- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Everybody loves rankings lists, and college football fans -- by necessity -- seem to like lists even more than average folk.
Obviously, any ranking like this is highly subjective, as Kevin noted with his notes on the Pac-12 coach rankings.
I really like Athlon's top three. That would be mine. If Chip Kelly were still at Oregon, I'd rank him third, but he is not.
After that? Well, there were some head-scratchers.
LSU's Les Miles way down at No. 24? New Arkansas and former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema buried at No. 25? Vanderbilt's second-year coach James Franklin way up at 17? Three words: No, No, No.
There is no conceivable way to rank Franklin ahead of Miles, WHO HAS WON A NATIONAL TITLE!, nor is it reasonable to rate Franklin over Stanford's David Shaw, WHO HAS WON A ROSE BOWL, nor Bielema who owns THREE BIG TEN TITLES and won 68 games in seven years at Wisconsin.
Franklin? He's done some nice things at Vandy, making a terrible program respectable, but please identify for me a signature win from 2012? Or 2011. I'll wait here.
Just last season, Shaw, who is No. 1 in the Pac-12 but only 20th in the nation, beat Oregon, which finished ranked No. 2, and WON THE ROSE BOWL. He's a muffed field goal away from winning consecutive BCS bowl games.
Vanderbilt, winners of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl over the doughty NC State a year after losing to Cincinnati in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, took advantage of a weakened SEC East, and it's notable that the one adventurous nonconference tilt ended up a double-digit loss at Northwestern. You know: The so-called slow Big Ten.
And I think Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is a bit high at No. 12, too.
(Deep breath) OK ... I'm OK.
Anyway: Here's how Athlon ranked the Pac-12 coaches in the nation (national rank).
David Shaw, Stanford (20)
Mike Riley, Oregon State (21)
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona (22)
Todd Graham, Arizona State (29)
Mike Leach, Washington State (31)
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado (44)
Steve Sarkisian, Washington (45)
Jim Mora, UCLA (54)
Kyle Whittingham, Utah (55)
Sonny Dykes, California (56)
Lane Kiffin, USC (57)
Mark Helfrich, Oregon (73)
2dChantel Jennings and David Lombardi