Monday, April 21, 2014

How Georgia, Georgia Tech Are Like Alabama, Auburn

Or for the college basketball flavor: How UGA and Ga. Tech are like Kentucky and Louisville.

The Peach State colleges may not have had the same success as their neighbors to the West in football or to the North in basketball, but they are in professional golf tournaments.

Take this stat from @RivalsCup (a great follow if you are a fan of the PGA Tour and/or college golf) following this past weekends RBC Heritage won by Georgia Tech alum Matt Kuchar.
Rivals Cup tracks money won and FedEx Cup points of each college golf program on the PGA Tour.  Last year, Georgia Tech finished first in money won with Georgia finishing second.  So far in 2014 its the Bulldogs at number one with the Yellow Jackets number two.  Both programs have 10 alumni who have won money on the PGA Tour this season.

This past weekend, the current college squads at Tech and Georgia squared off in Match Play with the Jackets winning 5-1.  Both teams are ranked in the top six nationally with the NCAA Championship starting in about a month.

Monday, April 14, 2014

ACC Football: Ranking Coaching Jobs From Worst To Best

A league that has taken its lumps over the last decade may be on the rise again led by BCS winner Florida State, supported by a consistent Clemson program, and elevated by the addition of Louisville.  Those three schools are at or near the top of my best jobs ranking for the ACC. 

14. Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons just had arguably their best coach in the modern era retire - Jim Grobe. Even after winning the ACC in 2006 he found it very hard to sustain that anywhere near that level of success mostly in part to the small size of the school - 2nd smallest in FBS - and therefore lack of recruiting or fan footprint.  Dave Clawson takes over this season and will have his work cut out to get Wake back to bowl games.

13. Duke

A lot like their NC private school brethren, Duke suffers from a small student body and fan support for the football program.  What David Cutcliffe did this past season was remarkable when you look at Duke's history in modern college football.  The national name recognition from basketball does help some though.

12. Syracuse 

The Orange were once a relative power in the Northeast going to bowl games nearly every year.  Many top New York kids are now looking South to play their college football which has hurt their recruiting territory, but the 'Cuse can be a viable program in the ACC and their top notch Communications school helps much more than you realize. 

11. Boston College

BC is another private school - in fact the bottom 4 on this list are all private - limited by alumni size and fan footprint.  The Eagles are in probably the biggest pro sports town in the country too which hurts with gaining attention from sidewalk fans.  But BC has had more success as of late than most of the former Big East and more national recognition in part because of its success versus Notre Dame.

10.  Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia is a good, but not a great state for recruiting.  Despite being the flagship university they are overshadowed in football by rival Virginia Tech. Since George Welsh left the program has struggled to achieve sustained success.  The necessary elements are in place to be a bowl team more years than not.

9. NC State

The Wolfpack are usually in their neighbors shadows on the athletic fields despite a large alumni footprint.  NC State has won seven ACC Championships, but most of those came in the 60s.  I think the Athletic Department can't decide if it wants to go full bore into football to gain a leg up in the Triangle or hold onto its basketball roots and that in-decision hurts football which could be strong.

8. Pitt

The Panthers programs was one of the best in the nation during the 70s and 80s, but bad coaching hires and population shift away from Western Pa. and NE Ohio have severely impacted their recruiting efforts. Like BC, Pitt is overshadowed by their  hometown pro team.  Still, recruits and coaches will take a second look because of their history and playing in a pro stadium could turn some recruits and coaches on to them.

7. North Carolina

The state is very underrated in high quality football talent -so much attention is placed on basketball, but football players are very abundant. The right coach can be very successful due to that talent base - see Mack Brown.  Basketball success helps the name recognition, but it also hurts sustained popularity as once November starts the majority of the fan attention moves towards the hardwood. 

6.  Georgia Tech

The school is located in a hotbed of talent, but academic restrictions and limited curriculum make it impossible to keep up with the surrounding SEC schools.  The campus setting in Atlanta can be a blessing, while also being a curse.  College and pro athletes love the city, but like BC and Pitt the athletic programs are overshadowed sometimes by their pro neighbors.

5. Louisville

The buying power of their athletic department puts Louisville higher than their historical success would.  Charlie Strong did not immediately accept the Texas job.  That should tell you what Louisville is able to accomplish for its coaches and programs. 

4. Virginia Tech

Like their in-state brethren they are in a good, not great state for recruiting. The distance from the SEC actually helps keep most of the top talent home.  Up until a few years ago, the Hokies had the longest streak of 10+ wins in the nation.  When Frank Beamer steps away it will be interesting to see which direction the program goes as the location is not a natural for a top 20 program as they have been under Beamer. 

3. Miami

The Hurricanes have my second highest ceiling as a program in college football, but the program is going on nine years without a MNC run and the fan support can be dismal when a non-power is the opponent.  You won't find a better local area for recruiting in the country though and the fans will come when the 'Canes are winning.

2. Clemson

The Tigers have very strong fan support from one of the smaller Top 20 programs in terms of alumni base.  South Carolina, while small on numbers, is packed with top level talent on a per-capita basis.  Clemson can also reach into neighboring Georgia and North Carolina to pick talent off.  Fan expectations are high though and many coaches in the past have not met them. 

1. FSU

The Seminoles also rank near the top for programs with the highest ceilings.  FSU has just about everything going for it that a top high school athlete would want - homegrown talent, history of winning, large fan base - and those advantages are very big over just about every ACC school.  Any shortcomings the Seminoles have are only against programs outside the ACC.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who Will Be The New Georgia Tech Basketball Assistant Coach (UPDATED) ?

Georgia Tech posted a job yesterday for an Assistant Basketball Coach.

(You can search for the job here Req #0169677)

On the Yellow Jackets staff currently is Chad Dollar, Josh Postorino, and Billy Schmidt.  Director of Player Development is Bruce Evans though I would imagine his job posting would be classified as such.

Or is this posting for the Women's program?

Any Georgia Tech "insiders" know more?

***UPDATED: Ken Sugiura, the Georgia Tech beat writer for the AJC is reporting Josh Postorino is the assistant departing Atlanta.  My early guess for a replacement is Amir Abdur-Rahim.  The Wheeler High School alum was the Director of Player Development for the Yellow Jackets in Brian Gregory's first season before being hired away as an assistant coach at College of Charleston.  Abdur- Rahim, whose brother is former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim, has ties to the Wheeler basketball program where the number one prospect in the state will be a Senior next year, Jaylen Brown.  Brown is the top recruit on Tech's board for the 2015 class and Gregory along with assistant Chad Dollar have been recruiting Brown since they arrived in Atlanta.   

Monday, April 7, 2014

What Is Former Georgia Tech DB Jerrard Tarrant Up To?

After leaving the Yellow Jacket program following his Redshirt Junior season, Jerrard Tarrant has struggled to catch on the in NFL.  He was invited to the New York Giants camp and played in all four preseason games but was cut by the team prior to the regular season. The Carrollton, Ga. native can still be found around Ga. Tech athletics events from time to time.

Tarrant has recently caught on with indoor football team in Dalton, Ga.
Jerrard Tarrant had not played organized football in three years.

But after returning to the field for the Georgia Rampage’s season opener last month, he didn’t appear to lose anything from his days playing for the Georgia Tech football team.
“He just knows where to be at all times,” Rampage coach Mark Bramblett said. “You can’t coach that. It’s just something they know. Not only can he cover good, but he can lower the boom on someone, too, when he needs to make a tackle.”
Tarrant's memorable punt return for a touchdown vs Clemson in 2009.

Georgia Rampage: Former Yellow Jacket catching on quickly

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Did Refs Miss Game Changing Call In Kentucky Wichita State Game?

With 7.2 seconds remaining in the game and Kentucky up 1, the Wildcats' Andrew Harrison dribbled the ball up the court guarded by Wichita's State Ron Baker.  A foul was called on Baker whose Shockers needed to stop the clock.  Almost simultaneously as the foul was called Harrison lifted his elbow into Baker's head based on the picture below.

 The referees have the opportunity to review calls like this on the monitor but chose not to.  A flagrant 1 call on Kentucky would have given Wichita State two free throws and the ball.  

What do you think? Should the refs have called a flagrant foul on this play?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

5 Names For The Next Auburn Basketball Coach

Tony Barbee was not delivering on the $92.5 Million investment Auburn/
 Multiple reports are stating Auburn Basketball Head Coach Tony Barbee has been fired after four seasons. 

Auburn is by no means a basketball powerhouse and fan support is very low right now.  But here are five names which can help bring the basketball program back to a competitive level in the SEC.

1. Bob Hoffman, Mercer
Mercer won the A-Sun Tournament and tied for the regular season championship this year.  But the Bears have enjoyed increasing success over his time in Macon.  Hoffman has 61% winning percentage and 64% in conference.  His ties to the state of Georgia will help with recruiting a critical area for Auburn's success.

2. Brad Brownell, Clemson
It seems hard to believe a basketball coach in the ACC would leave for the SEC but if Auburn throws some of their football money Brownell's way he will listen.  As one of the lowest paid head coaches in the ACC with an above average record Brownell is due a raise.  Can Clemson pay that considering what they just gave Dabo Swinney?

3. Ron Hunter, Georgia State
After toiling at IUPUI for many years, Hunter has Georgia State vying for a NCAA Tournament bid after winning the regular season title in the Sun Belt.  More importantly, Hunter has connections in the talent hotbed of Atlanta where Auburn must succeed in recruiting to return the program to prominence.

4. Mike Young, Wofford
Young took over a struggling program and has taken it to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons.  This is while going head to head for a single bid in the Southern Conference with one of the most underrated coaches nationally, Bob McKillop at Davidson.  All three of the Terriers NCAA appearances all-time are under Young.

5. Bruce Pearl
Pearl is the ultimate wild card for any program looking for a coach.  He took Tennessee to six straight NCAA Tournaments but he has a NCAA "show cause" until August 23rd of this but that that doesn't preclude him from being hired; it simply means a hiring institution must "show cause" for why the sanctions against Pearl should not follow him to his new job.  So what if Auburn goes under a one year post season ban for hiring Pearl?  It is not as if they have been missing out on much as of late.  Another plus for Pearl is he made a living off recruiting Georgia for players to build his post season teams.

If AD Jay Jacobs wants  Pearl he may to fight off Boston College who is on the verge of firing Steve Donahue.  Pearl is a Boston native.

Whomever Auburn hires must have recruiting ties to the South.  Ties to the state of Georgia and specifically Atlanta would be a major plus.

Who do you think Auburn should hire? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Would UGA Basketball Be On The NCAA Tournament Bubble If They Had Beaten Georgia Tech?

Mark Fox didn't think the loss to Ga. Tech was funny and especially not now/AP
 The Georgia Bulldogs hoops team finished the SEC regular season in a tie for second place with preseason number 1 Kentucky by virtue of winning 8 of their last 10 games.

In a normal year, tying for second in the SEC would be a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament.  But this season the conference is down ranking last of any of the seven major conferences in RPI.  Also, anytime UGA's NCAA Tournament chances are discussed the conversation ends with their poor showing in the non-conference part of their schedule where they were just 6-6. 

The Bulldogs RPI is in the 70s, which is off the NCAA bubble, largely because of these two factors.

One of those six losses was to in-state rival Georgia Tech back on November 15.  The Bulldogs were down by five at halftime, down by 17 early in the second half, and spent nearly the entire second half in a double-digit deficit before pulling within nine in the last minute.  The loss was the third straight to Georgia Tech.

After that game, everyone in the crowd thought the team with NCAA Tournament aspirations come March was Georgia Tech, not the Bulldogs. 

But a multitude of injuries sank the Yellow Jackets season and their RPI to the 160s at its lowest point this season.  Ga. Tech currently ranks 149th after defeating Syracuse and Virginia Tech this past week.

After frustrating non-conference results UGA's RPI was in the low 200s and it seemed like a foregone conclusion Mark Fox would be fired, maybe even before the season ended.

Bolstered by a 12-6 league record the Bulldogs have moved their RPI all the way up to 73 and still have a chance at the NCAA Tournament, but will need to do it the old-fashioned way by winning the SEC Tournament.

If we look at what is hurting Georgia's chances of an at-large bid it is that nasty non-conference record.  The loss to Georgia Tech is one of the worst based strictly on RPI.

But what if UGA had beaten Tech?

The website can forecast such a change in history.   

If Mark Fox had notched a win over Brian Gregory, UGA's RPI would jump 15 spots up to 58.  This RPI would put Georgia on the NCAA bubble. Jerry Palm's bracketology as of March 9 has Arkansas as one of the last four teams in the Tournament and the Razorbacks RPI ranks 62nd.  

College basketball detractors say the sport's importance has been watered down by not enough games mattering like they do in football.  I think UGA hoops 2013-14 season is a great counterpoint to that argument and one Fox will harp on to his team all offseason.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AJC [Lack of] Coverage of Georgia Tech Upset Win Over #7 Syracuse

The Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, Ga, scored their biggest basketball win of the season (maybe even the last four seasons) beating 7th ranked Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on the Orange's Senior Night.

Yet trying to find coverage of the Yellow Jackets win in the "hometown" paper I had to dig through headlines of Vince Vaughn visiting Atlanta, a radio DJ [possibly] losing his job, and "More breaking news at" headlines.

Here is a screenshot of the front page at Midnight, only 3 hours after the Yellow Jackets scored one of the biggest upsets of the season in college basketball.

Here is a screenshot of the front page of the page.

Not one headline mention of the school located a few miles from downtown Atlanta even in the Sports front page!

There is a headline about Michael Jordan playing baseball 20 years ago and "5 tips for getting to Wednesday's soccer match".

Honest Question: Did someone at Georgia Tech royally piss off the AJC?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Top Georgia High School Basketball Coach Dishes on UGA Hoops

After a humbling non-conference portion of the season, Georgia basketball has rebounded in SEC play with eyes on a top four conference finish and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament. 

I doubt even the most optimistic UGA basketball fan thought Mark Fox would have his club vying for a NIT bid after their November performance including losses to Georgia Tech, Davidson, and Temple and the perceived lack of talent on the roster - the Bulldogs average star ranking is 2.6 which is second worst in the SEC.

Like much of the SEC as of late, basketball success has been a struggle for the Bulldogs.  The Georgia Sports Blog did a nice post on the recent history of the program. Fox's detractors have consistently pointed to his lack of success on the recruiting trail as the reason for the program's most recent slide.

Former Milton coach David Boyd dished on the current state of the UGA program and their recruiting efforts to the AJC:
‘’It’s very very simple. What my players have told me in the past is they aren’t going to Georgia because they perceive it to be considered second-class to football. If Georgia can defeat that perception, that basketball is second class, then they will come, and they will come in droves. It helps that Georgia now has a couple of Miller Grove players there, Kenny Gaines from Whitefield Academy, Charles Mann from Milton. It helps to have that Georgia flavor to the team. This year is going to really catapult Georgia into some great things.’’
What are your thoughts?  Do you see Fox's recruiting starting to turn around based on this season?  Can football and basketball both have large followings in Athens?

Georgia Tech, Georgia Battle It Out For 2014 Recruits

Unlike college football, college basketball has two signing periods. An "early signing period" in November and a "late signing period" starting on April 16.

The Bulldogs have just 1 scholarship to give out in 2014, but have 7 offers out according to  The Yellow Jackets have 3 spots available for 2014 after dismissing Solomon Poole earlier in the season.  Both programs are also loading up for a huge 2015 recruiting year in the state of Georgia where 7 prospects are already ranked in Rivals Top 150.

In addition to several 2015 prospects, Mark Fox and Brian Gregory are now going to head to head for Jackson Davis of Lexington, Kentucky who was offered by both programs last night.   Davis is ranked as a 3 star by and ESPN .

Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory was in Lexington last night to watch Davis along with assistants from UGA.

In addition to the battle for Davis, the Jackets also recently offered 3-star F Matt Cimino who has had an offer from UGA since mid-January.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Georgia Tech Basketball: Yellow Jackets Look To End Skid Against Clemson Tigers

One side of this picture has enjoyed their head to head meetings/
If it's possible to have a big game when you are 13-13 overall and 4-9 in ACC play, then Georgia Tech has one Saturday vs Clemson.  Brian Gregory played the first 10 ACC games with just nine scholarship players and has played at times with just seven scholarship players.

The Tigers are fighting to get on the NCAA bubble in what has been a surprising season thus far for Brad Brownell's picked to finish 14th in the preseason.   Five points about Saturday's Noon matchup between the Tigers and Jackets. 

1. Clemson is looking for its 9th consecutive win over Georgia Tech.
In addition to the current streak, the Tigers have won 14 of the last 17 meetings.  Clemson has the lowest all-time winning percentage in ACC games all-time (35%) yet hold a 41-31 advantage over GT in regular season ACC games.  Clemson also leads the all-time series 64-59.  Even Bobby Cremins was only 19-21 vs Clemson.  Your average fan would never guess this series record or even the recent dominance as Tech is perceived to be the much stronger program due to their higher level NCAA Tournament success.  The exact opposite is true in football where GT holds a 49-27-2 series lead. 

2. Is Brad Brownell doing a good job or is Brian Gregory doing a bad job?
According to, the average recruiting ranking for the Tigers is 2.8 out of 5 stars whereas the Jackets rank on average 3.4. Despite this recruited talent advantage Gregory is 0-5 vs Clemson while Brownell is 7-0 vs Georgia Tech.

3. If it seems like Clemson wins ALL the close games against Tech it's because they do
The five Gregory coached losses to the Tigers have come by 2,19, 3,3, and 4 points or an average of 6 points.  The average drops to 3 points if you exclude the biggest loss.  Georgia Tech has really struggled offensively against the Tigers failing to score more than 62 points in any of the last seven meetings.  Defensively, Tech has held Brownell's club to an average of 58 points so expect a low scoring game Saturday.

4. Close losses are not just relegated to games against Clemson.
According to @MattThompson87 in games decided by 5 points or less (i.e. the Clemson series) GT is just 16-35 since 2006.  If you remove the 2nd Round NCAA Tournament year of 2010 the record drops to 8-30.  The Tigers are favored by one point Saturday.

5. Does this game have significance for Gregory's future at GT? 
This game is not a make or break for the third year coach; he will back next season.  But, going 0-6 versus your biggest ACC rival adds to the sour taste the 2013-14 season has had.  The biggest complaints against Gregory are his lack of player development.  Losing for the sixth straight time to a squad with perceived lesser talent only add to this charge.

Clemson SB Nation Blog Shakin The Southland has a great writeup on how the Tigers won the first meeting of the season here and mentions the Ken Pom projected score of 57-55.  How would Tech fans handle ANOTHER close loss to Clemson?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Georgia Tech Baseball Opens Season With Come From Behind Victory (And Other Baseball Notes)

Georgia Tech rallied to beat Old Dominion in their season opener Friday 6-5.  They will face Radford today while ODU plays VCU in the "Battle of Midtown"

One of the most interesting nuggets from this article was that this is the first time in 21 seasons Danny Hall's club has not been ranked in the preseason.  Many GT teams have failed to live up to preseason expectations so it will be interesting to see how this team responds. 
AJC: 8 Things To Know About Georgia Tech Baseball

College Baseball Daily ACC Preview (here is the SEC one as well)

In addition to starting the season unranked for the first time in 21 seasons, GT was picked to finish 4th in the Coastal Division by the ACC Coaches behind Virginia, UNC, and Miami.

And one more preseason NCAA Tournament projection from College Baseball Daily has Georgia Tech sneaking into the Tournament as a 3 seed much like Baseball America

Friday, February 14, 2014

Baseball America Tabs Georgia Tech For NCAA Field, UGA On Outside Looking In

The college baseball season opens this weekend as much of the South is still thawing out from a "historical" ice storm.

Both Georgia and Georgia Tech are in rebuilding modes entering the season. The Yellow Jackets played in a Regional Final last season but lost their top bats and bring back a young pitching staff. Meanwhile in Athens, the Bulldogs start anew with new coach Scott Stricklin takes over for the fired David Perno. Stricklin was an assistant at Georgia Tech from 2002-2004 and gained the reputation as a monster recruiter. He came from Kent State where as Head Coach he took the Golden Flashes to the CWS in 2012.

Baseball America released a preseason NCAA field of 64 which included the Jackets as one of the last teams in but left out the Bulldogs.

Georgia Tech opens the season with a home tournament against Radford, Old Dominion, and VCU. Georgia starts at home against Georgia Southern in a double-header Saturday with new energy surrounding the program.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The 10 Best Head Coaches In College Football

Having a great head coach is almost always the difference between a good program and a great one.  I could see each one of my top 10 head coaches winning a MNC at their current school and expect it if they are at one of my top programs with the highest ceilings.  Below is my 2014 off season top 10 head coaches.  

10.  Gus Malzahn, Auburn

While Auburn had been reeling in top ten recruiting classes year after year leading up to this season, it takes a special coach to take a program from 3-9 one year to within four points of a MNC the next.  Malzahn's biggest task now is keeping it going with a target on his back.  He will have to fight off negative recruiting how his offense does not simulate the NFL.

9.  David Shaw, Stanford

The Cardinal have the most beautiful combination of academics, athletics, and campus life in major college football.  If I have a son with an offer to play at Stanford they will without questing be getting an official visit.  However, those academics can be tricky as the pool of recruits is so small compared to your national rivals.  If Shaw can get Stanford over the hump into the MNC game in the playoff era his stock goes WAY UP in my mind.

8. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Two BCS titles and a two undefeated seasons gets you on this list no matter how many detractors you have.  Meyer was the spark to the dominance of the SEC in the BCS era.  The Buckeyes won 24 straight on Urban's arrival though lost the last two.  If their is a school outside the sun belt that can keep with the SEC, FSU, Texas, Oklahoma, etc its Ohio State with Meyer at the helm.  

7. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

For a while it looked like the Oklahoma program was regressing.  The win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl was big it was really culmination for what you could argue was the best program throughout the BCS era.  The Sooners finished with the second most BCS bowl appearances with nine (tied for first if you vacate Ohio State 2011 Sugar Bowl) and tied for the most BCS title game appearances with four. In his 15 seasons in Norman, Stoops has 12 double-digit win seasons.

6. Art Briles, Baylor

The former Texas HS coach has turned a long dormant program into a Big 12 champion.  Baylor is a small, Baptist school surrounded by football behemoths in their own state yet it was Briles who led the best program  this year.  While I don't doubt he has gotten significant help from school administration to better support football it still takes convincing kids to come to a program that only made it in the Big 12 because the Governor of Texas at the time of the conference forming was a Baylor graduate.  It will be interesting to see if Briles can maintain close to this level of success, but for now he has earned this spot. 

5. Jimbo Fisher, FSU

The most recent and last BCS title winner checks in at number 5.  Fisher did not build what FSU is today-Bobby Bowden did that-but he revived the program back to national prominence that everyone tried to model in the 90s.  Fisher ranks high on my list because of his ability to follow a legend.  Ask Ray Perkins or Ron Zook about how easy that is.  Maybe the most impressive thing about Fisher is how he went toe to toe with the SEC on the recruiting trail and won those battles at a time when it seems all prospects care about is the league they play in and not the program (check out Kentucky's most recent on field records and recruiting rankings if you don't agree)

4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

A slow riser, Dantonio had his best season yet in East Lansing capping off a Big Ten title with a Rose Bowl win over Stanford accomplishing both wins as an underdog.  While Michigan State has some football history, it is overshadowed by its in-state neighbor Michigan and must rely heavily on players from Ohio where the Buckeyes many times get the pick of the litter (and what they don't get usually Michigan does).  With a new contract and what appears to be the best DC in college football it will be interesting to see if the Spartans can maintain their success. 

3. Nick Saban, Alabama

Saban is a great coach.  Three MNC in five seasons is remarkable and the Tide are the gold standard in college football right now.  The only reason he is not #1 or #2 is because he is not doing something that hasn't already been done at his school.  Bear Bryant was Nick Saban at Alabama before Nick Saban and made the Crimson Tide a household name in CFB.  However, Alabama will be in the hunt for another MNC next season and another MNC will certainly reshuffle my list. 

2. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

Nearly every SEC coaches list you will read will have Saban ahead of Spurrier. Why?  Because Saban has more BCS titles (3 to 1). I understand that argument but why I have the Ol' Ball Coach is because what he has transformed programs into.  At Duke he tied for an ACC title, something the Blue Devils had not accomplished in 27 years.  Before he returned to his alma mater, the Gators had zero 10 win seasons and zero SEC Championships.  Two seasons later, the Gator had an SEC trophy on their mantle.  He never won less than nine games in his 12 seasons in Gainesville and finished with nine 10 win seasons.  His success at South Carolina has taken longer but is nonetheless as remarkable.  The Gamecocks had a losing all-time record before Spurrier arrived.  They had never beaten in-state rival Clemson five straight times until Spurrier did it this past season.

1. Chris Petersen, Washington

The Huskies scored a major coup (especially when compared Pac 12 rival USC) when they landed Petersen.  The former Boise State coach has an 89% winning percentage in eight seasons as a head coach losing only 12 games, four of which occurred this past season.  While Petersen took over a program that had winning seasons, that culture was developed in part when he was the OC.  You could make an argument his success at a non-BCS school (two BCS bowl appearances, two wins) was a driving force behind the fall of the system.  I highly doubt we will ever see this level of success at a non-BCS school for a long, long time and that is why he tops my list of the best college football coaches.   

Now that Petersen is at a BCS school with resources he will need to impress quickly to maintain the top spot among college football coaches.

5 College Football Programs With The Highest Ceilings

Coaches are fired every year because athletic departments perceive those coaches to not be reaching the program's ceiling of which they lead.  To succeed to the highest level in college football you need talent, first and foremost.  

I don't care how good of a coach you are if you don't have talent (either recruited or developed) you simply will not win consistently.  It helps to have a big fan base to help woo top flight talent but location is also a big draw to be able to play in front of friends and family.

These five schools have some combination of fan support and/or rich recruiting base which put them in a category all by themselves in the elite of college football.  One of these five programs has played in 13 of 16 BCS Championship Games.

5. Florida

Located within a talent rich state in the best conference in the country give the Gators great potential.  The advantages are big but so are the expectations. Since Steve Spurrier brought his alma mater to college football's elite and finding a long term program leader has been tougher than other elite programs. 

4. USC

The Trojans are the only historical and modern football program of success west of Texas.  Southern California enjoys a talent base almost as good as South Florida though much more spread out.  When that talent is harnessed this Pac 12 school can compete with anyone the SEC brings on.    

3. FSU

The Seminoles of the 90s were the program the top of the SEC have modeled themselves after in the 2000s.  While they don't have the SEC to sell they do sit in talent rich triangle of Florida, SW Georgia, and SE Alabama.  And playing in the ACC will give FSU more chances to be undefeated and their name will get them in top four on that record.   

2. Miami

It goes back to Howard Schnellenberger and the "State of Miami".  When the Hurricanes have Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties on lock down they are on top of the college football world.  The fan support is certainly not to the level of other elite programs, but when this program is winning the Hurricanes are the hot commodity on South Beach.

1. Alabama

No program enjoys 365 days of fan support like the Tide.  While the in-state isn't enough to dominate on alone it is a very good start and Bama's recruiting reach can be as wide as their fans are rapid.  Add these advantages to playing in the best conference in the country and you can see why the Crimson Tide have the highest ceiling in college football.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Georgia Tech Starting QB Vad Lee Transfers, Where Do The Yellow Jackets Go From Here?

Georgia Tech reporter Kelly Quinlan first reported on Thursday night that starting Yellow Jacket QB Vad Lee was planning to transfer.

Lee started 13 games while at Tech and played a large part in a handful more including a 68-50 win at North Carolina in 2012.

But the Durham, NC native really struggled in 2013 to fully grasp Paul Johnson's offense and Tech had arguably their worst offensive season yet in Johnson's regime.

So what's next for Georgia Tech at Quarterback?

In February 2012, the Yellow Jackets signed former Alabama commit Justin Thomas to play QB.  The Tide wanted the 6A State Champion QB to play in their defensive backfield.  You can check out Thomas' HS highlights below (Warning: Nearly all of Thomas' highlights are from the shotgun which Johnson doesn't seem to care to run out of)

Thomas will battle Tim Byerly, RS Freshman Ty Griffin, and True Freshman Matthew Jordan in Spring Practice but is expected to win the starting job.