We media types love a good list, and I have a special affinity for any list made by Matt Hayes of Sporting News. In 2009, he ranked Brian Kelly the fifth-best college football coach in the land, prompting many to say "Whoa!" and many more to ask of the coach then at Cincinnati, "Who's Brian Kelly?" Given that a Kelly-coached team (Notre Dame) just played (albeit not well) for the BCS title, I'd call that prescience of the first rank.
Mr. Hayes has again gone to listing, as it were, and this time he has been even more ambitious. He ranks all 125 FBS coaches. (Doug Martin of New Mexico State, you're No. 125!) No. 1 is no shock (Nick Saban), and No. 2 is Saban's only real challenger (Urban Meyer). Now as then, Kelly is No. 5. Now as then, Mr. Hayes springs a surprise: Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern is No. 8, ahead of LSU's Les Miles (No. 9), Kansas State's Bill Snyder (No. 11) and Georgia's Mark Richt (No. 12 overall and fourth in the SEC).
Now scroll down -- and keep scrolling -- and you'll eventually arrive at the name and ranking that piqued my interest: No. 48 nationally and No. 8 in the ACC, Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech.
The intent here isn't to quibble -- Mr. Hayes is entitled to his opinion -- but I would note that the nation's 48th-best coach just took a team of modest gifts and beat Southern Cal, a team of massive talent that was coached (term used loosely) by the 43rd-best coach, the legendary Lane Kiffin. I would also note that, among ACC coaches, Johnson is ranked behind Frank Doeren, who just arrived at North Carolina State, and Larry Fedora, against whose North Carolina team Johnson's Jackets scored 68 points last season, and David Cutcliffe, to whose Duke teams Johnson's Jackets have never lost.
(Then again, it says much about the state of the ACC when Clemson's Dabo Swinney is ranked the league's best coach.)
Roy Simmons visited such quiet, dark, lonely depths that you had to wonder if he ever saw blue sky. Only pages into the book he wrote in 2006 — “Out of Bounds: Coming out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet” — he took the reader to the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge.