Bum Phillips, the former NFL sideline sage, nailed the definition of a great head football coach: Someone who "can take his and beat yours and take yours and beat his."
All the vacancies are filled.
Most of the extensions are signed.
Chestnuts roast in the microwave.
Rating the SEC and ACC head coaches from No. 24 to No. 1 using the Bum rap and assuming a hypothetical matchup next week against State Tech U.:
24. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas. Recruits should consult the Atlanta Falcons before signing. Petrino at Louisville secretly negotiated with Auburn while Tommy Tuberville was under contract, which makes his 13-game Falcons stint seem glorious.
23. Randy Shannon, Miami. A 5-7 record and no bowl trip was not the Hurricanes forecast fans had in mind.
22. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt. Trying to win SEC football games at Vandy is like fighting wolves with a spoon. And yet he won at South Carolina.
21. Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College. Splendid start with the ACC championship game appearance. But Tom O'Brien-recruited Matt Ryan and Jamie Silva are among senior stars gone after the Champs Sports Bowl.
20. David Cutcliffe, Duke. Got a raw deal when fired at Mississippi after guiding the program to four bowl berths. Meaning the Blue Devils might win an ACC game or two.
19. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State. Hard to win in aptly named Starkville without cheating, but Croom got the Bulldogs to a bowl game the right way.
18. Al Groh, Virginia. Went from hot seat to one win away from the ACC championship game this year, and probably back to the hot seat next fall.
Bowden and Co.
17. Tom O'Brien, N.C. State. Part-time Daniel Island resident should have been ACC Coach of the Year for building the Boston College program and going 4-2 in the second half of the season at N.C. State. O'Brien is 6-1 in bowl games.
16. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech. Always overachieved at Navy.
15. Rich Brooks, Kentucky. A couple of very nice seasons in a row and somehow got Oregon to the Rose Bowl. Let's see how he does without Andre Woodson.
14. Butch Davis, North Carolina. Rebuilt Miami and has the Tar Heels headed in the right direction.
13. Bobby Bowden/Jimbo Fisher, Florida State. A two-man show with Fisher officially named Papa Bowden's successor.
12. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland. A swell seven-season streak for the part-time Isle of Palms resident: Five bowl appearances, three straight bowl wins, 31 wins from 2001-2003, an Emerald Bowl date with Oregon State.
11. Tommy Bowden, Clemson. Oh, so star-crossed. Bowl eligible all nine of his Clemson seasons, 7-2 against South Carolina, presently dominating Florida State. But a decent chunk of Tigers faithful kind of wanted him to climb aboard that Arkansas plane when it landed in Pickens County early this month.
10. Les Miles, LSU. The man Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips hired to coach Oklahoma State might win a national title in a few weeks, and isn't all that beloved in Baton Rouge.
9. Nick Saban, Alabama. At least he coached out the 2006 season with the Miami Dolphins before slithering off to
Tuscaloosa. But a loss to lowly Louisiana-Monroe was the most embarrassing performance for any SEC team this season. Who do you like if Clemson and Alabama close a deal to play in the Georgia Dome early next season?
8. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn. Underrated and seemingly always a short losing streak away from a buyout.
7. Houston Nutt, Mississippi. Did a better job than Arkansas deserved.
6. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee. Nice SEC East title, dude. But if Ryan Succop makes his overtime field goal attempt or Blake Mitchell sees Kenny McKinley a little earlier on the corner route, a loss to South Carolina might eventually have cost Fulmer his job.
5. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. Look at the glass half full; South Carolina very easily could have been 4-8 this year. But Spurrier's criticism Wednesday of ex-defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix doesn't jive with facts. In all but two of the Gamecocks' six losses this year (Arkansas and Florida), the defense performed much better than the Spurrier-run offense and linebacker Eric Norwood was the best ballcarrier against Kentucky.
4. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech. Hasn't always done it the right way (lots of arrests, Marcus Vick, etc. ...) but keeps winning big games.
3. Urban Meyer, Florida. Winning a BCS game with Utah (over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl) might have been more impressive than winning a national title at Florida.
2. Mark Richt, Georgia. A 42-17 SEC record with at least a share of first place in the SEC East four times in seven years. Thoroughly out-foxed Urban Legend the last time out in Jacksonville.
1. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest. No way the Deacons should have won the 2006 ACC title, or have a 45-39 record in Grobe's seven seasons as head coach. No one else has done as well on the Bum exam.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.