There sure has been a lot of blogging lately about ranking the coaches in the SEC.
- College Football Resource
- Orange and Blue Hue
- Georgia Sports Blog
- Georgia Fanhouse (a six part series!)
are just a few (Westerdawg links to several more posts on the subject).
Rather than retrace everyone else’s steps, I thought I’d throw out some of my bests, worsts and other notables among the coaches, in no particular order.
- Best recruiter – Urban Meyer. Yeah, he has a great program to sell, but so did Spurrier and the Zooker. Meyer has taken things up a notch in the last two years at UF.
- Worst recruiter – Sylvester Croom. He got handed a shit sandwich to start with, no doubt. But he’s three years in now and the talent level there doesn’t seem to have been upgraded much, if at all.
- Biggest asshole – Steve Spurrier. Sure, Fulmer can be less than gracious with opponents and Tuberville has his moments, too. But the Evil Genius is still the gold standard in this category. Moving to a lesser program like South Carolina hasn’t diminished his arrogance and charm one bit.
- Best CEO – Urban Meyer, Tommy Tuberville and Mark Richt (tie). All have taken solid programs with plenty of resources and raised the performance levels in Gainesville, Auburn and Athens over their immediate predecessors. All three recruit well, hire good assistants and do the PR thing that a modern day head coach needs to handle to keep the supporters of the program happy, or, at least, at bay.
- Worst CEO – Houston Nutt. If I have to explain why, you’ve been living in a box somewhere for the past two months. The sad thing is, I’m not really sure if they could do better if Nutt left.
- Luckiest – Urban Meyer. Let’s face it, he played the same hand that Richt had in’02 and actually not as good a hand as Tuberville had to play in ’04. But he’s the guy that got to go to the Big Dance because he only had one undefeated team ahead of his in the end.
- Best addition to the lexicon – Sylvester Croom. When “croomed” makes Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary, you know it’s arrived.
- Best Strategerist – Steve Spurrier. Okay, things didn’t work out in the pros, for whatever reason. But at the college level, he’s shown himself to be the embodiment of the Bear Bryant adage about taking his and beating yours and vice versa. I’m still amazed that he beat Tennessee and Florida in his first season in Columbia.
- Worst Strategerist – I’m not sure about this one anymore. Mike Shula would have been named here in a flash if he were still at ‘Bama. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current SEC coach that can live up to his legacy of letting key players suffer horrendous injuries in meaningless circumstances (although if Prothro doesn’t get hurt in the Florida game, Shula is still the coach there, so maybe there is some karma at work). I guess I’ll say Les Miles for the moment, since he pissed away the most talent in the SEC this past season with two losses (3 lousy points against Auburn?).
- Doesn’t get enough credit – Bobby Johnson. He’s coaching at the SEC equivalent of Duke or Stanford. Except he’s in a much tougher conference. His college president doesn’t believe in a normal athletic department. Despite all that, he’s done a decent job of fielding competitive teams in the past couple of years. And that knock on him that he didn’t win enough with Jay Cutler? How many of those people knew about Jay Cutler when he enrolled at Vandy in the first place?
- Gets too much credit – Houston Nutt. Sure, it’s in the middle of nowhere and his AD is the biggest meddler in the conference. But the facilities in Fayetteville are first rate and he has no real in state competition for talent. His good years are generally the result of weak schedules and/or good fortune (2002 ‘Bama on probation, McFadden turning out to be a freak of nature). You see his name pop up all the time for other HC jobs – Nebraska, for one, and now supposedly he’s being considered for the Cowboys’ HC job – why?
- Nobody asked you – Tommy Tuberville. He’s the kid that sat on the front row in sixth grade and irritated his classmates. He always seems to be there with the smarmy advice. (“You gotta run the ball to win in the SEC. He’ll learn.”) ‘Fess up now: whenever you read the quotes from that anonymous coach in the preseason magazines that are critical of other coaches in the conference, isn’t his the first name that pops into your head as the source?
- Wouldn’t say shit if he had a mouthful – Mark Richt. I wonder what he really thinks of Michael Adams.
- What did he say? – Ed Orgeron.