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Where Does Mark Richt Rank Among B.C.S. Conference Coaches?

Peter Bean has a quarrel with Tom Dienhart's ranking of all 66 B.C.S. conference head football coaches . . . and he's not the only one.

I know I shouldn't take the bait, since this is yet another instance of a mainstream pundit of fading relevance desperately trying to prolong his diminishing utility by uttering sheer nonsense strictly for its shock value, but some instances of idiocy are so profound that they render me constitutionally incapable of leaving them unrebutted.

Dienhart lists Southern California's Pete Carroll at No. 1 and Ohio State's Jim Tressel at No. 2. It's hard to argue with either of those picks, but there the list begins to go awry. West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez is ranked third, followed by Wake Forest's Jim Grobe in fourth place.

Now, far be it from a Georgia fan to question Coach Rodriguez's sideline acumen, but, while his and Coach Grobe's achievements are impressive, the notion that their accomplishments warrant their placement ahead of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, and Alabama's Nick Saban---Dienhart's fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-best coaches, respectively---is something of a stretch.

He's good, but he's no Jim Grobe!

The next few fellows in the standings aren't terribly controversial (except for Dennis Erickson at No. 9), but, once Dienhart gets beyond the top 20, his judgment becomes odd to the point of being inexplicable and indefensible. He has Nebraska's Bill Callahan ranked 21st, Cal's Jeff Tedford ranked 22nd . . . and Mark Richt ranked 23rd.

Let's not mince words. That's just nuts.

Coach Callahan is an N.F.L. retread who took two seasons to figure out what everyone else who had ever seen a Cornhusker football game already knew. Coach Tedford is significantly better at his job than Coach Callahan, but he is closer to Ray Goff than to Mark Richt.

There simply aren't 22 head football coaches in America better than Mark Richt. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are ranked seventh and 12th, respectively, yet Coach Richt is as accomplished as each of them. Coach Richt has a record of .500 or better in head-to-head meetings with five of the 22 coaches ranked ahead of him, including two of the top 10.

From there, the list only gets goofier. Oregon State's Mike Riley (No. 25) is ranked ahead of Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer (No. 31). Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey (No. 30) is ranked ahead of Rutgers's Greg Schiano (No. 33). Kentucky's Rich Brooks (No. 40) is ranked ahead of Notre Dame's Charlie Weis (No. 42). I take a back seat to no one in my belief that the Fighting Irish are overrated, but I guarantee you that any Wildcat fan alive would trade Coach Brooks for Coach Weis.

The preceding mention of the State University of New Jersey obligates me to include the foregoing photograph of Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis.

Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, Miami's Randy Shannon, Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski, and Iowa State's Gene Chizik are ranked 61st, 62nd, 64th, and 66th, respectively. What basis could Dienhart possibly have for evaluating these new hires and proclaiming them failures?

If he wants to give them incompletes and declare them ineligible to be ranked (as College Football Resource reasonably does when compiling conference coaching rankings), fine, but downgrading them based upon a lack of information is absurd. Given what we know about Coach Chizik and Coach Shannon as coordinators, do we really have any reason to believe they aren't superior to Virginia's Al Groh (No. 34), Pittsburgh's Dave Wannstedt (No. 45), U.C.L.A.'s Karl Dorrell (No. 48), or Illinois's Ron Zook (No. 49)?

Tom Dienhart is writing solely for the purpose of getting a rise out of people and, in this cheap and juvenile objective, he has succeeded because I seldom suffer fools gladly . . . and I suffer fools with press passes never. Dienhart is a blithering dufus with nothing to write that is useful, informative, interesting, or true.

His time and ours would be better spent if he compiled for his private edification a list of 66 hair and makeup tips from Mike Greenberg, who shares with Dienhart a career in sports journalism despite a complete lack of knowledge about sports.

Go 'Dawgs!