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Rankings Schmankings

Randomly and hastily arranged rankings of arbitrary things are like a second national past time to Americans, especially sports fans. What good if someone claiming to be an expert can't arrange teams and players in a fashion that seems to make sense only to me and then claim it as gospel?

ESPN.com is the high wizard of such things, and I appreciate their honesty in admitting this is merely an argument-forming technique as they present, for no apparent reason at all since the season just ended, The
Top Ten NCAA Basketball Programs of the Last Ten Years. (That all too hard to quantify Late-To-Mid-Decade timeframe).

So who are the chosen few?
#1 Duke

#2 Michigan State
#2 UConn

#4 Florida
#5 Kansas

#5 North Carolina
#7 Kentucky

#8 Arizona
#9 Maryland

#10 Syracuse


The Carmelo-fueled 2003 national title helps a lot, as the rest of the past decade has netted only seven additional NCAA Tournament wins. The Orange also have won shares of two regular-season Big East titles and claimed back-to-back conference tournament titles in 2005 and '06. Take away the national title (say, the Orange lost in that Final Four) and they probably are behind such schools as Illinois, Texas and Stanford. Just shows how much winning championships is valued in our basketball world. Hakim Warrick probably is next in line after Anthony on the NBA level.

The Duke at #1 thing is no surprise...they could go winless for ten years and still get Honorable Mention on any ESPN list. Overall, this is child's play. It's basically every national champion over that time period, plus Kansas thrown in cause there's a very strong possibility they remember winning the 2003 national championship and take partial credit for Roy Williams' UNC title.


While ESPN is still stuck worrying about basketball, The Sporting News is already thinking football. And not just any football, BCS football (Up yours, Northern Illinois!). Tom Deinhart, who has the word EXPERT written next to his name in giant red letters so you know its true, has
ranked the BCS coaches 1-66 so you don't have to. What he found is, well, um, er...wrong.

Let's go to the most obvious...Urban Meyer at #11. This guy takes not one (Bowling Green), not two (Utah) but three (Florida) different programs and takes them to heights that were out of their reach only seasons earlier. He turns BGU into a bowl team, he turns Utah into an undefeated BCS party-cracher and he turns Florida into a national champion...all in less than a decade mind you. Bill Parcells does this with three pro team
s, he's an iconic leader of men. Urban Meyer does this and he's only slightly better at his job than Tom O'Brien!?!?

I'm not saying Meyer is #1 hands-down, I think Pete Carroll does have that locked up. But Jim Tressell, the man Meyer bitchslapped in the national championship, is higher than him. Jim Grobe, who coached ONE good season at Wake Forest, is ahead of him. Mack Brown, who is a Vince Young away from not having a job right now, is ahead of him. Rich Rodriguez, with no national titles and not much hardware in general, is ahead of him. Kirk Ferentz, he of no national titles and only a handful of quality seasons, is ahead of him.

Anyway, what's going on at the top of this list is not nearly as entertaining as what's going on at the bottom. The worst BCS coach in the country? That would be Gene Chizik at Iowa State. Coming in only slightly ahead of him...our very own Greg Robinson.

It has been sad watching the Orange go from college football royalty to homecoming fodder. Robinson hasn't stopped the slide. Oh, the defense has shown promise, but the offense has been, well, awful. It's time for Robinson to start weaving some of the magic he learned as an astute NFL assistant.

Let's not get too grandiose here, I don't think there's been a point in the last twenty years you'd say we are college football royalty. But yes, Tom, things are bad.