The top coach is Urban Meyer; Richt has unlisted number

Rule 1 of list-making: Any rundown worth its bullet points must stir discussion. Here’s one that goes above and beyond. Matt Hayes of Sporting News rates the top five coaches in college football. We’ll gloss over the top two because it’s just too depressing to note that No. 1 works six hours down I-75 and No. 2 works 3 1/2 hours west on I-20. Let’s skip to No. 5:

Brian Kelly of Cincinnati.

The front four — the Urban Crier, Coach Satan, Pete Carroll and Big-Loss Bob Stoops — have won a total of five BCS titles. Brian Kelly has never won a BCS game. But I’m not saying Hayes made a bad choice. I’m saying he made a great choice. Because he’s guaranteed to get a ton of e-mail from north of Cincinnati, where there’s a coach who wears a sweater vest and who has won a BCS title and played for two others and who isn’t in Hayes’ top five.

Jim Tressel is listed third among “five on the outside.” The other four: Mack Brown, Les Miles, Chris Petersen of Boise State and Frank Beamer.

Jim Tressel, outsider. Brian Kelly, big-timer. Great list.

Who's the better coach?

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And now we come to what we in the biz call the Local Angle: Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech is No. 1 among Hayes’ “five with sights on the top five.” The other four: Two guys who coach along Tobacco Road (Tom O’Brien and Butch Davis), plus Rich Rodriguez of Michigan and Gary Patterson of TCU.

And you know whose name pops up nowhere? The guy who works in Athens and who wins 10 games every year. The guy who has two SEC titles to his name. The guy who has Willie Martinez as his defensive coordinator. That guy used to be considered a real comer. Where’d he go?

(Now available for viewing: Mark Bradley — that’d be me — stops making snide asides and actually presents his top 10 college coaches. Obviously Lane Kiffin is No. 1, but who’s No. 2? And does Richt make this list?)

113 comments Add your comment

Gridiron Gator

July 14th, 2009
5:33 am

We’re happy with our guy, you can have yours. Especially happy he will be signing a new long term contract and will be in Gainesville for a good while longer.

UGAmatic

July 14th, 2009
5:40 am

The “other guy” is right where he and the school he coaches belong – in obscurity!

Jeff

July 14th, 2009
5:54 am

These lists are about as reliable as columnist’s preseason picks. You should know that better than anyone Mark B. Who cares where Paul Johnson ranks in comparison to Mark Richt. Richt will own Johnson in the long term. One win doesn’t make a career. It is how you build on that win. I know how you don’t build on a big win, losing 38-3 on national TV after making rings for the previous win…..

ByteMe

July 14th, 2009
6:00 am

I think what it comes down to is that after all this time, we’re all very clear on how far Richt can take a team. UGA seems satisfied with that, but other schools are looking for the crystal football to end up in their trophy case and are willing to find someone who can win that for them.

TommyP

July 14th, 2009
6:12 am

ByteMe: You really believe that? If you do, you’re not very intelligent.

Mark Richt has put together a consistent power. He’s won SEC titles and he’s only lacked the luck required in this incredibly flawed system to play in the national championship game. (twice)

“…other schools are….willing to find someone who can win that for them.”
So which school would fire Mark Richt if he had done all he’s done in Athens in another town?

RK

July 14th, 2009
6:18 am

Mark Richt has yet to prove he can bring it all together. At FSU, that coaching staff (with Richt) built a dynasty, and at UGA he has always had the talent, but hasn’t delivered yet. He is young……………

phil

July 14th, 2009
6:18 am

Picking the right coordinators is placed squarely on the shoulders of the head coach. If that coach fails to do his job, the head coach needs to handle the situation. I hope C.M.R. has addressed this problem..

hop

July 14th, 2009
6:22 am

COACH RICHT RECORD IS THE BEST IN GEORGIA’S HISTORY AND HE WILL WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
THE QUESTION IS WILL THE GEORGIA PEOPLE BE PATIENT ENOUGH FOR HIM TO DO THAT!

THE FLORIDA SITUATION IS UNIQUE WHILE MEYER TIMING COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER, THE OTHER FLORIDA SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN AWFUL. BOTH FSU AND MIAMI HAVE STRUGGLED MIGHTILY.

THEM OLD ADAGE”TIMEING IS EVERYTHING APPLIES TO THE GATORS NOW!

ByteMe

July 14th, 2009
6:35 am

TommyP: I’m old enough to have closely watched a number of coaches at a number of schools and a number of sports and there really is a difference between good coaches who can win a lot of games and great coaches who can take their team to the next level. Richt is a good coach, but he’s not able to get his teams to the next level, so the big game will elude UGA.

DawgJones

July 14th, 2009
6:40 am

Let me say this…Mark Richt has done good work at UGA but until he has won a NC at a place with resources and talent galore he is at best a second five guy. The cincy guy is an interesting choice…I will say this, he does nothing but win as a HC…A couple of NC’s in DII and took a MAC doormat and won a league title and now has won the Big East. Trust me none of this is the SEC, but the guy wins with the material he inherits and recruits. Let’s just be happy UT picked Kiffin, if they had been smart and hired this guy…they would win sooner and not later!

ByteMe

July 14th, 2009
6:41 am

Oh, TommyP, and to answer your question: pretty much every other school in the SEC would have fired Richt by now for not having brought home the trophy. They would have gotten to the point where the AD would have said “it’s time for us to go in another direction and bring a champtionship to XXXX.”

Bite me...

July 14th, 2009
7:00 am

KornDawg

July 14th, 2009
7:01 am

ByteMe: Ask a Carolina fan how much they would like 1 SEC title. They’d rename the town if RIcht had done the same in Columbia that he has done in Athens! In other words, he would not be fired!

JB

July 14th, 2009
7:07 am

“EVERY other would have have fired Richt.”..???? YOU ARE ill-informed my friend….Other than say Florida, every SEC WOULD hire RICHT in a new york minute if they were looking for a coach and he was looking……..he’s been a head coach for 8 years ( no time at all) and has has won 80% of his games in the toughest league in America…..You sir are a hater, not a objective student of the game !

hipdawg

July 14th, 2009
7:23 am

Richt didn’t drop the pass or get flagged or throw the late int. etc…..The only thing I would say is he could change coordinaters (def.) when the time calls for it.I love what he has done and excited about the future!!!

Mac

July 14th, 2009
7:27 am

Where else would Richt get fired after all his accomplishments? Why, Auburn, of course.

Richt is not a good coach. He’s a great one.

JB

July 14th, 2009
7:29 am

test….is this blog over ?

bigshot

July 14th, 2009
7:30 am

Until Mark Richt wins a NC this will be the type of rspect he gets. Winning championshhips is what it is all about. I am a UGA fan and like Mark Richt,but I fear UGA is sliding downward. The schedule this season may not help things either.

cobradawg

July 14th, 2009
7:31 am

Some people would hire Danny Ford, Jimmy Johnson, Or Barry Switzer to get a NC. Being a coach with some class, who actually tries to mold and educate young men, be dammed. I would’nt trade Mark Richt for ten NC’s

JB

July 14th, 2009
7:32 am

Byte me much be a Tech fan, where the new trophy case built to house ACC title trophies continues to SIT EMPTY !

bigshot

July 14th, 2009
7:38 am

Hipdawg,you say that MR did not drop the pass or get the flag thrown on him etc. Urban Meyer didn’t catch the pass or not get the flag thrown on him, but he coached the players who didn’t and Mark Richt coach the players who did. You offer a very lame excuse.

JB

July 14th, 2009
7:44 am

I disagree bigshot…here’s why……………Auburn and Tenn are in a mess……florida will be human again after this year…..our recruiting the last two years has been elevated from the previous 4-5 years….the 2010 commits are really strong…..I see better players and i think the coach’s are going to work harder than ever this year after last year……I say we struggle to 8 maybe 9 wins this year, but me think 2010 looks promising, even with a new QB. GO DAWGS

Mark Bradley

July 14th, 2009
7:47 am

You mean Kiffin the Younger isn’t the greatest coach ever, DawgJones?

brewdawg

July 14th, 2009
8:14 am

Only UGA fans would want to move Richt after what he’s done for this program. From the mid-80’s to 2001, this was the definition of a mediocre program, with what, one top ten finish? Now, under Richt, we are back on the national radar, finishing in the top 10 consistently. Florida has won 2 national titles with 1 loss. In 2002, UGA had one loss, but ran up against the rare “Two major unbeatens” year. In 2007, UGA finished SECOND in the nation, and probably came a missed chip shot field goal by Kentucky over Tennessee from playing in the national title game. But there is NO WAY Richt will be able to win it all right? It may not happen this year, but if the ridiculous, over-inflated sense of superiority stricken UGA fans don’t run him out of town, it WILL happen.

*And NO I’m not taking away ANYTHING from UF’s one-loss national titles. I’m simply saying that when you don’t go undefeated, the stars have to align for you.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 14th, 2009
8:29 am

First I think MR is a top 10 coach. Frank Beamer and Petterson, are you kiddin me. And if Tressell is not in the top 5, houw in the world can you put Stoops in there. Stoops is barely top 5 in his conference. As for PJ, totally agree. The guy wins where ever. If he can win at Tech with the academics and the lack a facilities, he can win anywhere

Frank

July 14th, 2009
8:32 am

The way you tell if Richt is on par with say a Meyer or Saban is to ask yourself if one of those would have been our coach the past eight years, would we have a N.C.???

athensdawg

July 14th, 2009
8:34 am

patience, pups. I believe they were writing the same things about jimmy johnson, howard snellenberger, barry switzer, etc. in the 80s….two guys who were left out of that loop….

tom osborne
bobby bowden

NEITHER could win the big game. But they finally got their place in the sun.
That’s the model CMR is following…..it aint sexy, its frustrating as all heck for us, but it is what it is.
deal with it.

Mark Bradley

July 14th, 2009
8:53 am

FYI, Switzer won two national titles in the 1970s. (AP-only in 1974, consensus No. 1 in 1975.) Just saying.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 14th, 2009
8:59 am

Mark, not to get off the subject but can you do a piece on how big an idiot Chris Berman is. Thanks for you consideration.

Monticello Dawg

July 14th, 2009
9:00 am

My views are similar to athensdawg- patience is required. As long as Richt keeps knocking on the door, eventually that NC will materialize. John Wooden, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno- all in 16th year as head coach before winning it all, Bobby Bowden, 23 years, Tom Osborne, 21. John Wooden, arguably the greatest collegiate coach in any sport, only made the NCAA tournament 3 times in his first 13 seasons while coaching at a school like UCLA. If the ADs at those schools had listened to some of the fans posting here, every one of them would have been fired.

Mark Bradley

July 14th, 2009
9:04 am

Thanks for the idea, Bank Walker. But what, if I may, prompted that?

Slickshea

July 14th, 2009
9:05 am

Enter your comments here

m

July 14th, 2009
9:06 am

The worst coach in the history of the world was chan gomer gailey…..and Thank God and Greyhound….he is gone.

The best coach is Paul Johnson….some of you idiots just haven’t figued it out yet….but you will.

Paul Johnson is playing chess while all these other guys are playing checkers. PJ finally has a platform to show what his offense can really do. And even in the first year at TECH, with a makeshift offensive line…with a QB that had never run the option and played hurt the whole year…without enough running backs…etc….he still won 9 games and beat #1 preseason ugag at sanford and son stadium.

Mark it down…Paul Johnson is the best coach around….just sit back and watch.

45-42….just the beginning.

Got 12?

July 14th, 2009
9:09 am

When I moved back to Atlanta from Alabama ten years ago (during the Donnan years), Auburn fans seemed to outnumber UGA fans two-to-one. Then came Richt. Now, there are UGA fans everywhere and most are whiners. He’s the best coach UGA has ever had but everyone still complains.

With time and a few adjustments, Richt will win a nation championship at UGA. I have no idea why the lofty expectations exist in the first place.

Slickshea

July 14th, 2009
9:11 am

Mark Bradley and Matt Hayes – both equally skilled at pissing off a fan base for no real reason other than generating chatter. Hayes for his senseless omission of Tressel. Bradley for his senseless inclusion of his last paragraph.

J

July 14th, 2009
9:13 am

MB, I believe that’s what Athensdawg was saying… he’s comparing CMR to Osborne and Bowden. And he is absolutely, 100% correct. I’ll take the class of Coach Richt over any other coach in America, especially that snot-nosed, smug, little fella in Gainesville. Win with class, lose with class.

JB

July 14th, 2009
9:14 am

you win 10 games EVERY YEAR………..the stars will line up soon and we win 12 and play for. the title…
( unless USC and OHIO state are also 12-0, which the TV GODS would put in the game)

Sting 'em Buzz

July 14th, 2009
9:21 am

Beamer has a title if memory serves me correctly.

I’m thankful that Paul Johnson is not the automatic win for UGA that Chan Gailey was. PJ’s days are already closer to the O’Leary days.

Sting 'em Buzz

July 14th, 2009
9:22 am

MB, I’m guessing that he watched the home run derby.

Sting 'em Buzz

July 14th, 2009
9:30 am

Berman — Home Run Derby….back back back back back gone

B

July 14th, 2009
9:42 am

Mark Richt has won more games in the SEC in the past 10 years than any other coach.

Mark Bradley

July 14th, 2009
9:43 am

I understand. That’s why I don’t watch the HRD.

MikeInValdosta

July 14th, 2009
9:53 am

Matty Hayes also picked OkieSt to go 12- 0. http://tinyurl.com/lgj2fw

DirtyDawg

July 14th, 2009
9:55 am

Assume Mark that you never had any intention of answering your own question of ‘where’d he go’, because he hasn’t gone anywhere but up. I was one that thought, along with Vince Dooley, that Jim Donnan – the guy that will be entering the College Football HOF if I recall correctly – deserved another year at UGA. He may have come in with a big chip on his shoulder and he may have been guilty of putting his faith in a talented, but flawed, QB, but he knew football and coached it well.

Regardless, the decision was made and we came out with one of the most gifted men that ever walked a sideline. We have become more proud of our program as never before – at least since Joel Eaves and Vince Dooley brought us back from the early 60’s. Where did he go? He’s right where he needs to be attracting talent and coaching ‘em up. Don’t be surprised when he whips that, so-called, #1 guy on this specious list…and any of the others that he, and we, may play this next year. I’ve got a feeling that this guy with Sporting News will have to eat his words at the end of the season…of course you people never really have to say you’re sorry, you just write some more crap to get the fights started.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 14th, 2009
9:56 am

You are correct. It has be building but he suggested that Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. be appointed to the All Star game like Willie Mays was at one time. What an idiot and a front runner. I can’t believe they let this guy prime time and golf, geeeezzz

Otto

July 14th, 2009
9:58 am

Beamer and Tressel in the Top 10? Both win best of the rest conferences and when faced with playing for it all don’t win. What is Tressel’s record against the SEC and what is VT’s record in ACC championship years or how did they play agaisnt FSU with a national title on the line?

CPJ? give it a few years and we’ll see.

CMR has become the old coach in the SEC but a win over UGA is never a given and 10 win season in a conf that has won 3 of the last 5 national titles is the norm.

Les Miles is finally starting his decline Jimbo and the top notch DCs are gone. Saban is also back taking in the recruits. Les will be out in 4 years. Ole Miss is stepping up their game and Petrino will recruit well at Arkansas.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 14th, 2009
10:02 am

I’m not much of a proof reader

Dawg85

July 14th, 2009
10:04 am

I’ll stick with Coach Richt too. Meyer’s a good coach, no doubt, but we’ll see how good after Tebow leaves. In Tebow he has a quarterback he will never see again. I’ll take 10 wins a year. UGA has had two years (2002 and 2008) where they could have had a shot at the National Championship but things just didn’t line up. Auburn goes undefeated in 2004 and doesn’t get a shot. The BCS is a crapshoot. CMR has won 2 SEC championships after UGA went 20 years without one. He’s going to win more before it’s over.

ByteMe

July 14th, 2009
10:06 am

KornDawg: it isn’t what Richt has done that makes him great, it’s what he hasn’t done that keeps him from being considered “great”.

As for Carolina, of course they’d love the success UGA is having… until the expectations are that they need even greater success, and then he’d be gone. For some reason, UGA has settled for a nice guy that can’t get his players past a certain level of success. Florida didn’t settle for only a certain level of success. Just ask Ron Zook about that.

TampaGator

July 14th, 2009
10:10 am

Anyone who thinks Richt is not a great coach is nuts. His problem is he has to play a better coached team every year. That is the Gators and Meyer. Meyer, no doubt, is the best coach in the SEC and the nation. If he had coached USC recently, they would have won about 5 national championships in a row. Richt and Carroll can recruit with Meyer, but they sure can’t coach up a team like Meyer does. Hate him and call him a “crier” all you want Bradley, but he isn’t going to Notre Dame and he isn’t getting out of Georgia’s Bulldog hair anytime soon. The top coach in America and the best program in America resides off University Avenue and 13th Street in a town called, “Winnersville, USA.” That Gainesville for short.