Kirk Herbstreit says Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach 'should be embarrassed'

Erik Hall
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

ESPN "College GameDay" aired from the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Friday morning, and the cast of the show had some strong words on the brawl that transpired Thursday at the end of the Armed Forces Bowl between Mississippi State and Tulsa. 

"You look at this fight, and it's a bad thing for college football. This shouldn't happen — everybody can understand that," said Rece Davis, the host of "College GameDay." "The bigger picture of this, Kirk, is for Mississippi State particularly — first year under Mike Leach — who are you going to be? What's your program going to be about? Is it going to be about this chippiness and false bravado and making videos in the locker room celebrating a fight? Or are you going to maybe pull an upset here or there? Or are you going to be about football? It's a crossroads moment. Mississippi State has some questions to answer about the direction of their program after this. And Tulsa should look into this as well."

College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit wasn't any softer with his language when he described his thoughts on what occurred. 

"I think we all agree this is an embarrassment — not just for these two teams but for college football," Herbstreit said. "We've all been around the game. There are fights in football. But to this level — where the police are coming in and people need to be arrested — there needs to be consequences to send a message, not just to these coaches and to these players, but to the entire country that this will not be tolerated. I don't know who that would be. I hope the powers to be will drop some serious fines on the coaches and drop some suspensions on some of these players."

College football analyst Desmond Howard put a lot of blame on the Mississippi State and Tulsa coaching staffs for not doing enough to prevent the fight from happening. 

"I agree with you 100 percent. It's embarrassing for college football," Howard said. "It's not a good look for either program. ... You knew that this was brewing. You knew that it was coming. I don't understand — where was Mike Leach, where was his coaching staff at the end of the game — where you can see this coming and say, 'Listen guys, make sure that you go out there and conduct yourselves like professionals.' And make sure you're in a position that this won't happen. ... And the same thing for Tulsa, because they participated just as much. ... It's unnecessary." 

College football analyst David Pollack called for swift justice for those involved in the fight. 

"The fact that you jump up and cleat somebody, you should be kicked out of the sport," Pollack said. "Like, go away. That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen on a football field. That's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen on a football field. You don't change anything about the game — you still won, you still lost. You don't get any tougher. You don't get anything out of this kind of behavior. ... You embarrassed your football team, you embarrassed your coaches, your fans. It's a straight embarrassment of everything about it. It's poor." 

ESPN broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit during the 106th Rose Bowl between the Oregon Ducks and the Wisconsin Badgers at Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1, 2020.

Herbstreit closed the segment with some strong words about Mississippi State football head coach Mike Leach. 

"Mike Leach should be embarrassed," Herbstreit said. "His postgame interview and what he said, 'Hey, it's football. Hey, it's physical. It's going to happen.' Are you kidding me Mike?! You should be embarrassed about your program and what it did. ... This is a black eye for the sport. Maybe you don't care about the sport, dude. It's as bad as it could be watching that for people that are sitting around watching college football and that breaks out. It's another black eye for college football."

Here's more Mississippi State football news: 

Mississippi State defeated Tulsa 28-26 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday.

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik