Thursday, August 21, 2008
Power Poll hoo-ha
The JCCW is entering its second season as a proud, card-carrying member of the SEC Power Poll. Though I suppose you can question how proud I really am, what with the waiting until the very last moment before last night's deadline to turn in my preseason vote.
The preseason assignment from pollmaster Cocknfire of G&BA was to rank the SEC's 12 coaches, which is a bit of a nebulous directive--are we ranking them according to what they've accomplished or who we think is the best coach right this minute? In the end I went with more of the latter than the former, with a certain level of respect paid to Darth Visor and Fat Phil for their ever-receding '90s accomplishments.
The final tally of the poll is available here, but for posterity's sake, the JCCW's ballot and reasoning is listed below. Enjoy.
1. Mark Richt. For all the hand-wringing over whether the Celebration was the right button to push for Ethics and Sportsmanship and whatnot, there's no question it was the right one to push for his team--and given that it's not something Richt would have approved under (probably) any other circumstances, it shows how much he's willing to do for his team. That (relative) ruthlessness combined with his usual frightening consistency makes him No. 1.
2. Tommy Tuberville. Homerrific choice for No. 2, perhaps, but none of the guys below have an undefeated SEC season under their belt and doing what Tubby's done at Auburn--located in a state that has always had and perhaps always will have a certain crimson tinge--is particularly impressive.
3. Urban Meyer. Would move up with another SEC title, but if his defense still isn't fixed this year it'll raise some Q's about his long-term viability
4. Nick Saban. Can't give the Most Powerful Coach In Sports too much credit for what Miles accomplished in his wake, and outside of 2003 he's got nothing Tubby, Meyer, etc. don't. Not yet, anyways--it won't surprise me if that changes in the next few years. *Grits teeth into powder*
5. Les Miles. National titles with two L's still count as national titles. Maybe some of them were Saban's players, but who's to say Saban would have gotten that much out of them?
6. Bobby Johnson. Vandy's best coach pretty much ever. Unbelievable some 'Dore fans were discussing whether they still wanted him after last year ... I know not making a bowl was a disappointment, but that they're even in the hunt even as the SEC is at its strongest point since I've been following it is a hell of a statement.
7. Steve Spurrier. You have to respect the legacy. But I'm not sure what he really brings to the table these days. Offensive innovation is everywhere. He doesn't like recruiting. He's still struggling to find someone to run a successful defense. Sorry, Brandon.
8. Houston Nutt. As many SEC West titles as Tubby in a place with just as many difficulties--if not more, given the sort of fanbase we're talking about here--means he should maybe be higher. Year-to-year inconsistency hurts, though. We'll see what he does in Oxford.
9. Philip Fulmer. Nine years is a long time and his East titles have left a decidedly fluky aftertaste. But he's still here.
10. Bobby Petrino. Can't believe this guy is tenth. I mean, seriously. What a joke of a conference. Bobby Petrino, the guy who turned Louisville into a powerhouse and puts together an offense better than anyone not named for a Pope and generally scares the piss out of me. But it's tough to put him any higher when he hasn't accomplished anything in the SEC yet.
11. Rich Brooks. Eh, we'll see what happens without Andre Woodson. Not sure Kentucky was that much better with Brooks and Woodson than with Morriss and Lorenzen--just a little better about finishing off LSU teams they had beaten.
12. Sylvester Croom. Sure, State's dangerous, at least, but let's see some progress that isn't fueled by pick-sixes and punt returns before we go nuts. Croom's story is undoubtedly worth celebrating ... not sure we'll say the same about his results after 2008.
An update on where I've been for a week coming shortly.