For Pete's sake

Dennis Dodd of today capped his recent series ranking the top coaches in college football by offering his choice for the game's premier head man.

I can't say I was surprised by his No. 1 pick, Southern Cal's Pete Carroll. Coaches are judged largely by wins and losses, and Carroll has accumulated more wins and fewer losses than anyone over the past six years, going 70-8 during the span.

From 2003 through 2005, when the Trojans went 12-1, 13-0, 12-1 and nearly accomplished a national title 3-peat, Carroll's program was virtually invincible. Of course, having a Heisman Trophy winner (Reggie Bush) at tailback and another one (Matt Leinart) at quarterback probably helped a bit.

Carroll hasn't looked nearly so invincible since Bush and Leinart departed. His 2006 team lost 33-31 to a 3-4 Oregon State squad and 13-9 to a 6-5 UCLA squad. Then Carroll's 2007 team suffered perhaps the greatest upset in college football history, falling 24-23 to a 1-4 Stanford team that was a 41-point underdog.

And HE'S the best coach in college football? I don't think so.

Dodd also provides an alphabetical list of seven more head men he seriously considered for the No. 1 spot. Included are three guys from the SEC – Florida's Urban Meyer, LSU's Les Miles and Alabama's Nick Saban.

Do these three have anything in common? As a matter of fact, they do. Saban ($4 million), Miles ($3.75 million) and Meyer ($3.25 million) are the three highest-paid coaches in the SEC.

Anything else? Yep. Miles won a national championship in 2007 with players he inherited from Saban. Meyer won a national championship in 2006 with players he inherited from Ron Zook. Saban won a national championship in 2003 and, to his credit, did so with players HE recruited. Still, Saint Nick may be the most overrated of the bunch. If you throw out that magical '03 season in Baton Rouge, his records against SEC competition have been 5-3 (2000, 2001 and 2002 at LSU), 6-2 (2004 at LSU) and 4-4 (2007 at Bama). That comes to 25-15, a winning percentage of just 62.5. Moreover, his '07 Tide lost at home to Louisiana-Monroe.

Miles' credentials as an elite coach are a tad suspect, too. He lost to Kentucky and Arkansas last fall, despite having the most talent-laden roster in college football.

As for Meyer, what has he done lately? Well, he took a team with the Heisman Trophy winner and lost to a Michigan team with a lame-duck coach that wasn't good enough to beat Div. I-AA Appalachian State last year.

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