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CFN's List of Top-50 Coaches

As McCloskey noted, Karl Dorrell of course didn't make the list of top-50 coaches in college football. I found that list interesting for another reason. It gives us names of some coaches we should all keep an eye on during this season. Here are five names that will come in handy when UCLA will be in the market (in a year or two) looking to rebuild the mess after Dorrell is done in Westwood. Some of these names will be familiar to those of you who have been reading us from the get-go:

10. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina - Even at this late stage of his career, Spurrier brings something to a program that goes well beyond wins and losses.  He's still a lightning rod for attention, which means kids want to play for him, the media wants to interview him and fans want tickets when he's in the building.  That dynamic, which very few coaches in any sport can create, was on display in Spurrier's first season in Columbia.  As long he's motivated, he's still one of the best and most innovative coaches in college football.  And if there's a chance to get such a galvanizing figure on board, it'd be awfully hard to pass up.    
One-Year Record at South Carolina: 7-5 (0-1 in bowl games)
One-Year Record Before He Arrived: 6-5 (0-0 in bowl games)
Career Record: 149-45-2 (6-7 in bowl games)

12. Bobby Petrino, Louisville - In a short amount of time, Petrino has helped build a genuine powerhouse program at Louisville, winning 29 games and averaging 42 points a game over the last three years.  He is widely recognized for having one of the sharpest offensive minds at any level, which is a big reason why NFL and college teams have come calling after each of the last couple seasons.  And that's the only risk of hiring a rising star, such as Petrino.  Landing him is tough enough, but because he's in such demand, keeping him on your payroll might be even tougher.  
Three-Year Record: 29-8 (1-2 in bowl games)
Three-Year Record Before He Arrived: 27-11 (1-2 in bowl games)

16. Mike Leach, Texas Tech - It used to be that Leach was treated like the ringleader of a novelty act.  Not anymore.  Yes, he's still the engineer of the most wide-open passing game in the country, but he's also the winner of three bowl routs in four years and the reason Tech has moved past Texas A&M in the Big 12 South hierarchy.  Leach isn't the most well-liked in the coaching fraternity for his knack to keep his foot on the gas under all circumstances, yet few can deny that he's an Xs and Os wiz and one of the cerebral coaches in college football.      
Six-Year Record: 48-28 (3-3 in bowl games)
Six-Year Record Before He Arrived:41-29 (1-3 in bowl games)

19. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland - Back-to-back five win seasons has taken some of the gloss off the Fridge's exterior, but it hasn't stripped him of his ability to coach.  He still has one of the best offensive minds in college football, is a masterful motivator and has few peers in terms of game-day preparation.  Now all he has to do is find a way to parlay those skills into more offensive production and better play under center, two major issues the last two years.  Before Friedgen arrived from Georgia Tech, the Terrapin program was a mess.      
Five-Year Record: 41-20 (2-1 in bowl games)
Five-Year Record Before He Arrived: 20-35 (0-0 in bowl games)

25. Gary Patterson, TCU - A strange thing happened on the way to Dennis Franchione's coronation--Patterson, Fran's defensive coordinator on the 2000 WAC championship team, wound up being the can't-miss coach with the upward mobility.  Since taking over the program, he's had three 10-win seasons and won a share of two conference titles.  Save for 2004, Patterson's defenses are fast, opportunistic and typically ranked among the nation's best at the end of the season.
Five-Year Record: 43-18 (2-3 in bowl games)
Five-Year Record Before He Arrived: 30-28 (2-0 in bowl games)

Mike Leach is interesting to me because the way he has revolutionized Texas Tech football. Before his arrival, no one cared about Texas Tech football much. But now he has brought in a sense of excitement and put the Red Raiders on the map despite the huge profiles of the Longhorns and the Aggies in the Lone Star State.

Friedgen's turnaround job at Maryland has been amazing and he is probably ready to make the move to a higher profile program. UCLA of course is a higher profile and more glamorous program than Maryland, which, no matter what it does, will always be viewed as little sisters of poor in the shadows of neigbor programs such as VA Tech, West Virginia and other higher profile ACC powerhouses such as FSU, Miami, and now BC. Friedgen would straighten out the UCLA program the same way Howland straigtened out Lavin's rotten core after he took over three years ago.

I don't think I have to convince anyone here on Spurrier. If I do, then you probably don't know much about college football. I'd bet Spurrier would jump at the chance of building a powerhouse in Westwood sticking to Pete Carroll, aka Fulmer of the West.

Again Dorrell is no where in the list of top-50 coaches in college football and he is making more than lot of these coaches who have built programs from scratch. Just keep them in mind if Dorrell fails to post 9 wins and beat SC at the end of this season. BTW if you have other names (besides Butch Davis and the guys mentioned above) please mention them in the comment thread.