USA Today’s Mike Lopresti had an interesting column this week discussing who is the best current college football coach without a national championship.
Naturally, Mark Richt’s name came up, with Lopresti noting that the coach “has survived the Southeastern Conference hothouse at Georgia for 11 years and won nearly 74 percent of his games.”
But Lopresti consigned Richt to the “resonable nominees” list along with Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema, Nevada’s Chris Ault (really!!??) and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (who has the best winning percentage among the top 10 active coaches in career victories).
His main candidates, though, included Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, TCU’s Gary Patterson and his ultimate choice of the best coach without a crystal football: Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer, who has 251 career victories (the most of any active coach), has had 19 bowl teams and came closest to a national championship in 1999 with a certain dog-abusing quarterback.
Who the USA Today columnist picked as the best coach without a national title didn’t interest me as much as the fact that it’s a list of pretty impressive and successful coaching talent who are in the same boat as UGA’s Richt.
So, here’s my question: Just how important to a program is it to win a national championship? If Richt never gets one, will he forever rank behind the Nick Sabans and Urban Meyers, no matter how many successful seasons he coaches at Georgia? That’s been the major knock on Richt and it boggles my mind a little to realize that even if his Dawgs were to manage to win the SEC championship game this season and make it to the BCS game and didn’t win it … he’d still have that same millstone around his neck.
What do you think? Is it all about the national title? If so, does that really make Frank Beamer less of a coach than Urban Meyer?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg