In recent years, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel made quite a name for himself with his rankings of the best – and the WORST – college football coaches.
Perhaps NC State fans followed Mandel’s rankings a little closer than other schools because of the presence of our own Chuck Amato. In June of 2005, Mandel listed Chuck Amato as the nation’s most over-rated coach; in June of 2006, Mandel demoted Chuck Amato and called him the nation’s worst coach. (Link)
Before anyone mistakenly claims that Mandel harbors an anti-NC State bias as opposed to anti-CTC feelings, you need look no further than Mandel’s recent comments praising NC State’s program
Now, you might say to yourself, is N.C. State really that kind of place? In my experience … yes. Say what you want about Chuck Amato’s coaching abilities, the one thing he did well was galvanize that community and turn what was traditionally considered a basketball school into a place with a legitimate football atmosphere. At his introductory press conference, O’Brien specifically mentioned how impressed he was with the enthusiasm when his team played there on Sept. 23. Look at it this way: The Wolfpack averaged nearly 20,000 more fans per game (56,540) during a 3-9 season this year than BC did at 9-3 (38,843).
NC State’s coaching change has brought a new national respect for our sitting head coach. Since TOB’s arrival positive praise has flowed from various corners of the media as TOB has been lauded as the best hire of the off-season while some pundits wonder if TOB’s presence elevates the Wolfpack into an instant contender for the ACC Title?
Over the last few weeks significant praise for TOB has continued…primarily from the staff of The Sporting News; much to the dismay of EagleinAtlanta. (I can only imagine the outcry if SFN had harped on Herb Sendek after his departure as much as Eagle has harped on TOB).
(1) On April 13th, TSN’s Tom Dienhart ranked TOB as the #3 coach in the ACC behind Jim Grobe and Frank Beamer.
Look, it’s this simple: O’Brien is a great coach. He worked for too long in anonymity at Boston College, where he never was fully appreciated. This is O.B.’s chance to make noise without fighting for headlines in a major media market. Sit back and watch him thrive.
The fact that BC’s Jeff Jagodzinski was ranked last in Deinhart’s list really rubbed EagleinAtlanta the wrong way. “Jags” has never coached a college game in his life. What does BC want? I know that Randy Shannon also has never coached a college game…but, Shannon has been at Miami for years and is familiar with many facets of the the college & ACC game that Jags must re-learn. It’s not a big deal…I just don’t understand why anyone – even BC fans – could expect some college unknown named Jeff Jagodzinski to get any benefit of the doubt until he gets out there and proves himself.
The good news for Jags is that he inherits one of the most solid, consistent programs in America. As TSN said, “know this: Jags inherited a loaded deck”. Since Jags is such a super coach, BC fans should be very excited about the coming season.
(2) On April 26th, Coach O’Brien was ranked as the #13 best coach amongst all BCS coaches. (Link).
It’s a pretty interesting exercise in which to engage. Current head coaches – Greg Robinson of Syracuse and Ted Roof of Duke – join the newer coaches in the country at the bottom of the list (with BC’s Jeff Jagodzinski ranked #64 out of 66.
(3) On May 2nd, Dienhart parsed his lists into some pretty interesting categories. (Link)
Wow! NC State has definitely shifted 180 degrees from the ‘leadership’ style of the testosterone-laden, meathead approach of former linebacker, Chuck Amato. Dienhart ranks TOB as one of the 5 best “Deep Thinkers” as defined by “X-ing and O-ing”. The list of five include: Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Tom O’Brien, N.C. State; Mark Richt, Georgia; Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia; Jeff Tedford, Cal.
I think that most people would also be interested in the five most overrated coaches which include: Lloyd Carr, Michigan; Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M; Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee; Les Miles, LSU; Charlie Weis, Notre Dame.