Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Dec.10

A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...

This is not a swipe at Dabo Swinney, an exceptional coach who has Clemson unbeaten and ranked #1 nationally after its sixth consecutive season of reaching at least 10 wins, but if he’s the national coach of the year over Jim McElwain then donkeys fly. Nearly every credible preseason source – magazines, networks and individuals – had Clemson ranked in their top 15 teams and as the season played out, we understood why. Deshaun Watson is the nation’s best quarterback and quite possibly the best football player in the country. In addition to Watson, Clemson returned 43 experienced lettermen from a 10-3 team that destroyed Oklahoma, 40-6, in last year’s bowl game.

Now take the case of McElwain. He inherited a team with a collective 10 starts on the offensive line, all from the same guy (Trip Thurman). In terms of overall experience the Gators were #125 nationally. In terms of experience on the O-line, the Gators were #127 out of 128 Division I teams. At midseason, McElwain lost his quarterback and used a combination of smoke, mirrors, deception and anything else you can think of to bring the Gators home with a 7-1 SEC record and an SEC East championship.

Take into account Florida was 7-5 last season and this was McElwain’s first year on the job so the Gators were implementing all new regimens and growing accustomed to a brand new coach and staff. Clemson’s got things humming along and has the advantage of an ACC schedule, which certainly doesn’t match up with the weekly grind of the SEC.

Once again, Dabo deserves recognition for coaching Clemson to the only unbeaten record in Division I through the conference championship games, but Jim McElwain won 10 games in his first year on the job against an SEC schedule. He’s the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year.

He deserves the national coach of the year award, too. No offense toward Dabo, but Mac did the better coaching job.

SEC Individual Awards

Coach of the Year: Jim McElwain, Florida

Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Special Teams Player of the Year: Evan Berry, KR, Tennessee
Freshman of the Year: Christian Kirk, WR/KR Texas A&M

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama and Sebastian Tretola, G, Arkansas


Money is the least of worries for the University of Florida athletic department, which operates in the black with one of the higher budgets in all of Division I of the NCAA. Yet, when you look at what other schools are paying their head coach and coaching staffs, Florida is on the second tier.

In one respect, it’s understandable that Jim McElwain’s salary (with incentives up to $3.9 million) is only the 9th best in the SEC. After all, the eight coaches making more money all have been on the job longer and are proven commodities. It’s also understandable that the salary pool for a first year staff of assistants isn’t going to come close to matching what is being paid at a school like LSU or Alabama.

But, given what McElwain and his staff did in year one on the job when they practically held the team together with bubble gum and baling wire and what they’re about to accomplish on the recruiting trails, it’s time to amp up the salaries, particularly for the assistant coaches. Already South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is targeting Florida D-line coach Chris Rumph. South Carolina has already given Muschamp a green light to spend the money he needs to get the assistants he wants and South Carolina already spent a half million more on assistants this past season than Florida.

It’s either pay up now or run the risk of seeing one HBC after another cherry pick from the UF staff by offering more money.


* Data from USA Today

1. LSU: $5,471,236

Top paid assistants: Cam Cameron $1,500,000; Kevin Steele $1,050,000; Frank Wilson $660,000; Ed Orgeron $465,000; Bradley Dale Peveto $410,000; Jeff Grimes $372,500; Corey Raymond $320,000; Steve Ensminger $310,000; Tony Ball $325,000

2. AUBURN: $5,341,900

Top paid assistants: Will Muschamp $1,600,000; Rhett Lashlee $600,000; Rodney Garner $600,000; Travaris Robinson $550,000; Dameyune Craig $500,000; Lance Thompson $450,000; J.B. Grimes $370,000; Scott Fountain $325,000; Tim Horton $325,000

3. ALABAMA: $5,227,090

Top paid assistants: Kirby Smart $1,500,000; Lane Kiffin $680,000; Mario Cristobal $515,000; Mel Tucker $500,000; Bo Davis $475,000; Bobby Williams $440,840; Tosh Lupoi $425,000; Burton Burns $345,050; Billy Napier $340,000

4. GEORGIA: $4,807,020

Top paid assistants: Jeremy Pruitt $1,300,000; Brian Schottenheimer $957,200; Tracy Rocker $500,000; Bryan McClendon $400,000; Rob Sale $400,000; John Lilly $350,000; Kevin Sherrer $350,000; Thomas Brown $275,000; Mike Ekeler $275,000

5. TEXAS A&M: $4,419,360

Top paid assistants: John Chavis $1,500,000; Jake Spavital $483,500; Dave Christenson $475,000; Clarence McKinney $458,000; Jeff Banks $358,000; Terry Price $333,000; Terry Joseph $300,000; Mark Hagen $258,000; Aaron Moorehead $250,000

6. SOUTH CAROLINA: $3,995,600

Top paid assistants: Lorenzo Ward $750,000; Jon Hoke $750,000; Shawn Elliott $400,000; Steve Spurrier Jr. $400,000; Joe Robinson $375,000; Kirk Botkin $320,000; Deke Adams $320,000; G.A. Mangus $320,000; Everette Sands $270,000

7. MISSOURI: $3,630,000

Top paid assistants: Josh Henson $675,000; Barry Odom $625,000; Andy Hill $410,000; Craig Kuligowski $362,500; Cornell Ford $360,500; Brian Jones $351,500; Pat Washington $342,000; A.J. Ricker $256,000; Ryan Walters $240,000

8. TENNESSEE: $3,540,700

Top paid assistants: John Jancek $520,000; Mike Debord $500,000; Steve Stripling $410,000; Tommy Thigpen $405,000; Willie Martinez $380,000; Don Mahoney $365,000; Zach Azzanni $355,000; Robert Gillespie $355,000; Mark Elder $245,000

9. ARKANSAS: $3,529,550

Top paid assistants: Rob Smith $750,000; Dan Enos $550,000; Sam Pittman $525,000; Clay Jennings $350,000; Jemal Singleton $310,000; Michael Smith $275,000; Vernon Hargreaves $275,000; Barry Lunney Jr. $240,000; Rory Segrest $240,000

10. FLORIDA: $3,415,000

Top paid assistants: Geoff Collins $600,000; Doug Nussmeier $500,000; Chris Rumph $415,000; Randy Shannon $400,000; Greg Nord $375,000; Tim Skipper $350,000; Kirk Callahan $300,000; Kerry Dixon $275,000; Mike Summers $200,000

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE: $3,287,500

Top paid assistants: Manny Diaz $575,000; John Hevesey $400,000; Tony Hughes $400,000; Billy Gonzales $375,000; Greg Knox $375,000; David Turner $350,000; Deshea Townsend $312,500; Brian Johnson $300,000; Scott Sallach $200,000

12. OLE MISS: $3,091,000

Top paid assistants: Dave Wommack $725,000; Matt Luke $465,000; Dave Werner $390,000; Jason Jones $310,000; Derrick Nix $260,000; Maurice Harris $250,000; Chris Kiffin $250,000; Corey Batoon $240,000; Grant Heard $200,000

13. KENTUCKY: $3,007,000

Top paid assistants: D.J. Eliot $575,000; Shannon Dawson $550,000; Vince Marrow $350,000; Chad Scott $275,000; Derrick Ansley $275,000; Tony Mainord $275,000; Jimmy Brumbaugh $250,000; John Schlarmann $250,000

Salary Pool for Top 20 Assistant Coaching Staffs, 2015 (Public schools only)

1. LSU: $5,471,236

2. Auburn: $5,341,900

3. Alabama: $5,227,090

4. Georgia: $4,807,020

5. Texas A&M: $4,419,360

6. Clemson: $4,329,606

7. Florida State: $4,284,800

8. Michigan: $4,248,667

9. Ohio State: $4,021,950

10. South Carolina: $3,995,600

11. UCLA: $3,969,000

12. Texas: $3,906,100

13. Louisville: $3,779,000

14. Oklahoma $3,773,000

15. Oregon: $3,695,000

16. Missouri: $3,630,000

17. Tennessee: $3,540,700

18. Arkansas: $3,522,550

19. Nebraska: $3,450,000

20. FLORIDA: $3,415,000

Pay for Top 20 Paid SEC Assistants, 2015

1. Will Muschamp, Auburn: $1,600,000

2. Cam Cameron, LSU: $1,500,000

2. Kirby Smart, Alabama: $1,500,00

2. John Chavis, Texas A&M: $1,500,000

5. Kevin Steele, LSU: $1,005,000

6. Brian Schottenheimer, Georgia: $957,500

7. Lorenzo Ward, South Carolina: $750,000

7. Jon Hoke, South Carolina: $750,000

9. Robb Smith, Arkansas: $750,000

10. Dave Wommack, Ole Miss: $725,000

11. Lake Kiffin, Alabama: $680,000

12. Josh Henson, Missouri: $675,000

13. Frank Wilson, LSU: $660,000

14. Barry Odom, Missouri: $625,000

15. Rhett Lashlee, Auburn: $600,000

15. Rodney Garner, Auburn: $600,000


18. D.J. Eliot, Kentucky: $575,000

18. Manny Diaz, Mississippi State: $575,000

20. Travaris Robinson, Auburn: $550,000

20. Dan Enos, Arkansas: $550,000

20. Shannon Dawson, Kentucky $550,000



QB: Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama; Leonard Fournette, LSU
WR: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss; Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

TE: Hunter Henry, Arkansas
OL: Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss; Dan Skipper, Arkansas; Kyler Kerbyson, Tennessee; Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas
C: Ryan Kelly, Alabama
All-Purpose: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M


DL: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M; Jarran Reed, Alabama; Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss; JONATHAN BULLARD, FLORIDA
LB: Reggie Ragland, Alabama; Kentrell Brothers, Missouri; Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Special Teams

PK: Daniel Carlson, Auburn
KR: Evan Berry, Tennessee


On bowl games: “The members have to figure out what’s the purpose of bowl games? Is it a reward for a successful season or it is just another game that we’re going to provide an opportunity for … we need to take a hard look at that.”

On diploma mills to get high school/prep school athletes eligible: “The membership has got to decide: Do they want to have the national association in the business of verifying whether a high school is a legitimate high school or not and I’m personally ambivalent about that.”

On one-and-done rule in basketball: “To force someone to go to college for one year to get acclimated to a professional experience, that doesn’t make any sense to me as an educator. To go and touch base for six months is a travesty to what the college experience is supposed to be all about. I don’t blame the kid who is doing what he has to do, and I don’t blame the coaches who want to win but the system is letting down a lot of people.”

On freshman ineligibility: “It’s a really interesting notion that’s worthy of debate. It has all kinds of problems. It’s highly controversial.”

Is college necessary for some kids?: “A young man or woman shouldn’t have to go to college to become a professional athlete.”


1. Clemson 13-0: Preseason #14

2. Alabama 12-1: Preseason #2

3. Michigan State 12-1: Preseason #7

4. Oklahoma 11-1: Preseason #17

5. Stanford 11-2: Preseason #24

6. Iowa 12-1: Preseason #53

7. Ohio State 11-1: Preseason #1

8. Notre Dame 10-2: Preseason #12

9. Florida State 10-2: Preseason #9

10. North Carolina 11-2: Preseason #42

11. TCU 10-2: Preseason #5

12. Northwestern 10-2: Preseason #58

13. Oklahoma State 10-2: Preseason #28

14. Houston 12-1: Preseason #50

15. Oregon 9-3: Preseason #8

16. Ole Miss 9-3: Preseason #11

17. Michigan 9-3: Preseason #34

18. Baylor 9-3: Preseason #3

19. FLORIDA 11-2: Preseason #26

20. Utah 9-3: Preseason #34
21. Navy 9-2: Preseason #54

22. LSU 8-3: Preseason #15

23. Wisconsin 9-3: Preseason #19

24. Temple 10-3: Preseason #62

25. Western Kentucky 11-2: Preseason #69

Whiffed on:

Southern Cal 8-5: Preseason #6
Georgia 9-3: Preseason #10
Arizona State 7-5: Preseason #13
Arkansas 7-5: Preseason #16
Georgia Tech 3-9: Preseason #18
Texas A&M 8-4: Preseason #20
Mississippi State 8-4: Preseason #21
Tennessee 8-4: Preseason #22
UCLA 8-4: Preseason #23
Boise State 8-4: Preseason #25


Remember this name: Dakota Prukop. He will graduate this month from Division IAA Montana State and he’s going to be a very hot commodity for every Division I school that loses a quarterback and is less than enamored with the backups who will compete for the job in the spring. Prukop threw for 3,025 yards and 28 TDs plus ran for 797 and 11 more scores at Montana State. There will be no shortage of offers from Power 5 conference schools.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott says out loud what a lot of conference commissioners and athletic directors are saying under their breath: It’s time for the Big 12 to have play a conference championship game. “I don’t think it’s good or fair to see a conference not have to win that extra game and have that extra opportunity both for a win or a loss. I don’t like the idea that a champion can be in the clubhouse and not put it on the line when, in this case, there are strong teams in other conferences that if they lose can be out of the playoff.” Okay, Larry, but what about Notre Dame? If you’re going to make the Big 12 expand and add a conference playoff game, then shouldn’t Notre Dame be forced to join a conference? Perhaps the Big 12?

They will never admit it, but the reason Dana Holgorsen will be back to coach another year at West Virginia is because they couldn’t afford the more than $8 million it would have cost to buy him out.

New Maryland coach D.J. Durkin is compensating for his lack of head coaching experience by hiring former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as his defensive coordinator and former Virginia head coach Mike London as his associate head coach and D-line coach.

Former Miami coach Butch Davis, who was considered the leading candidate to replace Al Golden at The U until Mark Richt became available, says he got an interview and never heard back. As for Richt’s hiring, Davis says, “I actually heard it on the radio.”

Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union, which have played for nine of the last 10 championships in Division III, will face each other in the DIII semifinals this weekend. Since 2005, Wisconsin-Whitewater has lost only six games to teams not named Mount Union while Mount Union has only one loss to someone other than Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Two part question: Should college football reduce the number of bowl games by requiring teams to win a minimum of seven games? And, should wins against D1AA teams count toward bowl eligibility?


New Radicals produced only one album but it included one great song, “You Get What You Give.” The reason the Radicals never sustained any success was there was constant turnover in the band Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois were the only ones continuously involved. Today’s music is their only album “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed, Too” from 1998. The second track is “You Get What You Give” which rose to #5 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

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