Lists were made to be argued, not to be the final word. I get this. And ranking things is fun, because it riles up people! But I can't ignore this one, it's far too tempting. There were 26 new head football coaches in the FBS this year, and the MAC had just three of those hirings: Toledo, Akron and the newly-minted MAC associate member UMass.
CBS Sports, who does some very good college football coverage, had their writers rank the 26 hires from best to worst using a ballot system. Emerging from the ballot box in very last place was Toledo's Matt Campbell.
It's a really puzzling outcome. Right ahead of him: Bob Davie to New Mexico, Justin Fuente to Memphis, and Bill O'Brien to Penn State. The nomadic Todd Graham was 19th. Notre Dame fizzle-out Charlie Weis was 18th.
Now, maybe I can understand the low ranking. It's just a little off-putting that Campbell could be considered the worst, considering who else was put in charge of football programs. And there doesn't appear to be any reasoning in their paragraph:
Ironically, Campbell is one of only three coaches among the 26 new hires who has a perfect record as a head coach, winning his Toledo debut 42-41 against Air Force in the Military Bowl. Campbell spent the past three seasons as Toledo's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach before he was promoted to head coach last December after Tim Beckman left for Illinois. The 32-year-old Campbell is the youngest coach in FBS, but says "age is just a number." His offenses at Toledo have put up some big numbers, averaging a Mid-American Conference-best 42 points a game last season.
Synopsis: he's the youngest coach in FBS and as offensive coordinator they scored an ungodly amount of points, and he's the worst new coach of the season. I'm ... missing something.
My biggest concern with him is not his age, which is the obvious question to ask, but rather how he can put together a good defense. He was not responsible for those 11 men defending the ball — that should've gone to departed coach Tim Beckman, who was a defensive-minded coach and a former DC at Oklahoma State. They famously allowed 126 points in two weeks and almost got away with it. They also escaped a bowl loss to Air Force thanks to a hamfisted two-point conversion run. So we definitely must wait and see if he can cook up some defensive schemes in his four hours of sleep a night.
CBS is rolling out these rankings out in installments. Charley Molnar and Terry Bowden will be somewhere in the top 15, so this isn't an anti-MAC bias. In fact I'm surprised Molnar will be placed as high as he is. And at least with placing Campbell dead last, by design or by neglect, they at least grabbed my attention.
Update: Huge thanks to Pat Boylan;for remembering a nugget from CBS' list last year. More of the same: Pete Lembo of Ball State was 21st of 21. Now I'll admit that my enthusiasm for Lembo was lethargic at best, but he turned BSU into a 6-6 team. He showed all of us. Meanwhile, that list had Todd Graham the second best hire and Randy "Hey Were Ya Goin?" Edsall the fifth best hire. So ... lists are fun.