And now, the
triumphant return of college football blogging!
A few weeks ago several blogdudes (I'm sure more, but it's been a while...) made note of The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart ranking all of the current BCS coaches. Mr. Dienhart gave no criteria or objectives upon which he based his list. I assume, it must be subjective. And whenever I smell subjectivity in college football, I get mad. Mad like I've a bellyful of cheap gin.
UPDATE: Bill of Eagle in Atlanta thought on these same lines a full month before I did. I didn't see it before, but much credit to him for being significantly ahead of the game!
See, as I've said before, no other sport is influenced by media subjectivity like college football, which necessarily relies upon the opinions of sportswriters and the opinions of people who rely upon sportswriters to base their opinions to crown its champion (or, if you'd prefer more precision, to select which teams play for the title). So when teams or personalities that are often synonymous with teams receive public praise or criticism, it necessarily affects how those teams are presented, and the initial impressions of particular programs directly affect placement in polls. I find this unfortunate, but even if you don't, it's a fact of the game in its current form.
The problem (well, one of the problems) with Dienhart's list is that it is a road map for "the benefit of the doubt" given to some coaches, but not others. If a team coached by a high rated team on his list loses a couple of early games to drop to 1-2, you'll likely see a column somewhere by someone saying "a Coach X coached team is too good to fall apart. Don't be surprised to see them winning the rest of their games..." or something like that. Teams coached by guys that rank high on lists like this are less likely to drop precipitously in the polls after a loss, or merely that they're more likely to be ranked highly (perhaps without reason) in preseason polls, providing the springboard needed to end up in title games or top bowls.
So this benefit of the doubt issue I see... well, some guys deserve the benefit of the doubt. That's certain. Some guys really are great coaches. So the idea of a list of great coaches isn't exactly bad in the abstract. What's bad is that we have no idea what Dienhart uses to come up with his list. Big wins? Recruiting rankings? Team discipline? Wins and losses? Who gives him exclusive interviews and access? We don't know. And that's why this list is bad.
OK. When I looked at the list I saw probably the same odd rankings most people saw. Houston Nutt ahead of Mark Richt? Chan Gailey ahead of Phil Fulmer? Rich Rodriguez in the top 3? Dennis Erickson in the top 10? But then I tried to come up with objective ways of rating these guys. I wanted to make sure my own opinions weren't wrong (what if Dienhart were right, based upon objective criteria?).
So I ranked the 66 BCS-automatic-bid conference coaches in a number of categories that I think provide some objective analysis:
So how do things shake out? Read on in the next few posts to find out... (and it might take a few days to get them all out)
Sunday, June 03, 2007
And now, the