. UT should not have lost to Vandy twice. But we (UT) proved to be the better team in the end. Like Pearl said, our program is better.
UT has a pretty good academic program (world-wide) but I just don't believe we get those "academic" players like Vandy. Smarts can take a team a long way if you also have physical ability. Of course we're talking traditional smarts not street smarts. Both are important to survive I suppose.
Heh heh . I don't claim a whole lot of neither!

feathersax writes:

Three little words, all of which apply to Skippy & his commode-door best boys: SAME OLD VANDY

VOLinATL writes:

in response to thevoice:

Bayless didn't play an ounce of college basketball. What a goob.

I didn't think Bruce did either...did he? Besides, Skip is paid to be a jerk. It's supposedly "entertainment".

mogreer_tn#213464 writes:

in response to 69grad:

Skip Bayless is an insufferable little prik who is of questionable gender selection.

There should be no question about his gender selection; you can always figure out which athletics he has a Man Crush on during his debates.

I'm not mad at him, just saying. I will say that I don't like him, but not mad.

Brillovol writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are entirely too correct! The "West End Attitude" as I like to call it spreads like a disease to the rest of the city. Growing up in eastern-middle TN, I had the "poor Vandy" attiude about them. Since I've moved to Nashville, it's very different. The uppity attitude begins the second you get off of I-40 on Broadway and continues well on down past the campus. It goes well beyond sports but is true there as well. It's everywhere from the restaurants to the sporting goods stores. I never dreamed that in the state of TN, I would be scoffed at for being a fan of the state school. It's as if I'm a redneck hick for wearing an orange shirt around here. My wife was scorned for not rooting for Vandy! The old Jerry DiNardo comments that got the Orange riled up is closer to their attitude than you would like to think.

No wonder I always liked Woody Paige over Skip Bayless when they used to debate...

TraitorLane writes:

It's interesting if you watch ESPN-U that they have a glass case with various b-ball jerseys. One of them is a Duke jersey, another a Tennessee jersey. I didn't see a Vanderbilt jersey in there though.

aces1424 writes:

"Kevin Stallings does a phenomenal job," he said, "but I'm telling you right now, if there's a Tennessee kid with a chance to go to Tennessee or Vanderbilt, he's going to Tennessee."

So I guess John Jenkins forgot he was from Tennessee? No. 10 SG in the nation last year chose Vandy over UT. Pearl better watch what he says, because every time he opens his mouth now he can't keep his ego from spilling out over everyone.

UTisaJOKE writes:

in response to thevoice:

Bayless didn't play an ounce of college basketball. What a goob.

But I guess you did? Let's hear your basketball credentials.

Volunatic writes:

I used to enjoy the Bayless vs Paige debates on "Cold Pizza".

volsunited writes:

in response to aces1424:

"Kevin Stallings does a phenomenal job," he said, "but I'm telling you right now, if there's a Tennessee kid with a chance to go to Tennessee or Vanderbilt, he's going to Tennessee."

So I guess John Jenkins forgot he was from Tennessee? No. 10 SG in the nation last year chose Vandy over UT. Pearl better watch what he says, because every time he opens his mouth now he can't keep his ego from spilling out over everyone.

Jenkins specifically said he didn't look at UT because Hopson was ahead of him at SG. Pretty simple, same reason pinkston didnt come here

FearTheVols1252 writes:

I love it when analysts who don't even play the game (or never have) debate an inidivual who lives it!

rusty_shackleford writes:

I don't like Bayless' "style of journalism". It's kinda like a comedian that can't write anything funny so he falls back to genitalia jokes.

VolunteerLifer writes:

"....while our academic admission standards are so severe that we have a limit to how many talented kids we can recruit, so we consistently do more with less than you do."

How many times will we hear from the whining, sniveling Commodores (Who the hell would name their team Commodores, any way?) that they are too smart to compete in the SEC? Didn't allowing their jocks to go to Peabody take care of that? And if they really think they are at such a terrible disadvantage, then they should get the hell out of the SEC so they can compete somehwere else without whining all the time and without a built in excuse for the failures that they are. There are lots of other schools that would like to be in the SEC, and most of them I'd rather have than Vandy, so Vandy should just leave so we don't hear them whining and sniviling every damn day.

Skip Bayless is an arse. "I was schooled to despise everything orange in Tennessee, so I hate you, ...,'' The feeling is mutual, jerk. And if Vandy wasn't so irrelevant in everything, I'd hate them even more than I do.

Volunatic writes:

in response to volsunited:

Jenkins specifically said he didn't look at UT because Hopson was ahead of him at SG. Pretty simple, same reason pinkston didnt come here

Well said, but I think you might need to change your posting moniker, VolsUnited. I was about to abbreviate it to "VU" in my response, until I realized how insulting that would have been. ;-)
GO VOLS!!!

Biggie writes:

It was good radio. Very entertaining., Coach Pearl handled it well.
Bayless, well....just consider the source

eldr5#344719 writes:

Bayless makes his living being a facetious little jerk! Surely he could respect himself more just writing for SI or a big newsie. You have to think he has plenty of money by now.

Kybasser writes:

Way to go Coach Pearl. Bayless doesn't deserve the spot he gets on ESPN. I figure he must have some embarassing photos of some of their execs.

I followed you at USI, then in Wisconsin Green Bay, and had hoped you would be brought to UK. You went to UT, and I still enjoy your coaching, and pull for you every game, except of course, when you are playing the Wildcats. You make the SEC a much better league.

Oh, by the way, I agree Coach Stallings is a good coach, but as for him not being willing to paint his chest... well I think it is the difference between having a personality and not....LOL

Here's a UK fan looking forward to seeing your games next year, except for at least the two regular season, and likely the SEC tournament games. Would love to see UT and UK in the Nationa finals!!!

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to aces1424:

"Kevin Stallings does a phenomenal job," he said, "but I'm telling you right now, if there's a Tennessee kid with a chance to go to Tennessee or Vanderbilt, he's going to Tennessee."

So I guess John Jenkins forgot he was from Tennessee? No. 10 SG in the nation last year chose Vandy over UT. Pearl better watch what he says, because every time he opens his mouth now he can't keep his ego from spilling out over everyone.

How far did Jenkins carry that team this year? ONE AND DONE against Murray freaking State.
I'll take Pearl over the arrogant F-Bomb dropper Stallings any day of the week.

Southland writes:

Vandy students are the most disgusting bunch of folks I have ever been around besides Ky basketball fans.

volfan112 writes:

in response to Southland:

Vandy students are the most disgusting bunch of folks I have ever been around besides Ky basketball fans.

Don't forget Florida football fans.

volfan2002 writes:

It was nice of Pearl to talk to Skip Brainless. Arguing Vandy has a better program however is ridiculous. Were definitely ahead of them and it is not just admission standards.

OldVols68 writes:

in response to Give_It_My_ALL:

i really dont like skip bayless and prolly never will... just sayin

Now that I know where his loyalty lies I am with you. I never could stand him, but didn't know exactly why...now I know....:)

mivol writes:

If Vandy is so academically exclusive, how did Bayless get in?

woodwr#217203 writes:

During that ICE time out, we all HOPE rebound or play real defense was discussed.

It is not like Scotty Hopson shoots free throws as well as say Wayne Chism.

Michigan State would never have been in the lead, if JP Price hadn't been sitting with three fouls he DID commit for too many minutes.

dbc5361 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

"....while our academic admission standards are so severe that we have a limit to how many talented kids we can recruit, so we consistently do more with less than you do."

How many times will we hear from the whining, sniveling Commodores (Who the hell would name their team Commodores, any way?) that they are too smart to compete in the SEC? Didn't allowing their jocks to go to Peabody take care of that? And if they really think they are at such a terrible disadvantage, then they should get the hell out of the SEC so they can compete somehwere else without whining all the time and without a built in excuse for the failures that they are. There are lots of other schools that would like to be in the SEC, and most of them I'd rather have than Vandy, so Vandy should just leave so we don't hear them whining and sniviling every damn day.

Skip Bayless is an arse. "I was schooled to despise everything orange in Tennessee, so I hate you, ...,'' The feeling is mutual, jerk. And if Vandy wasn't so irrelevant in everything, I'd hate them even more than I do.

Moronic Post.
How many times have you heard Stallings or Bobby Johnson cry about tougher academic standards?
Tennessee is like the Yankees of MLB without all the championships. UT has an unlimited athletic budget and accepts the same 6th grade reading level, rated 4 or 5 star players that every other "state" school has.
You want to talk about leaving the SEC? Who won both matchups this season? Which school last won a football bowl game? Who's better in baseball year in and year out?
You can't live off 1998 forever..... Lane Kiffin didn't think much of winning a title 12 years ago.

dbc5361 writes:

in response to volsunited:

Jenkins specifically said he didn't look at UT because Hopson was ahead of him at SG. Pretty simple, same reason pinkston didnt come here

Jenkins has already done more than Hopson will do in his career.

Titan writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ease up - you obviously forget that a few years back, Vandy won the coveted bowling championship.

I think Vandy's stadium actually seats around 40k - of which 35k are usually wearing the other team's colors.

drummerman11 writes:

Anyone remember the days when you went to Peabody College for Teachers, but your "lousy" grades allowed you to play for Vandy? My, how soooon we forget!! Tennessee is Vandy's rival,..Vandy is not Tennessee's rival!...PERIOD!.....

justincredible369#357762 writes:

Bruce, you make me proud

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