Archive for the ‘sec football’ Category

Blood Thicker Than Tears?

October 18, 2008

Former Samford/Auburn head man and current motivational speaker/FSU ‘observer’/wannabe WVU coach/ college football analyst Terry Bowden learned this week that the non-coaching Bowden fraternity gained a third member in older brother Tommy.


In his most recent column, Terry B says “Tommy knew expectations weren’t met” at Clemson, after opening 2008 at 3-3 after perhaps the most preseason expectations of his career.  The now finalized Clemson entry on his resume includes no ACC titles, but the now beefed-up bank account with his name on the ledger includes a few more zeros.

Terry went on to say (after referring to his own coaching accomplishments) that he and his brother are close and while it is very difficult for him to write, Tommy really did “deserve what happened to him Monday.“  Clemson, after all still has “as much talent as anyone in the conference” and had not met the clear expectation off winning a at least winning a conference title.  Clemson, Terry reckons, “deserve[s] the right to try to find a coach they believe can get them there.”  Tommy, “of all people, knew what to expect when he got into this business. [He and his brothers] grew up in it.”


Little Bro Terry wrote that Tommy “agreed to resign,” while many other media outlets simply called it a firing.  The AJC went that route, and also noted the similarities between Tommy’s departure – “college football’s earliest coaching exit since 2003” – and Terry’s last decade:


  • “Both took their leave six games into the season.
  • The departures came almost exactly 10 years apart — Tommy on Oct. 13 and Terry on Oct. 23, 1998.
  • They left programs nicknamed Tigers, with orange as their color.
  • Both schools appointed former Alabama assistants as interim coach — Bill Oliver taking over for Terry, Dabo Swinney for Tommy.”


For his part, Pappa Bobby cut to the chase: ”That’s the way this profession works. There ain’t but one answer, and that’s winning.”


The family may not be shedding tears over Tommy’s firing/resignation/golden parachute, but tailback James (not “Lightning”) Davis was crying according to ESPN.  And he’s not alone.  At least one fan produced similar waterworks:



Somewhat reminiscent of Tommy’s own liquid breakdown:



And for the other 99% of Death Valley Nation…  there’s always the next hot prospect in waiting – reasdy to be tempted by millions of dollars and hundreds of rubs of Howard’s Rock, and the waiting arms of a DB:




Are ACC Coaches Kidding Themselves?

July 27, 2008


Seemingly out of nowhere, during last month’s ACC football meetings in Greensboro, GA Clemson HC Tommy Bowden took a shot at the proverbial ‘big dog’ SEC:


“Not long ago, it was Florida State and Miami dominating college football. Where was the SEC then? These things go in cycles. The SEC has had a nice run. I’m sure that the ACC or another conference will take its place.”


"I make it rain on Spurrier"


Probably not in his own record against the SEC.  He’s 1-3 in his last four games, including the bowl loss to Kentucky two years ago and two straight losses to South Carolina before winning this year 23-21 in Columbia.


Perhaps in his argument, perhaps not.  Miami & FSU won/shared a combined four national titles from 1991-2001.  During that span, the SEC won 3 (Alabama, Florida, UT).  The Big 12 won four as well, so I don’t know that Miami & FSU dominated college football, but you could make a decent case that they were the ‘big dogs’ of southern college football during that span.


Bowden’s leg to stand on may be in that he actually has a pretty good perspective in this argument. Obviously he’s biased now, but before taking the head jobs at Clemson & Tulane, he was an assistant at FSU (twice), Auburn (twice), Duke, Alabama, and Kentucky.

Another SEC transplant in the ACC, David Cutcliffe couldn’t resist making a similar comment.  The former Ole Miss HC & UT OC, proverbial Manning family friend, and current Coach K buddy had this to say:


The SEC and ACC “are a lot more similar than people might think.”


"The Asack family are the next Mannings"


Not sure what specific film spurred him take the Duke job (maybe this game?).  His worst win total at Ole Miss (4) was two more than Ted Roof’s best at Duke and more than Roof won over the past three years combined.  Cutcliffe may want to hope the ACC is a lot less similar than people think.





Happiness is Coaching in SEC (not NFL)

July 5, 2008

An article that caught my attention last weekend was a USA Today via Florida Today story with the headline “SEC coaches happier on campus than in grind of NFL.”  Not a lot of crack reporting here, but some there were some quotes from those who’ve tried their luck in both leagues:

Steve Spurrier (Gators/Redskins/Gamecocks): “I think what has happened is that we all realized it’s a lot more fun coaching in college than it was in the NFL.  You answer to the president and the athletic director, and you very seldom see them unless you’re losing too much or you’re breaking the rules.  You are the boss in college.  I just think we all realize it’s a lot more fun game. The lifestyle is more conducive to a happy, normal person as a college coach.”

Bobby Petrino (Falcons/Razorbacks): “It’s the whole experience.  I like going to the softball games and the basketball games and being part of the entire university, being on campus and going to events on campus.”

The wife of Nick Saban (Tigers/Dolphins/Crimson Tide) was also quoted (from his hiring press conference in Tuscaloosa) as saying it was “that family feeling” that brought the Sabans back to college from the NFL.


It’s also the same Petrino who said in January of last year that the Falcons’ head coaching gig “is truly the best football job in the NFL. It was an easy decision for me.”  A month later, Bobby P also offered told reporters during Super Bowl week that “Everything I’ve done from the time I left the [Jacksonville] Jaguars [as an assistant following the 2001 season] was within mind that, ‘when I come back to the NFL.’”  He went on to say that “in my mind, it was never a question of ‘if’” but rather ‘when’ he would return to the professional ranks.

And, yes, it is the same Saban who said back in December of 2004 that after turning down pro offers in prior years, the Dolphins job was “one of the best that’s ever been presented to me.”  Before the start of his first season, Saban also said that “the longer I was a college coach, the more I got used to it.  It seemed like the NFL got further away…   But going back, this was always the big challenge.”  He also explained that at LSU “I had pretty much decided I was going to stay as a college football coach” but after winning a national title “the challenge of going to the NFL seemed to be something I was looking for.”

So we probably can’t take these guys at their word when they say college is more fun.  We know money was and is always a factor.  Spurrier became the highest-paid NFL coach when left the fun and sun of Gainesville to sing with Washington.  Saban earned the same distinction in college when he left the No Fun League for Alabama.  Petrino traded family stability and fun in Louisville for a bump in annual pay – from roughly $2.5 to $4 million – in Atlanta. 

And what about success?  Well, the combined NFL winning percentage of the Petrino (3-10), Spurrier (12-20), Saban (15-17) and Rich Brooks (13-29) is .361.  That’s a pretty significant drop from their combined college record of 417-259-7 (.611).  Spurrier won 81% of his games at Florida before winning less than 40% in Washington.  Petrino won 82% of his college games before losing 76% of his 13 NFL games. 

Is it really that there is more coaching happiness in college or perhaps that there’s just no happiness in failure, in any league?

Of course, Spurrier and Petrino did dominate offensively in their initial NFL preseasons, going 4-1 and 3-1, respectively.

Ranking the Coaches

May 1, 2008

Tom Dienhart released his annual ranking of BCS college coaches this month in Sporting News.  Jim Grobe was #5 overall, trailing only Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel, Rich Rodriguez, and Bob Stoops.  Below is the full list for the ACC, which occupies the bottom slot (66) and 5 of the bottom 18 (49-66):

5. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest

8. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

28. Bobby Bowden, Florida State

31. Tom O’Brien, N.C. State

33. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

37. Al Groh, Virginia

41. Tommy Bowden, Clemson

49. Butch Davis, North Carolina

51. David Cutcliffe, Duke

53. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland

54. Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College

66. Randy Shannon, Miami

The ACC has two coaches in the top 10 (Grobe & Beamer), as does the Big Ten (Tressel & Rodriguez) and Pac Ten (Carroll, Dennis Erickson).  The Big 12 has three (Bob Stoops, Mac Brown, and Mark Mangino).  Only Georgia’s Mark Richt makes the top 10 from the SEC, with all five coaches with national titles on their resumes looking up.  The coaches of the last two national champions are both ranked below Randy Edsall at UConn… go figure.

6. Mark Richt, Georgia

12. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

14. Urban Meyer, Florida

17. Nick Saban, Alabama

20. Les Miles, LSU

22. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn

25. Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee

30. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss

32. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt

34. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas

36. Rich Brooks, Kentucky

45. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State