Franz Beard: Thoughts of the Day


CBS RANKS COACHES FROM POWER CONFERENCES ranked the 65 coaches from the Power 5 conferences from top to bottom. Here is a look first at the SEC coaches, then the rest of the field complete with my commentary.

(1) NICK SABAN, ALABAMA: I admire what Dabo has done at Clemson, but until he’s won five national championships in 10 years he doesn’t belong in the same sentence with Nick Saban. He needs one more national championship to tie Bear Bryant for the most all-time.

(5) JIMBO FISHER, TEXAS A&M: He’s won a national championship at FSU and it won’t be long before he has the Aggies in contention in the SEC West. It won’t be this year but it will be soon.

(6) KIRBY SMART, GEORGIA: The sixth best head coach in the United States? Surely you jest. He’s a good coach but the sixth best in the US?

(10) DAN MULLEN, FLORIDA: If he comes through with 10 or more wins in 2019 he will move up the rankings at CBS. Personally, I think anyone who can go to eight straight bowl games in Starkville should rank higher than #10. Florida won’t contend for a national championship this year but it will be soon.

(24) GUS MALZAHN, AUBURN: There are some folks predicting Auburn will fire Gus if he doesn’t win at least 10 games this year. He may get the 10 but even if he doesn’t there are $42 million reasons why he won’t get canned. That’s what it would take to buy him out.

(30) ED ORGERON, LSU: Nobody wants to give Coach O any love but he’s 25-9 at LSU and has made the people constantly predicting he’s going to get the axe look rather stupid. The Tigers should win 10 games this year and that will move him up.

(35) WILL MUSCHAMP, SOUTH CAROLINA: If the Gamecocks get to seven wins this year with that schedule they need to erect a statue of Muschamp outside Williams-Brice Stadium because he will be the SEC Coach of the Year.

(39) MARK STOOPS, KENTUCKY: He’s done a nice job at Kentucky although the Wildcats will return to their winter home at the Music City Bowl this year. UK was, is and always will be a basketball school. Seven wins a year and an occasional 9-10 win season like last year will keep Stoops gainfully employed for years.

(48) JOE MOORHEAD, MISSISSIPPI STATE: He needs a new QB for starters. Plus he lost his best offensive lineman, his front four on defense and a safety who knocked people into next week, all of whom will be playing in the NFL next year. We’ll know how good a coach he is in a couple of years when he doesn’t have Dan Mullen’s players to go to war with.

(49) BARRY ODOM, MISSOURI: If he can win big with Kelly Bryant at QB and without the incentive of a bowl game (Tigers are in the NCAA version of Club Fed), then we’ll all have to admit this guy can flat out coach. Until then, this is about right.

(52) JEREMY PRUITT, TENNESSEE: After a 5-7 season, Pruitt got lucky and lost OC Tyson Helton without having to fire him. He brought in Jim Chaney as the replacement and that will not only improve the offense but improve the perception that Pruitt can be a successful head coach.

(53) DEREK MASON, VANDERBILT: As long as Mason can win 5-6 games every year, the alums will be too busy consuming their white wine and brie at tailgates to discuss which sucker would be stupid enough to take the Vandy job.

(58) MATT LUKE, OLE MISS: He lost all his receivers and two stud linemen to the NFL. He’s got new coordinators on both sides of the ball. He could be SEC coach of the year if he wins six. If he doesn’t, the Ole Miss faithful might be begging AD Russ Bjork to hire OC RichRod as the new head man.

(59) CHAD MORRIS, ARKANSAS: The Hogs stunk last year. They’ll smell better this year but can they get to six wins? Maybe not, which means Morris will be on the hot seat.

Where the other Power 5 coaches rank:

(2) Dabo Swinney, Clemson; (3) Chris Peterson, Washington; (4) Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; (7) Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; (8) Gary Patterson, TCU; (9) David Shaw, Stanford; (11) James Franklin, Penn State; (12) Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; (13) Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; (14) Chip Kelly, UCLA; (15) Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; (16) Pat Fitzgerald, Northwester; (17) Tom Herman, Texas; (18) Kyle Whittingham, Utah; (19) Matt Campbell, Iowa State; (20) Mike Leach, Washington State; (21) David Cutcliffe, Duke; (22) Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; (25) Scott Frost, Nebraska; (26) Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia; (27) Dino Babers, Syracuse; (28) Jeff Brohm, Purdue; (29) Dave Clawson, Wake Forest; (31) Matt Rhule, Baylor; (32) Dave Doeren, North Carolina State; (33) Mack Brown, North Carolina; (34) Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; (36) Neal Brown, West Virginia; (37) Scott Satterfield, Louisville; (38) Les Miles, Kansas; (40) Kevin Sumlin, Arizona; (41) Mario Cristobal, Oregon; (42) Steve Addazio, Boston College; (43) Matt Wells, Texas Tech; (44) P.J. Fleck, Minnesota; (45) Ryan Day, Ohio State; (46) Pat Narduzzi, Pitt; (47) Willie Taggart, Florida State; (50) Justin Wilcox, California; (51) Clay Helton, Southern Cal; (54) Herm Edwards, Arizona State; (55) Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech; (56) Chris Kliemann, Kansas State; (57) Manny Diaz, Miami; (60) Lovie Smith, Illinois; (61) Tom Allen, Indiana; (62) Mike Locksley, Maryland; (63) Jonathan Smith, Oregon State; (64) Mel Tucker, Colorado; (65) Chris Ash, Rutgers

Thoughts and opinions about the other coaches:

I am stunned that Chip Kelly got a #14 ranking after his first year at UCLA. I think Florida dodged a bullet when Kelly and his agent balked after making an agreement in principle to come to UF.

Jim Harbaugh at #15 is higher than I would have put him.

I would have Mike Leach a lot higher than #20 and David Cutcliffe higher than #21. To win at Wazzoo and Duke requires some very serious coaching skills.

I realize Mack Brown hasn’t tooted the head coach’s whistle for a few years, but the man has won 244 games and a national championship. To rank him at #33 seems a bit absurd. He hasn’t forgotten how to coach. Trust me.

Ditto for Les Miles. Now he might have chosen a ridiculous place to try to resurrect his coaching career in Kansas, but Les Miles is a very fine football coach. You don’t win a national championship and average nearly 10 wins a year if you can’t coach.

I about gagged when I saw Kevin Sumlin at #40. I wouldn’t have him sniffing the top 50.

Pat Narduzzi of Pitt is #46, which is about where he belongs. I’m still giggling about that guy from the Charleston newspaper ranking Narduzzi #9 among SEC/ACC coaches.

Willie Taggart at #47. My business partner, who is an FSU alum, snorted his coffee and burned his nose when I told him Willie was ranked that high.


Jordan Matthews’ 2-run opposite field double to left in the bottom of the seventh inning capped the most improbable rally of the season Wednesday as the Florida Gators (41-15) advanced to the second round of the SEC Softball Tournament in College Station, Texas with a 6-5 win over South Carolina (36-17). The Gators scored two in the bottom of the sixth and four in the bottom of the seventh for their biggest come-from-behind win of the season.

Tim Walton took a calculated gamble by starting freshman Elizabeth Hightower instead of ace Kelly Barnhill, but the Gamecocks jumped on her for four runs in the first three innings to knock her out of the circle. That brought on Natalie Lugo who held the Gamecocks scoreless until one out in the top of the seventh when they plated a run to stretch their lead to 5-2. Katie Chronister came on to get the final two outs for her first win of the season.

The Gators were dead in the water until the bottom of the sixth when they scored a pair of unearned runs thanks to two errors by the Gamecocks. In the seventh, Jordan Roberts delivered a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 5-3 and after a Hannah Adams double, another South Carolina error gave the Gators another run, setting the stage for Matthews who just missed a walk-off home run by about a foot.

The win enhances sixth seeded Florida’s chances of hosting an NCAA Regional Tournament. With a Thursday win over third seeded LSU (40-15) Thursday, the Gators could ease back into the conversation of a top eight national seed which would ensure a super regional in the event UF hosts and wins its regional.


Although the Florida women had a tough day on the course, they still managed to tie Wake Forest for second place in the NCAA Oklahoma Regional and advance to the NCAA Championships. The Gators shot 7-over par for the third round to drop to even par for the tournament but they easily finished among the top six teams, advancing them to the championships for the sixth time in coach Emily Glaser’s seven seasons at UF.

Individually, Elin Esborn finished -3 (213) for the three rounds to finish in a tie for fifth while Sierra Brooks finished tied for 8that -2 (214) and Marta Perez tied for 14that -1 (215).


Florida announced a home-and-home with Colorado for 2028 and 2029 Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, it was announced Missouri and Colorado will play in Boulder in 2025 and in Columbia in 2030.

There are reports the Auburn-Georgia football game will be moved from November to October starting in 2020. It is expected Tennessee will move to the November slot currently occupied by Auburn-Georgia.

Speaking on the Paul Finebaum Show, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner responded to talk that the SEC needs to change its current scheduling format. “… you look at our history and the success that we’ve had and who gets to play at the end of the year, it’s normally a Southeastern Conference team that’s in the CFP (College Football Playoff) and two on an occasion. So, I don’t think you can discount what we are doing and how we are doing it … What’s working? Is it good for us? Are we ending up at the right place at the end of the year? And, arguably we are so I don’t think you can discount that.”

Alabama graduate transfer Daniel Giddens (6-11, 230) will play his final year of college basketball at Vermont. Giddens averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 14 games last season.

Although he wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine, Auburn’s Jared Harper pans to remain in the NBA Draft.

It’s almost certain Kentucky power forward E.J. Montgomery (6-10, 220) will be returning for his sophomore season. He wasn’t invited to either the NBA Combine or the G-League Elite Camp.

Another transfer from the Texas A&M basketball program. Leaving is redshirt freshman John Walker III (6-9, 190).

RANDOM THOUGHTS: The jury is in at the college basketball corruption trial in New York with guilty verdicts for defendants Christian Dawkins and Merl Code. Wannabe agent Dawkins was convicted of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery while former Adidas consultant Code was convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery. Next up, the NCAA starts using all the evidence presented to convict in this trial to bring down Sean Miller at Arizona and Will Wade at LSU among others … Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have accused prosecutors from the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office of misconduct. Kraft is accused of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution … Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who grew up in St. Louis, will pay for the funeral expenses of Jaylor McKenzie, an 8th-grader who was a promising football player killed by a stray bullet as he left a part near St. Louis … If you haven’t seen it, you should check out former Gator Pete Alonso’s 2-run homer in the ninth inning that propelled the New York Mets to a 7-6 win over the San Diego Padres. It’s a 449-foot moonshot that Pete takes his time to admire before trotting down to first base … Speaking of monster homers, you should check out the video of the one Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell hit Wednesday. It sailed over the right field fence at PNC Park and landed in the Allegheny River.