Richt, Johnson score high on rankings, not Chizik, Muschamp

Sporting News ranked Mark Richt (14) just ahead of Paul Johnson (19) among 124 FBS coaches.

Sporting News has Mark Richt (14) just ahead of Paul Johnson (19) among 124 FBS coaches.

The problem with most “rankings” in sports is that there’s a large degree of knee jerk thinking in the thought process. Somebody wins, they deserve a stature. Somebody loses, they’re road kill. A coach wins a BCS title, he’s a sudden visionary.

But The Sporting News just ranked 124 FBS (Division I) coaches in college football and in my view the publication pretty much nailed it. Not so much because Nick Saban of Alabama is No. 1 or Charley Molnar of Massachusetts is No. 124 (UMass has a football team?) but because of the placement of so many others. A few examples:

– Boise State’s Chris Peterson (No. 2) and Texas Christian’s Gary Patterson (No. 7) both received lofty rankings for their success in actual games, not on national signing day. Winning games really is what coaching is all about, is it not?

– Auburn’s Gene Chizik was ranked only 36th nationally and seventh among 14 SEC coaches, despite winning a national championship two years ago. The reason: He has yet to prove he can accomplish something without Cam Newton.

– High rankings were given to often overlooked coaches in the SEC and ACC, specifically Vanderbilt’s James Franklin (fifth in the SEC, 25th overall) and Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe (fourth in the ACC, 31st overall).

As for Georgia’s Mark Richt and Tech’s Paul Johnson, both fared well. Richt ranked fourth among SEC coaches — behind only Saban, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier, all of whom have won BCS titles — and 14th in the nation.

Here’s The Sporting News on Richt:

A crossroads season at Georgia resulted in 10 wins—but nothing the ‘Dawgs weren’t supposed to do. In fact, all four losses were against the four best teams on the schedule, and left everyone wanting more despite another double-digit win season (his seventh in 11 years). Richt signed a contract extension after last season through 2016—hard to argue 4-0 vs. your rivals (Florida, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Auburn)—so UGA is committed to his process.

Johnson ranked second in the SEC behind only Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and 19th overall.

Here’s The Sporting News on Johnson:

The best way to describe Johnson’s triple-option offense in the ACC: It works. The Yellow Jackets have led the conference—and ranked in the top four nationally—in rushing in all four of Johnson’s seasons in Atlanta, and in each of the past two years have topped 300 yards per game on the ground. The 2009 league title still looks good, as does Johnson’s 6-0 record vs. Army when he was at Navy.

Among those getting pounded: Florida’s Will Muschamp was ranked only 59th nationally (10th among SEC coaches) and Tennessee’s Derek Dooley finished 99th overall (worst in the SEC, even behind No. 90 Joker Phillips of Kentucky).

Also noteworthy: Among former Falcons head coaches June Jones, now of SMU, ranked 22nd overall and far ahead of Jim Mora, now of UCLA, at 68th.

TSN on Mora:

Mora, who led the Atlanta Falcons to 11 wins and a berth in the NFC championship game, is back at the college level for the first time since 1984, when he was a graduate assistant at Washington. He’s off to a pretty good start at UCLA, having signed a well-regarded initial recruiting class. But we don’t have the sense that he’s suddenly on the road to glory. He could struggle with the adjustment from the pro game.

One flaw in the article: The Sporting News states that Big 12 coaches have the best average ranking (27.2), far ahead of No. 2 SEC (43.3). The problem with that statistic, which TSN admits, is the Big 12 goes only 10 teams deep and the SEC now goes 14 deep.

Here’s a link to the entire list (in four parts).

But here’s a breakdown of SEC and ACC coaches and the overall top 10:

Top 10
1. Nick Saban (Alabama)
2. Chris Peterson (Boise State)
3. Urban Meyer (Ohio State)
4. Les Miles (LSU)
5. Bob Stoops (Oklahoma)
6. Chip Kelly (Oregon)
7. Gary Patterson (TCU)
8. Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
9. Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech)
10. Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State)

SEC coaches
1. Nick Saban (Alabama)
4. Les Miles (LSU)
8. Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
14. Mark Richt (Georgia)
25. James Franklin (Vanderbilt)
26. Gary Pinkel (Missouri)
36. Gene Chizik (Auburn)
46. Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)
47. Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)
59. Will Muschamp (Florida)
74. John L. Smith (Arkansas)
77. Hugh Freeze (Mississippi)
90. Joker Phillips (Kentucky)
99. Derek Dooley (Tennessee)

ACC coaches
9. Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech)
19. Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech)
27. Dabo Swinney (Clemson)
31. Jim Grobe (Wake Forest)
34. Al Golden (Miami)
38. Jimbo Fisher (FSU)
45. Mike London (Virginia)
49. Tom O’Brien (North Carolina State)
53. Larry Fedora (North Carolina)
65. Randy Edsall (Maryland)
67. David Cutcliffe (Duke)
110. Frank Spaziani (Boston College)

So what are your thoughts on the list?

By Jeff Schultz

238 comments Add your comment

RiffRaff

May 10th, 2012
11:28 am

Sounds about right….

JPM

May 10th, 2012
11:30 am

Depending on the outcome of the 2012 season, this list could look very different next year.

REALLY?

May 10th, 2012
11:36 am

Where is Bobo on the O-cord list??

Danny O

May 10th, 2012
11:40 am

Is Fedora ranked 53? If so, he should be higher in the ACC rankings.

brian

May 10th, 2012
11:41 am

Jeff…change the SEC to ACC. Right now u got VT and GT in SEC, according to your article.

PMC

May 10th, 2012
11:44 am

Chizik is too low, Randy Edsall IS WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY too high.

rduck

May 10th, 2012
11:47 am

Both GT and UGA have really good coaches that the fans should be happy to have.

tiger7_88

May 10th, 2012
11:49 am

Love how everybody INSISTS that Chizik “has yet to prove he can win anything without Cam Newton”, yet always conveniently forget that Auburn, in 2009 and 2011 (the non-Cam Newton years) was predicted by “experts” (like Schultzie here) and fans across the country to win maybe 4 or 5 games in both of those years.

Yet they win 8 games in both of those years on top of winning an Outback Bowl in 2009 and a Chick-Fil-A Bowl in 2011.

Yeah, that Chizik sure must suck to take what EVERYONE considers to be inferior talent in 2009 and 2011, win 8 games, and win two of the better bowl games available to SEC teams.

How did Richt do in 2010 with a roster full of the best talent in the country (according to yearly recruiting rankings) again?

JacketFanMarcus

May 10th, 2012
11:49 am

This listing is meaningless.

After the top 20 or 30, it’s really really hard to discern if someone is 45 best or 50 best…

My ratings would be: Great, Good, OK, and Bad for each coach

GTJoe

May 10th, 2012
11:56 am

JacketFan – kind of like the “hot seat” rankings…..once you get past the top 20 or so, the rest are pretty safe, barring something horrible happening.

Burning Hot, Hot, Warm, Cold……

UGA Insider

May 10th, 2012
11:59 am

I still think that Peterson will be the next head coach at UGA if McGarity stays. Probably 2014.

NorthGANole

May 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

Jimbo at 38th. That’s laughable. Behind Al Golden? Simply hilarious. Don’t mind the fact that Al hasn’t beaten Jimbo yet but he can’t even hold onto top recruits in South Florida. Didn’t Jimbo & co. beat South Carolina too??

insider huh?

May 10th, 2012
12:03 pm

UGA insider: except for the fact Richt just signed an extension through the 2016 season. That “inside” info is pretty in-accurate.

Bryan G.

May 10th, 2012
12:04 pm

What 2009 league title? The one that didn’t happen according to the NCAA?

DDPO

May 10th, 2012
12:06 pm

Auburn’s Gene Chizik was ranked only 36th nationally and seventh among 14 SEC coaches, despite winning a national championship two years ago. The reason: He has yet to prove he can accomplish something without Cam Newton.

You mean like Vince Dooley/Herschel Walker (aka Sybil) at UGA? And they want to rename the stadium after him! (Against the Sanford’s wishes… That’s SANFORD.)

Bryan G.

May 10th, 2012
12:09 pm

DDPO – Except Dooley won 3 SECs without Herschel and went to many other big time bowls. Chizik hasn’t finished in the top 20 without Cam.

UGA 11

May 10th, 2012
12:12 pm

Look at the Auburn (tiger7_88) fan building these straw men! When you can’t win, just make it up right?

Nobody was predicting Auburn to win 4 or 5 games — nobody. Most were saying 7-8. And most were saying 9-3 and 2nd in the SEC East for UGA last year. I guess that’s called overachieving right?!

Columbus Dawg

May 10th, 2012
12:16 pm

These Auburn idiots kill me. Richt has owned Auburn no matter who the coach in the barn is .

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:17 pm

Too bad The Ole Ball Coach is stuck in Hell or he’d be ranked higher!!!

Frustrated, Inc.

May 10th, 2012
12:18 pm

If you are going to take away credit for Chizik winning the BCS with Cam Newton, then you must give back the same credit for winning 8 games with Chris Todd in 2009 and Barrett Trotter/Clint Mosely in 2011.

How Chizik can rank behind Richt, Pinkel and Franklin is an absolute joke.

Cam Newton was a "1 and done"...

May 10th, 2012
12:19 pm

…so why does the coach take such a hit? Shouldn’t he get credit for recruiting him as a QB (unlike some coach ranked higher who wanted him as TE, or another coach, also ranked higher, who would not play him since he already had a pretty good QB, though he did have him as 3rd or 4th stringer) and then not screwing him up? Maybe the comment should read that Chizik should prove himself as a good coach without Gus as his OC…

1eyedJack

May 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

“The 2009 league title still looks good, as does Johnson’s 6-0 record vs. Army when he was at Navy.”

They must not have gotten the memo from the NCAA about the 2009 league title. How’s Johnson’s record against Air Force?

74. John L. Smith (Arkansas). Has he even coached a down yet?

Bryan G.

May 10th, 2012
12:22 pm

Wow, a lot of Auburn folks supporting Chizik. The guy had a great 2010 year, but he’s never had anything better than an average year other than that. I have no idea if he’s a good coach or not because he’s never won more than 8 games without the guy who had the greatest season ever in college football. Even Baylor won 10 games with RG3. That doesn’t make their coach Nick Saban either.

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:25 pm

GT softball Jackets hit a 2 run homer in the 1st at bat to lead UVa 2-0.

fg924181088

May 10th, 2012
12:25 pm

Who is you copy editor? He missed a few things. “Johnson ranked second in the SEC behind only Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and 19th overall.” Last time I checked Johnson and Beamer coached at ACC schools.

Frustrated, Inc.

May 10th, 2012
12:25 pm

Columbus Dawg – Question for you…so if it is head to head record then does that mean that Ron Zook is a better coach than Saint Richt? Just askin’…

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

1eyedjack…….he has been coaching at other schools. His ranking is not based on his time at Arkansas but other schools and with the Arkansas talent he should do well.

Hey, DDPO...

May 10th, 2012
12:27 pm

…you must be an Auburn grad “”Against the Sanford’s wishes… That’s SANFORD.)” English 101 determines that when showing POSSESSION of something, you use an apostrophe to show said possession, as in “Mr. Sanford’s wishes” – yet you are correct that the stadium at UGA is SANFORD Stadium…

Don’t you just hate it when you try to be a smart arse and you end up being a dumb arse…

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:28 pm

1eyedjack as cood as Richt’s record against UCF

Columbus Dawg

May 10th, 2012
12:28 pm

Hey Auburn moron, Coach Mark Richt has won 106 games in eleven seasons in the Southeastern Conference, and has outlasted ALL other SEC coaches in that same time period. He has two conference championships, and four eastern division championships. He also finished #2 in nation in 2007 without having won a championship. He will win a mnc before he’s done, and will not have cheated to do so. Auburn folks problem is they are proud of being the school that figured out best way to hide money trails from NCAA. But then they have been working on perfecting that craft since they were caught way back in 1957. What a joke of a school, and fan base.

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:31 pm

Hate to say this, But if Spurrier had UGAs talent and Coach Richt had S.C.s talent, Richt would never beat Spurrier again. Stevie has a better gameplan, but Richt has more talent. I don’t like Coach Spurrier and I really like Coach Richt, but I am trying to be honest and realistic…

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:34 pm

5150
Hell of an ending to that Ga. G.T. baseball game last night!…

What about Petrino?

May 10th, 2012
12:35 pm

Columbus Dawg

May 10th, 2012
12:35 pm

I know you are FRUSTRATED, but I am not the one who came up with coach rankings, and do not see the need for them in the first place, and on the field in Jacksonville, Zook WAS the better coach. What I am screaming is that Mark Richt has accomplished MUCH more over all than Cheesedick has, and probably always will. To the frustration of all you Aubies. How does it go now? WEEGLE WEEGLE WAR DAMN EAGLE KICKEM’ IN THE BUTT BIG BLUE! That has to be the most all time stupid cheer known to college football.

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:36 pm

kingDaddy that is THE ISSUE at UGa. All the TALENT in the world and nothing to show for it for 32 years no matter WHO the coach is. If Johnson had Richt’s talent it would have UGa fans killing themselves after the Thanksgiving meal every year.

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:37 pm

kingDaddy it did get more exciting in the last 2 at bats for UGa.

tiger7_88

May 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

UGA 11, you’re fictional history is quite amusing. NOBODY was saying Auburn would win 7 or 8 games in 2009, after a 5-7 season in 2008 and hiring a coach widely (and incorrectly) derided as a “loser” because of his lack of wins at Iowa State. Auburn was predicted by most to win 4-5 games that year AT THE MOST. Many thought that they would take a step BACKWARD from the Tuberville years.

And in 2011, after losing a starting QB, two starting WR, four out of five starting OL, three out of four starting DL, two out of three starting LB, and three out of four starting DB, NOBODY was saying Auburn was going to win 7 or 8 games. Again, they were widely expected to take a HUGE step back and win about 5 games.

The only people who had any expectations like you proclaim were you… conveniently altered after the fact to fit your theory.

Again, Auburn has surpassed team expectations and accomplishments EVERY year that Gene Chizik has been the head coach. How many years out of Richt’s 11 in Athens has he surpassed expectations again? Richt is the hugest UNDERachiever in the SEC since the year 2000.

DawginSewer

May 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

WEss winesss ites allses thsese yers. Beats alerbame byes 500 Ruffs Ruffs

Yeasss RERicshts andes Chaowsks

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

That they’re last game this year unless they meet in playoffs???

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:41 pm

Columbus Dawg……….how does the UGa cheer go?

Girls free liquor and plenty of beds to pass out in go Dwags Woof Woof Woof!

Please translate, DawginSewer...

May 10th, 2012
12:42 pm

…please…

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:42 pm

Yes KingDaddy and there is SLIM at best chance both make the NCAAs

Hey, UOAD...

May 10th, 2012
12:44 pm

…lthat sounds better than Tech’s motto of “4 Hotdogs, 4 cokes, Free Tickets, and a 38 special for protection”…

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:44 pm

Ostrich Racer

May 10th, 2012
12:45 pm

That high-pitched screech you hear is Barbara Dooley, going nuts on someone’s call-in program about Derek’s ranking.

5150 UOAD

May 10th, 2012
12:50 pm

4 Hotdogs, 4 cokes is almost as OLD as the UGa National Championship. At UGa the Criminals are the Students, but at Tech, Ga State, Emory, Morris Brown and Clark Atlanta the Students are the victims.

Frustrated, Inc.

May 10th, 2012
12:51 pm

Columbus Dawg – wow, just wow. You are some kind of internet tough guy aren’t you? I guess when your “facts” lack credibility then it is time to push on to plan B in the internet tough guy hand book. Cue the personal attacks. Why don’t you drive those 45 miles down the road to AU and take a look at that crystal football. That is as close as you’ll ever get to one. Hurts doesn’t it?

kingdaddy

May 10th, 2012
12:53 pm

Enter your comments here

DePort

May 10th, 2012
12:55 pm

Some of the names in the top ten do not make sense to me… Like Oklahoma state .. What in the world have they done?

Steve

May 10th, 2012
12:56 pm

Come on guys, remember 5150 UOAD has that jealousy problem. I mean have you seen Tech’s campus? The crime? The stadium? The fans? The coach? The women? If I were 5150 UOAD, I would probably go ahead and kill myself.