Football's '50 most relevant'

Dennis Dodd of recently compiled a fascinating list of ''The 50 Most Relevant People in College Football.'' Not the most powerful ... not the most popular ... but the 50 most relevant.

Several Southeastern Conference players and coaches showed up. Here's a recap:

No. 2: Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State head coach. As the SEC's first Black head football coach, Croom, is a true pioneer. Dodd writes that ''... it can be argued that Croom's hiring is as historic as Selma, Brown vs. Board of Education and Little Rock Central.''

No. 13: Nick Saban, LSU head coach. He claimed two of the past three SEC titles and won half of the 2003 national title. And Dodd notes that ''The excellence is not going to stop anytime soon.''

No. 18: Mike Slive, SEC president. Dodd says Slive managed to ''clean up the league.'' He accomplished this partly by instituting what Dodd calls ''the Fulmer rule'' -- guidelines for how one school should report possible violations by another school.

No. 25: Gordon Gee, Vanderbilt president. A radical's radical, this is the guy who eliminated Vandy's athletics department last year.

No. 26: Chris Leak, Florida quarterback. He was 6-3 as a starter last fall, though only a true freshman. He figures to be one of the NCAA's premier QBs this fall.

No. 34: Corey Webster, LSU cornerback. Dodd calls him ''the best corner in the country'' and gives him considerable credit for the Tigers' 2003 national title.

No. 38: David Pollack, Georgia defensive end. He's a one-man wrecking crew. Remember Casey Clausen's missed handoff just before halftime last fall?

No. 43: Cadillac Williams, Auburn running back. He ran for 1300 yards last year and could do even better if new Tiger offensive coordinator Ron Borges can upgrade the passing game.

No. 47. Steve Spurrier, ex-coach. Dodd facetiously lists Spurrier as ''amateur golfer'' but notes that the old ball coach will be back in the headlines as soon as some coaching jobs open following the 2004 season.

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