In the spirit of modern college athletics, we felt we needed sponsors.
Ask the NCAA. The corporate world legitimizes things when you're a struggling, humble and non-profit amateur-sports watchdog.
|No, Nick Saban ... you make two appearances in this compilation. (US Presswire)|
OK, so in this case, they are fantasy sponsors. (Hey, someone get SportsLine.com's Fantasy Football Commissioner on the phone. We might have a new game here. Who to start in the Bud Bowl, Select or Light? )
Point being, the pressure that goes along with coaching carries so much more weight when adult diapers are involved (see below).
It's time to update the best and brightest, anyway. It tells the bosses I'm working in the offseason. Writing, as well as cold-calling big-time advertisers before the NCAA gets them all.
Example: What's the first thing you think of when you hear "March Madness?"
Or Pizza Hut.
Beer. Even if the NCAA nobly restricts the ads to 60 seconds an hour in the interest of limiting our youth exposure to jiggling breasts and partying.
Maybe the lesson here is to advertise responsibly.
College football's five best recruiters sponsored by headhunters.com
John Blake, North Carolina: A couple of years ago, Blake was largely credited with landing a top three class at Nebraska. The Huskers won the Big 12 North last year. Coincidence? Butch Davis made Blake one of his first hires.
Stan Drayton, Florida: The Gators running backs coach was credited with landing nine players this year. That includes five-star quarterback Cameron Newton, who could be this year's Tim Tebow as a backup to ... Tim Tebow.
Rodney Garner, Georgia: Considered by some to be the best recruiter in the SEC. He's been in the league as an assistant for 17 years at Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia.
Todd McNair, USC: The former NFL running back has found his niche on Pete Carroll's aggressive staff. Credited with landing five-star backs Joe McKnight and Marc Tyler this year.
Kevin Steele, Alabama: How many guys have coached for both Tom Osborne, Bobby Bowden and been named national recruiter of the year? Steele was one of the first guys Nick Saban went after when he got the job.
Five best game day coaches sponsored by Depends
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: Proved himself the best in the country, at least last season, after losing his starting quarterback, tailback and an offensive lineman in the first month. Grobe then went out and won the ACC. His combination of sweeps, end-arounds and misdirection plays kept defenses off balance enough. The Deacons are next to impossible to prepare for in a week.
|Urban Meyer (Getty Images)|
Nick Saban: He's back, and he's about to outsmart the world. Again. At LSU, his defenses showed three, four or five different looks before the snap. He made the quarterback guess who was coming after him. This will be a great year to watch Saban at his best. Alabama won't win the conference but will make waves. Make sure to watch 'Bama's swing games against Florida State, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn.
Bob Stoops: Last year's job was one of the best this decade by any coach. It was largely forgotten after the Boise State loss, but Stoops recovered from the Big Red Imports scandal to win the Big 12. That after losing his starting quarterback and tailback. There's nothing in his playbook to account for that. Oh, and Oklahoma did come back from 18 down to lead Boise in the final minute of the Fiesta Bowl.
Jim Tressel: Kills you with kindness, then just kills you. The Sweater Vest can play in any way you want -- ball control, up-and-down, high-scoring or conservative. Ohio State defenses always seem to be great. And, yes Florida fan, I remember the BCS title game.
Five best game day atmospheres presented by Barnum & Bailey
Florida: Mr. Two Bits. The Chomp. It's ... great ... to be ... a FloridaGaaaa-tor. How could Ron Zook not win here? The House that Steve Built is back to its ear-shattering best under Urban Meyer.
LSU: Beano Cook once said daytime football at Tiger Stadium is nothing more than foreplay. The money shot is the circus that emerges under the cover of night at this football asylum.
Ohio State: The state comes together, 105,000 strong, for a day of drinking, debauchery and dotting the I. Between you and me: Just don't get too close to Tressel when he sings Carmen, Ohio. He's waaay off key.
Tennessee: There's nothing like the Volunteer Navy at sunrise on game day. Everyone is so hung over, you can hear the catfish jumping in the Tennessee River. The crazies then prove medical experts wrong by showing it is possible for humans to yell for three consecutive hours.
Texas A&M: Howdy! The friendliest fans on earth are also the quirkiest. Those yell leaders look like they're giving landing directions to UFOs. You haven't lived until you've felt the press box sway. Then you're looking for a parachute from about seven stories up.Five best mid-majors presented by the Missouri Valley Conference
BYU: The only mid-major in the modern era to snag a national championship. Bronco Mendenhall has the program back up to near-LaVell Edwards standards.
|Gary Patterson (US Presswire)|
Boise State: The Fiesta Bowl was the pinnacle (for now) of an amazing 11-year existence in Division I-A. The Broncos have thrived through coaching turnovers (six since 1996), a small stadium (30,000-seat Bronco Stadium) and isolation in Idaho. The WAC is now too small for this burgeoning powerhouse.
Northern Illinois: Joe Novak lost 34 of his first 37 games in DeKalb. Four years later, the Huskies were challenging for a BCS bowl berth. Entering his 12th season, the dean of MAC coaches always seems to have NIU in the MAC race.
Syracuse: Oh, wait ... the Orange will be re-joining the Big East any minute.
Toledo: Since he arrived in 2001, Tom Amstutz has guided the Rockets to two MAC titles and three West Division titles. A gambling scandal has stained the program lately, but none of it will stick to Amstutz, who should be at a major conference school.
Five programs in decline presented by Desperate Housewives
Clemson: Tommy Bowden is way overdue in justifying that $2 million salary. The next big test comes in the Labor Day night opener against Daddy.
Colorado: Dan Hawkins might have jumped the shark going from the WAC to the Big 12. His old program, Boise State, is better.
Florida State: Change coaches all you want, Bobby. It's still the players, the players, the players.
Miami: A change to native son Randy Shannon gives the 'Canes hope' but could Miami have had a worse 2006?
Virginia: George Welsh averaged 7.05 wins over 19 seasons. Al Groh has averaged seven in six. Who is more loved?
Five emerging powerhouses presented by the People's Republic of China
Boise State: Nation's longest winning streak (13).
Louisville: The coach left, the expectations haven't. After their first BCS bowl, the Cardinals' next goal is a national championship.
Rutgers: After 137 years of futility, the Knights are coming off their first bowl win, ready to win the Big East.
South Florida: Unless the Bulls do it first.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers beg to differ.Five best athletic directors presented by The Masters
DeLoss Dodds, Texas: Manages the No. 2 athletic budget with class and excellence. Ended that nasty football drought by hiring Mack Brown -- and leaving him alone.
Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: This soccer dad, grad-student-at-night is known for being one of the guys. But when things got serious, he took on the football search himself and came up with Florida's defensive coordinator. Brilliant.
Jeremy Foley, Florida: Demands a lot but gets a lot in return. Back-to-back basketball titles and a football championship. Incoming coaches know that they either win or they're out. At least they know where they stand.
Bob Mulcahy, Rutgers: Should make the list just for sticking with Greg Schiano. Who would have thought that Rutgers could be the best football program in the Northeast?
Gene Smith, Ohio State: Scandal drove Andy Geiger into retirement. Smith, the former Notre Dame player, now oversees the nation's largest athletic department. Both basketball and football played for championships.
Five things you might (or might not) care to know to tide you over from now until kickoff (presented by Trivial Pursuit: The Penn State Apartment Party Edition)
• Lloyd Carr went to Australia recently at the invitation of Russell Crowe to visit Crowe's rugby team. Wonder if they went clubbing?
• Tressel Hayes Huffines was born to Brent and Kattie Huffines of Logan, Ohio.
"I thought he was joking," Kattie said, describing out her husband suggested the names. "I was shocked to learn he was serious."
That doesn't approach the parenting skills of Tim and Hannah Witt, huge Alabama fans, who named their new son, Saban. A previous son is named Tyde.
Tressel? Saban? Tyde? None of those kids will ever get beat up on the playground, will they? Nah.
• Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford had to explain himself to coaches after pictures surfaced on the Internet. Stafford was shown standing next to a beautiful girl while lifting a keg of beer in what looked like the infield at Talladega Raceway.
This is wrong how?
• How tough is life in the SEC? Take away Phil Fulmer (on the job at Tennessee for 15 years through 2006), and the average SEC coach has held his position for less time (3.9 years) than any graduating senior has been in the program (four or five years).
• Former Illinois and Texas coach John Mackovic will lead the U.S. national team in the third American Football World Cup this summer in Japan. College player who didn't get drafted will make up part of the roster.
The U.S. might be an underdog at its own game. This is the first time the United States will actually compete in the American Football World Cup. Japan is the two-time defending champ.