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.
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?)