Georgia Football: Sporting News Ranking Of Football Coaches All Dog


The Sporting News dropped Georgia football head coach Mark Richt to number 26 in its recent ranking of college football head coaches. No one seems to care, nor should they

When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news. Charles Anderson Dana

It’s that time of year when college football writers resort to biting, and this year, the Big Dawg himself was bitten.

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In its rarely anticipated annual ranking of college football head coaches, the Sporting News dropped Mark Richt 12 spots, strategically placing Richt at a news making number 26.

Not taking the bait, the Dawg Nation remains subdued. Besides, the Sporting News dog won’t hunt.

At the top of Matt Hayes’ list is Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, TCU’s Gary Patterson, and Baylor’s Art Briles. No one will argue much with those five. But coming in at number six, Hayes chooses Michigan’s Jim Harbough.

Harbough’s college coaching record is 40-22, 65% winning percentage. At Stanford, Harbough’s most recent collegiate stop, he was 50-29 for a winning percentage of 58% , and under 50% in two of four years with season wins of 4, 5, 8, and 12. That’s a pretty goofy pick for sixth best college coach in the land.

Ironically, David Shaw of Stanford ranks the seventh best head coach with a record of 42-12 in his four seasons. Yes. Shaw won more games in four years at Stanford than number six ranked Harbough did in five years at Stanford. Shaw’s winning percentage is 77% , 12 percentage points higher than Harbough.

With choices number 11 through 15 one must assume Hayes is most interested in provoking a discussion, so let’s discuss.

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At eleven is Notre Dames’ Brian Kelly. A 69% winning record at the school with the most recognizable name in college athletics, Hayes ranks Kelly an almost top ten coach. The record is not surprising; his career mark is 70%. Kelly did play for a national title in 2012, but we can’t say he is trending up, losing four and five games his last two season including four of his last five games. But as Hayes said, ”He’s still an elite coach . . .” If you say so.

UCLA’s Jim Mora earns a number 12 rank with a 29-11 record at a west coast athletic powerhouse UCLA. Three years seems a bit light to rank a coach in the top 15 and this choice gets a pass except for this comment by Hayes, “ . . . he’s on the verge of making UCLA relevant.” UCLA has to be relevant for its coach to rank in the top 15.

Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops gets the number 13 rank for his 77% winning percentage during the last five seasons. Stoops is a bit of a whiner, but it’s a good choice, except Harbough, Kelly and Mora rank ahead of him. Stoops only won eight games last year, the fourth time in 16 seasons he has won less than 10 games. If Stoops left Oklahoma as some wish, he would have his pick of jobs, and for that he should rank in the top 10.

At number 14 is Arizona’s Rich Rodriquez with a winning percentage over the last five seasons he coached of 58%. But overall, he’s 62%. ‘Nough said. Another head scratcher.

Ranked number 15 is Arkansas’ Brett Bielema. Bielema is a creative choice and requires the most optimism. Hayes writes, “Bielema has reshaped and rebranded the program in all of two years, and the Hogs are legitimate contenders in the SEC.” The Hogs made progress last year, but there was nowhere to go but up. Arkansas is not a legitimate SEC contender and Bielema does not belong in the top 15.

Compounding the Bielema oddity are the coaches which follow. Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel roared out of the Big 12 and into the SEC driving a basketball school into consecutive SEC Championship games while Bielema is still struggling at Arkansas.

Duke’s David Cutlclilffe, probably the most underrated person in college football, period, ranks 17. If there is one coach whose record should be ignored and staked to a top 10 ranking, it’s David Cutlcliffe.

For reasonable and well thought out rankings of college football coaches, check out Tom Fornelli’s ranking for and Brian Peterson’s ranking in the

They aren’t dogs.

Next: An Homage to the Georgia Kicking Greats