Is there a “10 Worst” List of “10 Worst” Lists?

If not, there should be.

It’s been a little while since I’ve directed any attention Heisman Pundit’s way, but the man who came up with the most subjective rating system for top college offenses ever has caught my eye with his list of the ten worst head coaches in college football.

It’s exactly the kind of showing you’d expect from someone who firmly believes the SEC is overrated (isn’t recruiting part of being a good head coach?) and fairly alien to cutting edge offensive strategy.

But here’s the part that’s pure comedy gold.

8. Will Muschamp, Florida – How can Muschamp be on this list when he hasn’t even coached a game as head coach yet? Well, I’m basing it on his decision making process so far, namely going back to an NFL-style offense that doesn’t take advantage of the incredible spread talent he has on hand.  I think by this time next year, he’ll have earned his way on this list by virtue of his team’s performance on the field, but for now call this a predictive placement.

That’s right – dude hasn’t stepped on his first sideline as a head coach yet and he’s already one of the worst because he hired Charlie Weis.  That’s not even the best part, though.  Care to guess what school HP added to his Gang of Six list in 2006, kicking Meyer-less Utah off to do so?

Look at Gang of Six member Notre Dame as a perfect example. In 2004’s system, they were shit. In 2005 with a new system, they are very good. What is the common denominator?

So Charlie Weis was successful enough to justify being in HP’s good graces in 2006, but is now the excuse to pound Florida?  Evidently so.

… You see, the Weis system requires that the quarterback be a statue.  A mobile quarterback might actually gain yards via a designed run or through the improvisation of his feet instead of, say, checking down as taught and making a play with his arm (thus rendering pointless Weis’s tutelage).

But, see, it’s not Charlie Weis that’s different.  It’s college football.

… But Quinn played for Notre Dame and, besides, college football offenses have changed quite a bit since then–as has the perception of what constitutes a good offense and a good player.

I’m not sure what annoys me more about all of this nonsense – that HP’s made me defend Charlie Weis, or that he’s compiled a worst coaches list without Mike Locksley’s name on it.

************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Elkon isn’t impressed with HP’s list, either.

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86 Comments

Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., The Blogosphere

86 responses to “Is there a “10 Worst” List of “10 Worst” Lists?

  1. My favorite line: “You could put a potted plant on the sideline at Tiger Stadium and get the same results Miles has gotten for LSU.” Apparently this guy has never heard of Gerry DiNardo or Curley Hallman.

  2. James Stephenson

    You know. I get tired of these college people who think the spread is all that. If it were so much better, most teams in the NFL would be running it. Just think 20 years ago, the Run and Shoot was all the rage, and this guy would have been preaching its superiority to the NFL game and other old fashioned College offenses. Yet, once the Run and Shoot went truly to the NFL, the NFL defenses figured it out and it died there. And for the most part in College as well.

    Same thing will happen to the spread. Alabama won the NC just 2 years ago using a conventional 2 back offense. Why, because it is only the most successful offense in football at the moment.

    • Alabama is the only team since ’05 to win a national title running an offense that had a base largely devoid of spread principles. In fact eight of the last 12 teams to play in the national title game since ’05 ran spread-based offenses, and Ohio State’s 2006 passing game had a lot of spread to it too. Every one of the top 10 teams in total offense from 2010 heavily used spread concepts in their passing games if not their running games too. That to me doesn’t suggest a trend away from the effectiveness of spread offenses.

      NFL teams don’t run spread option because they invest ungodly amounts of money in quarterbacks and therefore don’t want them taking the beating they’d get as a primary ball carrier. However, spread-based passing attacks are becoming more and more popular on that level. Eight of the last 10 Super Bowl participants heavily used spread passing sets.

      Spread offenses are here to stay, and they’re unlikely to become extinct. They’re just too useful with the right personnel ever to vanish.

      • James Stephenson

        Florida did not run the spread when they won with Chris Leak under center. In fact, they changed their Offense to a pro-style to suit their QB.

        When was the last team to run a spread and win the NC that did not have an ungodly sized QB. Vince Young Huge, Tim Tebow Huge, Russel Huge, Newton Huge.

        So basically you need a TE sized QB to win the NC with a spread.

        I still say if a team in the NFL adopted it, the answer would be found quick and then it would be regulated to second tier status Offenses like, the Option and Run and Shoot. Where you can be really successful if a few teams do it and defenses don’t have a lot of time to prepare for it.

        • Yes, yes they did. Florida did run a spread offense with Chris Leak. It was more of a passing spread, but it absolutely was a spread offense. Also, JaMarcus Russell wasn’t LSU’s quarterback in 2007; it was the moderately-sized Matt Flynn (listed 6’2″, 225 by the Packers, his current employer). No one would ever confuse him with a tight end, nor would they with national title game participant Oregon’s current QB Darron Thomas (6’3″, 215). Or Sam Bradford, who took his spread offense running Oklahoma to the NCG in 2008, or Colt McCoy who took Texas to the NCG in 2009.

          If you want examples of NFL teams using some spread option, search for Brad Smith highlights on YouTube. The Jets have been using him in spots as a running quarterback to great effect.

          As I said though, NFL teams are using pass-based spreads right now and have been for years. It’s not a matter of if an NFL team ran a spread, they’re doing it right now.

          • James Stephenson

            And everyone of those teams had awesome Defenses. Everyone, hint, it ain’t the spread wining the championships, its the Defense. And a spread passing game has been around since before the run and shoot.

            A college spread has a QB that runs a lot, and only 1 team actually needed its running QB to win the game for them, Auburn, who had a horrible Defense and a tank at QB. A spread passing game, with a running game compliment is not the spread as we see it in College. The closest it ever came in the pros was the Falcons at times with Vick. And even with Vick’s crazy speed, the Defenses were figuring it out.

            Spread offenses don’t win championships, Defense wins championships and the last 5 years proves that more than anything, unless you are going to tell me the 2007 LSU D was not good, or the OU Defense was not good in 2001. Question, how many teams with so-so defenses and normal sized QBs running the spread have won the National Championships?

            The Spread is not the path to a championship. It is as it always has been, play Defense.

            • Scott

              “A college spread has a QB that runs a lot”

              are you saying that Mike Leach’s offense isn’t a spread? it’s not a spread-option offense, but it’s a spread nonetheless. look at the top offenses in the country the last 5 years and you will see that most are some version of the spread, be it run-heavy or pass-heavy.

              and yes, championship teams have very good defenses. a good defense is part of what makes a successful team. so what are you trying to say?

              • James Stephenson

                No it seems that people seem to think the only way to win in College Football is have a spread type offense. But like you said there are spreads and there are spreads. A spread that passes a lot is similar to the spreads in the NFL. Which I do not even put in the same category of the spread option that everyone is falling in love with.

                No my point is, no team with out a battering ram QB and a so-so Defense is going to win a championship, using the spread option. The two times UF won the NC in the 2000s their Defense was stellar and I think that a Power I could have won it all with those D’s.

                Then he points out the spread teams that won it all, and I point out those spread teams won either because of the battering ram QB or the fact they play great Defense.

                So my theory is, Offense is important but if you don’t have some Defense you best have a spread offense with a 6’5 250 pound QB or you will probably get beat in championship.

      • Emory Bellard

        The Wishbone Offense is the future of college football and is definitely here to stay.

        • Bob Devaney

          Power I-formation. Absolutely the best and will dominate college football forever.

          • Knute Rockne

            Wing T. That’s the real offense that will always rule college football.

            • Gen. Bob Neyland

              Naw, it’s the Single Wing that will be the dominate offense in college football forever.

              • Walter Camp

                I’m tellin’ ya it’s the T Formation that is the formation that will last forever. Nothin’ will ever replace it.

                • Vince Lombardi

                  Winning offensive football at any level is more about execution than it is about schemes. If your players are better than the other team’s players and you execute your offense correctly you will win. The ’66 and ’67 Packers only ran a handful of plays but we did them to perfection. The other teams knew what we were going to run but they couldn’t stop it.

  3. Ell

    You say Heisman Pundit, but does College Football Pundit = Heisman pundit?

    Richt is certainly not a bottom 10 coach. Mack Brown? Ditto. I agree that Les Miles owes something to either the devil or karma with his clock management skills, but 10 worst? Hardly.

    And I guess Derek Dooley is on the list because he made one bad decision in his first year as a major college coach?

    Sketchy…

    • Yeah, it’s the blog he co-hosts with Brian Grummell.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Sketchy…” but still Heisman Award Winning Comedy.

    • HP

      I love all these comments and I welcome them. But has anyone thought to come up with a 10 worst coaches list of their own while explaining why?

      I bet you that if you really look at the list and go by the criteria I used–coaches misusing available talent–then you will be hard pressed to find many outside the list I provided.

      • Jim Beam

        Maybe it’s not the people on the list but the idea behind the list that sucks. It’s hard to say they are the 10 worst coaches. Two of the SEC coaches have one year combined in the SEC and you have them on the list. Maybe, the 10 coaches that waste the most talent.

        But to add several other possibilities,
        1. Joe Paterno
        2. Mike Sherman
        3. Greg Schiano
        4. Butch Davis
        5. Ron Zook

  4. Lrgk9

    HP stands for the High Postage it takes to mail it in from so far away from reality

  5. Heismanpundit/CFBPundit would be so much more endearing (and a quicker read) if he’d simply write “teams I like are good”/”teams I hate are bad” rather than trying to come up with those four-dimensional Möbius pretzels of logic that purport to evaluate teams objectively. The guy moves the goalposts so much his arms must be getting tired.

  6. This post led to me reading over the previous takedowns. I had always suspected HP was a bit of a tool, and not a particularly sharp one. But reading it play out in print was indeed priceless.

  7. The 2005 Boise State Broncos

    Remember HeismanPundit’s summer of love with me? Whoops.

    • HP

      Whatever happened to your program? Have you guys been winning since then? Must not have been because of your innovative offense, but your stifling defenses!

  8. heyberto

    The only question I have about Charlie Weiss, is how does Nike make an official coach’s polo that fits his big ass.

    • Dog in Fla

      Nike outsources the job to a highly-recommended sweatshop in the garment district that also does the kilt-work for Fat Bastard. This work-in-progress shot shows four panels that will be sewn together making two sets of athletic jorts.

  9. Go Dawgs!

    If a coach has a national championship ring, he can’t be on the list of ten worst head coaches in the game. Sorry. He loses.

  10. Puffdawg

    I thought Jeff Tedford’s Cal Bears were a member of the Gang of Six…?

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    College Football Pundit? College Football Idiot is more like it.

  12. WarD Eagle

    Les Miles, LSU
    Jimbo Fisher, FSU
    Mark Richt, Georgia
    Mack Brown, Texas

    Really? These are 4 of the worst coaches in college football?

    I’m thinking I know where I’d begin my list of 10 worst bloggers in college football.

    I had to make sure it wasn’t a bleacherreport link when I read it.

  13. HP

    You certainly found a way to misrepresent almost everything I’ve written on the subject. Congrats!

    First, I believe the SEC is the now best conference in college football–as opposed to in 2005–PRECISELY because at least half its teams committed themselves in the past five years to spread-style systems. Isn’t it ironic that three coaches from my original ‘Gang’ were in the SEC last year, not to mention the best OC in CFB in Malzahn, who is the epitome of the contrarian offensive coach! You ignore the fact that I predicted that Urban Meyer’s move to the SEC would change college football and that conference. Well, that is EXACTLY what happened. Five national tiles later and counting and not a single team won without changing their offense around.

    Second, the Gang of Six was not a term meant to be ensconced in amber. It did not assume that offenses would always stay the same and not evolve. At the TIME (2005-06), Weis’s offense WAS innovative and highly sound for college football. It no longer is. Both Weis and Norm Chow (also in that old group) were caught up to because their style was easily adapted to by defenses. The issue with Muschamp hiring Weis is that he is not only is he reverting to a system that has been figured out, but he is doing so despite having the perfect personnel to run an incredible spread. That’s a dumb move and one you’ll appreciate this year when UF’s offense bombs with Brantley in the pocket, most likely to UGA’s benefit.

    If you don’t think college football offenses have changed since 2006, I wonder what sport you are watching. Then I realize that you are a Georgia fan and, indeed, that your offense hasn’t changed in ten years and it all makes sense.

    Lost in all the ‘Gang’ debate was that I wrote back then that college football was undergoing a revolution on offense and that it would have a profound effect on the sport. That has been true in everything from what kind of players are recruited, to how defenses have adapted, to what kind of stats win you awards like the Heisman and Biletnikoff. My highlighting of those teams was my way of illustrating what I thought was the cutting edge of offense at the time.

    You, and the rest of your crew, disagreed. You thought the spread wouldn’t work in the SEC and that defense won championships.

    Well, you were wrong. You could at least have the balls to acknowledge that.

    • The 2005 Boise State Broncos

      Yeah! He told you!

    • D.N. Nation

      “If you don’t think college football offenses have changed since 2006, I wonder what sport you are watching. Then I realize that you are a Georgia fan and, indeed, that your offense hasn’t changed in ten years and it all makes sense.”

      Worth noting that you were nevertheless awfully bullish on Georgia as 2007 wrapped up. Even had them as your #1 near the end of the season.

    • HP, so nice of you to drop by. I appreciate the diatribe, although it’s not particularly accurate.

      To start with, “Five national tiles later and counting and not a single team won without changing their offense around.” conveniently ignores Alabama, don’t you think?

      Second, as to “The issue with Muschamp hiring Weis is that he is not only is he reverting to a system that has been figured out, but he is doing so despite having the perfect personnel to run an incredible spread. That’s a dumb move and one you’ll appreciate this year when UF’s offense bombs with Brantley in the pocket…”, did you happen to see Florida’s incredible spread offense last year? A juggernaut it wasn’t.

      But the part I really don’t understand is your love/hate of Georgia. On the one hand you mock the fact that the offense hasn’t changed; on the other, you assert that Georgia will be the likely beneficiary of Florida’s change. How can that be if the Dawgs continue to run a scheme that’s behind the times?

      Further, how do you reconcile that with the point you made in this exchange at my blog (a good point, I thought):

      HP
      June 16, 2008 at 12:55 PM (Edit)

      Doug,

      I am no devotee of the spread, but merely someone who recognized its ascendancy before anyone else on the blogosphere. I have never been wedded to the spread, but rather to the idea of offenses that are contrarian, which has of late tended to encompass many of the spread variations.

      If Georgia were to run the Wing-T or Wishbone, it would be a total contrarian method and I would identify it as such.

      As for the 10 of 12 SEC offenses changing, rest assured that Georgia is not one of them. However, you can also rest assured that this fact may help the Dawgs in the long run, as I will expound on soon.
      Senator Blutarsky
      June 16, 2008 at 1:00 PM (Edit)

      As for the 10 of 12 SEC offenses changing, rest assured that Georgia is not one of them. However, you can also rest assured that this fact may help the Dawgs in the long run, as I will expound on soon.

      If you’re talking about the trend towards “smaller, lighter, faster” on defense to handle the demands of the spread and how that might work to the advantage of those offenses that still utilize a power running game, I agree.
      HP
      June 16, 2008 at 3:12 PM (Edit)

      Bingo. As it turns out, Georgia’s offense will become more effective as a result of doing nothing.

      If that’s still valid, doesn’t it stand to reason that Florida might benefit as well from going pro-style? After all, it’s a scheme that works best with teams that have loads of talent (see, Alabama). And if it’s not valid, do you think that Alabama and Georgia (both of whom were better offensively than Meyer’s Florida was last year) are going to be worse offensively this year due to obsolete offensive schemes?

      I’ll hang up and listen now.

      Oh, by the way, kudos for Auburn winning a national title with a mediocre defense. The Tigers were an anomaly for an SEC team winning a national title, but even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.

      • Puffdawg

        Auburn’s success in 2010 was due to the scheme, not the players. The increase of almost 10 points per game was merely coincidence.

        • HP

          Auburn increased by 16 points per game on offense from 2008 to 2009.

          I guess Chris Todd was just that amazing.

          • Biggus Rickus

            True, but 2008 Auburn was historically bad offensively. I think Malzahn is good, maybe great, and that the spread is a fine offense if you have the right personnel. But complete offensive ineptitude one year and offensive adequacy the next isn’t the best way to gauge its effectiveness.

      • Dawgfan Will

        And some are lucky enough to find a $180,000 acorn.

        Malzahn Newton = best OC in college
        Malzahn – Newton = JAFOC

      • HP

        Senator,

        Nice to have a back and forth with you as well. Hope you are well.

        As to the first point, I do think that Alabama’s offense in 2009 was markedly different than it was in 2005. For instance, Bama mixed it up with spread and wildcat formations using Ingram and also has been running out of the Pistol maybe 40% of the time. I am not saying that Bama completely overhauled their scheme, but the influence of the spread definitely gave them a new look and, as you can see, it paid dividends all of a sudden. Imagine that!

        To the second, okay, so Florida had a down year last year offensively. You are going to suddenly point to the first markedly down year by Meyer’s offense as some kind of proof of a problem with the scheme? I think it had more to do with the loss of Mullen to MSU and Meyer’s stubborness in putting Brantley in the wrong scheme. Just because the scheme is good, doesn’t mean the coach always makes the right decisions and last year we saw that result. There are good spreads and bad spreads. I would prefer a very good pro style offense to a bad spread, but unfortunately you don’t see very many good pro style offenses these days because they are difficult for college kids to learn AND defenses are very familiar with them.

        I really don’t know why you think I have a love/hate attitude toward UGA. I do not think one way or the other about the Dawgs. I think UGA will be a beneficiary of Florida’s change because UGA, no matter what, will run the pro style better than Florida can because it has been doing it much longer and it will take time for UF to adjust. In the short term, that will mean, IMO, wins for UGA straight up against UF. Let’s be clear: Just because I think the pro style offense doesn’t work very well in college does not mean that it is completely impervious to a special player making it work on occasion. I happen to think Aaron Murray is a special player with a lot of magic and I think he actually has the potential to be a transcendent player for UGA, regardless of scheme. I don’t think UGA’s offense will ever be as good as it COULD be because of Richt’s scheme, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. My list primarily dealt with how talent is and isn’t used and I think the talent on hand at UGA should produce better offense.

        As to the point I had made earlier, I definitely saw that as a possibility in the trend line. But it hasn’t happened yet. Teams are not rushing to go to the pro style offense. It could turn out well for UGA, but why wait to find out? No one really knows. As for Alabama’s offense, it really isn’t a true pro style offense. It is a simple, one-read, grind-it-out offense that utilized spread elements at times. Its beauty is that it does a few things and does them VERY well. This is not a characteristic of pro style offenses, that rely on multiple reads, blocking assignments, audibles, and complex nomenclature and large playbooks.

        In regards to Florida, my primary criticism of the switch is related to my understanding of their personnel. Jordan Reed is, IMO, a potential Cam Newton and Jeff Driskel is as close as you will get to another Tim Tebow. Meanwhile, UF does not have an every down back or, IMO, intelligent enough players at the other skill spots to learn the scheme quickly. Maybe Weis will change things up, but I doubt it.

        Auburn’s success last year illustrates how coaching and scheme make a difference. Whether you coach the spread or not, you must be very good at what you do. Saban’s offenses are very good at what they choose to do. UGA, really not so much. And I think that’s on Richt.

        • HP, it’s apparent that some of our disagreement stems from nomenclature. It’s a problem I have more and more in discussing the spread. For example, I wouldn’t describe ‘Bama’s offensive changes in quite the same way you do, although I understand where you’re coming from. (And, for that matter, Georgia incorporates wildcat aspects into its offense now, too.)

          But here’s the real bone I have to pick with you: in fashioning this debate, you’ve relegated personnel to a somewhat trivial level. For example, here’s how you set the criteria for your list:

          Here are 10 coaches who just don’t seem to get the picture. Sure, they may win once in a while because they just have so much talent on hand to save their hides, but take away some of that talent and they would be out of a job.

          But gathering that talent is part and parcel of those coaches doing their jobs, and doing them at a high level. Miles, whom you mock, is one of the best recruiters in the nation and also has a MNC to his credit. And it’s worth pointing out that he did a good job at OSU without that same level of talent (and without getting fired). To suggest that there aren’t ten other coaches who do a worse job than Miles is nonsensical. Or it’s the opinion of somebody with an agenda.

          You characterize last season as Florida’s first offensive down year under Meyer. The reality is that offense wasn’t very good in either 2005 or 2006, as much as I know you like to argue otherwise. The difference was Tebow (and Percy Harvin, to some extent). Same thing with Auburn. Malzahn certainly was an improvement over the disaster that was Auburn’s last offense under Tuberville (a spread offense, if you’ll recall), but things exploded when a transcendent talent like Newton took the reins at QB. Auburn even with with Malzahn calling the shots won’t be nearly as prolific this season as a result of Cam taking his game to the NFL.

          I think the spread is useful in maximizing talent at programs that aren’t as stocked as the superpowers. But there’s a declining rate of return as you step up in class, it seems to me. That’s where I saw Meyer’s real genius; he knew that he still needed great talent to succeed. And I think last season proved that.

          • HP

            Senator,

            I also think that it’s really hard to completely explain my position over the internet. I feel like if we talked about this in person, you would get a better idea of where I am coming from. Maybe we can set up a podcast sometime.

            Here’s the thing: We both agree that schemes like the spread are useful in maximizing talent at programs that aren’t as stocked with talent. But one of my positions is that when elite programs use those schemes with the talent they have on hand, you often get superlative results. I think the most successful dynasties or runs of the last 50 years in college football have been the result of talent wedded with scheme that was a bit out of whack with the prevailing currents of the time. So, you have OU’s great run in the 50s with the T-formation, USC’s run in the 60s with the I-formation, OU’s and Bama’s run in the 70s with the Wishbone, Miami’s run in the 80s with single back, multiple wideout sets, Nebraska’s run with the I-bone in the 90s, USC’s run with Norm Chow’s offense (formerly at BYU) in the early part of this decade and then Florida’s run with Myers’ spread.

            While I am saying Auburn is set to go on a run, their success last year is illustrative of my point. First off, Malzahn was an outstanding and innovative OC at Arkansas and Tulsa and at Auburn before Newton. But it was his innovation wedded with the talent of Newton that won a title. I do not think that Auburn wins the title last year running the same offense as, say, Ohio State’s. Newton was a great talent, but Malzahn’s offense made him an incredibly productive player. I believe that if Terrelle Pryor and Cam Newton swapped places, Pryor would’ve won the Heisman Trophy and Newton would be trolling for tattoos in Columbus.

            As for recruiting, I understand that it is the lifeblood of a program. But coaches at elite programs who bring in top players tend to lean on these players as a crutch and, I believe, focus less on the more important aspects of coaching. I saw it up close with Pete Carroll. His best teams were the ones that were the least talented overall, early in his tenure. Once he had his initial success, and the top-ranked classes started rolling in, he started to coast. Did he still win? Sure. But his teams out-talented other teams instead of out-foxing them as they had before. When you try to out-talent teams and, in essence, rely purely on talent at the expense of scheme to put you over the top, you have a higher margin of error because your opponent has a better shot at neutralizing many of your advantages. This is why I think LSU gets in so many close games with teams that don’t have as much talent. He may win most of those, but over time you lose a few, too. And in college football, if you lose a couple games, you aren’t going to win the national title, which is the goal of the elite programs.

            As I said before, I can go on and on trying to explain where I am coming from, but I will probably never properly and completely get my point across in this kind of forum.

            • HP, I find that I agree much more with you when you talk bigger picture stuff. As I mentioned in that post from a while back, your contrarian argument makes a lot of sense to me. Especially because my sense of college football is that over time great defensive coaches adapt their strategies just as great offensive coaches do.

              Where you consistently rub me the wrong way is that you seem more than willing to bend specifics to fit your world view. This list is a good example of that. Had you phrased it in terms of “coaches who get the least out of the most”, I still wouldn’t have agreed with all your selections (see my Tuberville comment), but I wouldn’t have mocked it. You open yourself up for that sort of criticism when you call Les Miles the worst coach in college football. No rational observer is going to agree with that characterization. Do you really think that if Miles left LSU tomorrow some other prominent D-1 program wouldn’t snap him up in a heartbeat? Besides that, if your standard for making the list is elite programs failing to win a national title frequently enough, you can only have one of those successful coaches a season. There are a bunch of coaches I could name **cough**Bob Stoops** cough** who haven’t done any better than Miles in that regard. So what makes Miles special for you?

              Florida under Meyer is another good example of that. You continue to insist otherwise, but the offense simply wasn’t that good in his first two seasons in Gainesville. It certainly took off in ’07, thanks to Tebow and Harvin – but notice that the Gators didn’t even win the SEC East in Tebow’s Heisman-winning season. And I know you can’t ignore the dropoff last season, but if you’re fair-minded, you should have seen that the conference was starting to adjust to Meyer in 2009. Florida struggled to score in the middle of its SEC slate that season, even with Tebow. Meyer is (was?) an elite head coach, no doubt, but I’m not sure he’s as worthy of the paradigm-changing accolades you throw his way as Spurrier was when he came in with the Fun ‘n Gun. To me, this is an interesting debate to have, but I don’t sense that you’re willing to concede any of that, based on the things you wrote after Meyer won the ’06 MNC against Ohio State.

              What might be more satisfying for both of us to gain some resolution here would be to do a series of posts at our blogs exploring some of these issues and responding to each other’s points. I’m game if you are.

        • Doug

          Sorry, but HP’s devotion to the spread offense still makes all of these discussions look like a “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” situation to me. Has the spread succeeded in the SEC? Sure it has. Has it done so to a degree that’s proven a lot of the doubters wrong? Yup. But to imply that Urban Meyer’s introduction of the spread in ’05 was singlehandedly responsible for the SEC’s rise to dominance over the last five years, as HP seems to do above, was and is a dramatic oversimplification. Talent and defense — two aspects of the game that HP can barely be bothered to bring up in these debates — still matter.

          I mean, if I wanted to, I could write a 50,000-word blog post predicated on the belief that Nick Saban’s return to the SEC, and how it forced the rest of the conference to step their game up, particularly on defense, was the real reason the level of competition in the SEC has gone straight into the stratosphere of late. But I won’t, because that would be Finebaum-caller dumb, no matter how awesome Saban actually is or how many stats I could cherry-pick in support of my argument. Football is a confluence of dozens of different factors and strategies, and just because you can hammer away at that one note all day long doesn’t make you a pianist.

          • HP

            Talent and defense — two aspects of the game that HP can barely be bothered to bring up in these debates — still matter.

            Doug, the SEC has always had talent and always had defense. What it had been lacking for many years was dynamic offenses, save for the occasional anomaly like Florida with Spurrier (who also dominated the league with offense, btw).

            It was the introduction of spread concepts to the league by way of Florida that forced other teams’ hands and has improved the overall offensive capability of the conference. It has also improved the league’s coaching. Does Alabama spend all that money on Saban if Meyer isn’t building a juggernaut at UF? Maybe, maybe not.

            The fact is, the SEC shifted its offensive mentality starting in 2006 or so. No other factors really changed. The talent didn’t increase. The defenses didn’t get any worse (actually, they did as a result of the better offenses they had to face, but that’s to be expected to some extent, but the defensive focus was still there).

            What DID change was the offenses. And it happened concurrently with five national titles. Oh, and let’s not forget three Heisman Trophies all of a sudden for a conference that had won only 2 in 20-odd years.

            • Gern Blanski

              You left out a couple of other major and/probably more pressing reasons Alabama spent all that money on Saban
              1. Franchione left for Texas A&M
              2. The two Mike’s were a disaster in the fan base’s eyes
              3. RichRod turned them down
              Saban had already won a NC @ LSU was considered one of the 2 or 3 best college coaches when he left for the Dolphins. The Alabama AD needed to spend that money to get the best possible available college coach and salvage his job with the fanbase.

              Stopping Meyer and FL were on the list but it was not the sole reason.

              • Gern Blanski

                Oh yeah one other thing … they had to pay Saban to bring him back from the NFL. He may have hated coaching there but the paycheck was much higher than collegiate level. It had to be lucrative enought to bring him back from the NFL. He could have stayed with the Dolphins – gotten all of his $$ and still received top dollar as a college coach.

    • SC Dawg

      If I say “I was wrong,” will you take your site down?

    • Bourbon Dawgwalker

      Someone call Michael from Braves & Birds, his Caramel Belching Pinata is back.

    • WarD Eagle

      How does ridiculing a list that calls Les Miles, Jimbo Fisher, Mark Richt, and Mack Brown 4 of the 10 worst coaches in any way misrepresent what you said?

      Let’s assume the number of college football programs (to be kind, keep it D1) is 120.

      Let’s assume there are 6 worse coaches than the 4 above (120-6)

      Are you honestly saying you would rather have any of those 110 coaches as your head coach?

      If so, that’s stupid.

      There’s no misrepresenting that kind of stupid.

      • HP

        The gist of the list was to name the coaches that do the least with the talent at hand and the programs with which they lead.

        If you think Les Miles isn’t a pile, then I don’t know what to tell you.

        • Dawgaholic

          If CMR left UGA, I would take Les Miles over:
          (1) Houston Nutt – Mustain was undefeated as a starter – but was benched
          (2) Dan Mullen – Has reached his level
          (3) Gene Chizik – yeah, Auburn’s clean ;)
          (4) Petrino – morals count at some level
          (5) Muschamp – name the Saban protege that has won a conference championship…
          (6) Dooley – see Muschamp
          (7) Spurrier – over the hill
          (8) Franklin – No explanation needed
          (9) Joker Phillips – No explanation needed
          (10) Paul Johnson – No explanation needed
          (11) Dabo
          (12) Cutcliffe – great OC only
          (13) Al Golden – nothing done yet
          (14) Beamer – how many championships has he won while in putrid conferences???
          (15) Any ACC coach other than Jimbo Fisher

          Is Miles the best clock manager – probably not, does he take chances with the clock that many coaches would not – yes, does he recruit and coach well enough to field a top ten team year in and year out – yes, is he capable of winning a BCS with mostly his recruits – yes, is he one of the dirtiest coaches in college football – no.

          Accept the fact that Miles unconventional time management works more often than it doesn’t. Although losers like to appear smarter than the other team and look better, winners just care about wins. (See ending to 2010 UGA-GT game.)

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            You forgot to mention something vitally important about Les Miles–he is luckier than a dog with two dicks.

            • Dawgaholic

              He’s had too much success in his career for it all to be dumb luck. He even beat OU a couple times while at OSU. Regardless though, luck counts.

          • Stoopnagle

            Disagree on Mullen. Miss State has probably peaked, but if Mullen moves on to a tier one program, he can exceed his current bests.

        • WarD Eagle

          Les Miles has a record of 66-17 while coaching in the hardest division in college football.

          He has a 70% rate of winning in 2 of the top 3 football conferences.

          He has been winning big games with interception machines at QB.

          He lost two games last season to the best two teams in football.

          He is a better coach than at least 100 current head coaches.

          You made a stupid claim and you’re trying to back it up. You would be much better to say, “I WUZ RONG”.

          If you think Les Miles is a pile, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Well, you were wrong. You could at least have the balls to acknowledge that.”

      Not so fast my friend on the wrong thing. On the other, everybody’s got big balls around here. Just ask Pat Dye who knows a little something about humongous balls

  14. James Stephenson

    We are not wrong, Florida kills OSU the first time because their D was the best in College football that year. LSU wins their championships because of their D, Alabama as well. In fact, the only team I can say won their Championship without a good D is Auburn. But only because they had their Tank QB running the spread. Without that Tank, Auburn finishes in the 8-5 area, period. Coaching be damned. So in essence you prove our point, Defense wins, flash in the pan Offenses do not. Except 1 out of 5 times.

    • HP

      The SEC won 2 titles between 1998 and 2005. Then, it suddenly won 5 in a row. Amazing how the SEC suddenly started winning national titles once Urban Meyer brought the spread to the league. Go figure.

      • Biggus Rickus

        That’s a bad correlation to causation statement. LSU runs a fucked up offense that is in some ways pro-style and some ways not. Alabama ran through their schedule in 2008 running a pro-style offense. Just because they occasionally pulled wildcat formations out the next year does not mean they fundamentally changed anything. Georgia trots the wildcat out on occasion, yet you call them unchanged. Why? Because they haven’t won since 2007.

      • Dawgaholic

        The SEC played in two BCS games between 1998 and 2005. Might not have more if given a chance. Its hard to argue that 2002 UGA and 2004 Auburn were not both better than some of the SEC teams that won it from 2006-2010.

  15. Senator, everyone uses spread principles in their offense today (even the NATS). The spread is the shotgun with multiple wide receivers. What did we run when DJ was in there running the zone read all over Boise State? Just because we go under center and run the toss or off tackle doesn’t mean we don’t innovate on offense. No one was trashing our offensive philosophy or play calling when we had 1000 yard rushers and 3000 yard passers. Frankly, I hate the spread as a base offense because the quarterbacks don’t read or audible. Anyone who thinks we sign Matthew Stafford with a spread base doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Christian LeMay came from a HS running the spread, but he and his dad knew his skills would be developed in a pro-style offense. If Aaron Murray had wanted to play in a spread offense, he would be on the other sideline in Jax for the next 3 years.

    • Senator, everyone uses spread principles in their offense today

      No kidding. They have been for a long time. That’s what makes this notion of some sort of “spread revolution” a joke.

      • HP

        Billy, the spread is now the status quo, whereas before 2006, it was various dumbed down versions of the pro-style offense. There was a revolution and the pro style lost.

    • HP

      The spread is not just the shotgun with multiple wide receivers. A pro style offense can be run with a shotgun and multiple WRs.

      The pro style offense plays 10 against 11, takes time to learn and requires superior personnel. That’s why it struggles so much in college football and why few teams bother to run it anymore.

      • I’m curious how you would describe Richt’s FSU offense with Ward at the helm.

        • HP

          At the time, it was slightly unconventional and definitely a college-style offense and properly tailored to the talent at hand. It also relied on a mobile quarterback, which is anathema to pro-style offenses.

          Fun and gun was a bit of a unique concept and, again, proving my point that a different concept combined with high-level talent brings amazing things like 14 straight top 4 finishes.

          But, like all offenses, it was caught up to by defenses. OCs have to constantly evolve. Yesterday’s excellent OC may become obsolete tomorrow because they don’t shift with the times. This is why Malzahn is hands down the best OC in the country. He has run three or four uniquely different styles depending on his personnel. He changes and always adds to his style, which is why defenses can’t keep up.

          • I question whether the Fun ‘n Gun was “caught up to”, as you put it. Florida was still prolific on offense when Spurrier left Florida. He simply hasn’t had the same talent base in Columbia to work with.

      • Chadwick

        If the spread is just having a running QB, then why wasn’t Bill Walsh the innovator of the spread with Steve Young at the helm? If it’s really just 11 on 11.

      • So, your definition of the spread is essentially an updated version of a winged T with an athletic quarterback who has one read in the passing game and tuck it and run or look to the sidelines for a reserve quarterback to hold up a card that calls the play after the defense lines up. It’s a lot easier to call an “audible” from the press box than from the line of scrimmage. That’s high school football today. If that what it takes to be innovative on offense, no thanks. I’ll take better personnel in a pro-style scheme ala Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU,and USC any day of the week. The only way you play 10 vs. 11 is with a Ryan Mallett style of quarterback, and there are very few of those in the college game today. Most of the “spread” quarterbacks have been busts (Alex Smith) or haven’t had enough time to determine if they are quality QBs at the next level.

        • Johnny Majors

          Sir, your analysis is actually spot on except for the nomeclature. The “spread” is really the single wing and the QB in the “spread” is really a single wing tailback.

  16. Dog in Fla

    “UPDATE: Elkon isn’t impressed with HP’s list, either.”
    Great stuff

    “CFP said…
    First off, highly inappropriate headline that I suggest you remove immediately.

    Michael said…
    I added a footnote to make explicit what I thought was explicit from the first sentence. I am criticizing you for a labeling problem, not for any tendency to violate the laws of our great country.

    I didn’t realize that you get to change names based on your site. How Dylanesque of you. I always thought there was something redeeming in your online persona and now I’ve found it.”

    Whitey get the popcorn, this is going to be a good one…Whitey…Whitey?