CBS poll: Paul Johnson among top 25 coaches, Kirby Smart only … 54th

Kirby Smart is not saying, “I’m ranked way up here.” At least not by CBS Sports. (Rob Saye/Special to the AJC)

Offseason college football rankings are created primarily for our amusement and not to be confused with anything resembling, well, overly scientific. Along those lines, a ranking of Power 5 conference coaches is equally subjective and often just as silly because they can dramatically change from one year to the next, based on players (as a general rule, great coaches don’t get stupid the next year).

With that, I present to you the CBS Sports’ ranking of major college football coaches entering the 2017 season.

Georgia Tech fans: Enjoy.

Georgia fans: Cover your eyes.

Five CBS Sports.com writers voted in the poll. The top five choices were: Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Jim Harbaugh. Some might find a way to debate a few of those, but there’s certainly a strong argument for that order.

Now, here’s where the fun starts.

• Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is ranked 24th. The CBS commentary: “When you’re running an option offense in a Power Five conference, there’s going to be variance. We saw that with Georgia Tech’s 3-9 record in 2015, but the Jackets bounced back to go 9-4 last season. Johnson’s reputation in these rankings did as well.”

• Georgia coach Kirby Smart did not make the top 25. Nor was he close. The Bulldogs’ coach was slotted at No. 54 after going 8-5 in his first season, down four spots from where he had been ranked before the year. From the website: Smart was ranked rather highly last year for someone who had never been a head coach before, but he had that Saban sheen. Seems some of it wore off over what was generally considered a disappointing 8-5 season in Athens.”

Smart is listed in the rankings behind Vanderbilt coach Derrick Mason (53), Tennessee coach Butch Jones (52), Syracuse coach Dino Babers (51) and Boston College coach Steve Addazio (50). He’s also way behind Will Muschamp (37). And Ed Orgeron (48).

He is ranked only 12th among SEC coaches, ahead of only Kentucky’s Mike Stoops and Missouri’s Barry Odom.

Talk about humbling.

I have no problem with Johnson’s ranking. I’ve always believed he was an excellent coach. That will irritate Georgia fans who hate anything with the words “Georgia Tech” in it. It will be dismissed by those who simply don’t like the option offense — or Johnson’s shoot-from-the-lip attitude. But given the resources available to him and Tech’s academic restrictions in a vastly improved conference, Johnson has earned that top 25 spot.

As for Smart, his first season as a head coach exposed flaws. The team took a step back last year, even if ultimately, he’s going to be judged on where he takes the program. Georgia has a chance to be pretty good this season — not sure how many times I’ve typed those words before — if the Bulldogs turn into the program Georgia envisioned when he was hired, everybody can point to the fact that Saban struggled out of the gate at Alabama.

But Smart has a long way to go to prove his worth.

Notable: Former Georgia coach Mark Richt, now in Miami, is ranked 15th, 39 spots higher than Smart.

Also notable: The ACC has six coaches listed in the top 25, the SEC four.

Here are the SEC coaches in the rankings.

  • 1-Nick Saban (Alabama)
  • 19-Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
  • 21-Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)
  • 23-Jim McElwain (Florida)
  • 27-Bret Bielema (Arkansas)
  • 33-Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss)
  • 37-Will Muschamp (South Carolina)
  • 40-Kevin Sumlin Texas A&M)
  • 48-Ed Orgeron (LSU)
  • 52-Butch Jones (Tennessee)
  • 53-Derek Mason (Vanderbilt)
  • 54-Kirby Smart (Georgia)
  • 56-Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
  • 62-Barry Odom (Missouri)

Here are the ACC coaches in the rankings:

  • 3-Dabo Swinney (Clemson)
  • 4-Jimbo Fisher (Florida State)
  • 13-Bobby Petrino (Louisville)
  • 15-Mark Richt (Miami)
  • 17-David Cutcliffe (Duke)
  • 24-Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech)
  • 26-Larry Fedora (North Carolina)
  • 32-Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia)
  • 34-Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech)
  • 43-Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh)
  • 46-Dave Clawson (Wake Forest)
  • 50-Steve Addazio (Boston College)
  • 51-Dino Babers (Syracuse)
  • 59-Dave Doeren (North Carolina State)

Feel free to debate.

EARLIER: Braves go from 20-10 finish to 11-20 start, and it’s on starting pitching

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Reader Comments 0

168 comments
BobtheBiker
BobtheBiker

The articles about Paul Johnson. The picture is Kirby Smart. Why not put the Syracuse coach picture. He's better than smart!

OH:IO
OH:IO

lil wally,


What have the dogs done for you lately?


I mean, THIS century lately? 


Let's go with THIS decade, lately?


Lets go with the last TOILET bowl  lately, shall we?

OH:IO
OH:IO

For lil wally from 11Warriors.Com


One thing I love about the Notre Dame–Ohio State "rivalry" is the Irish have nothing to trash talk us about other than "academics" ... whatever those are. They better buckle up, too, because each recruiting class gets farther away from the Irish's last national title, which even I, a 30-year-old, don't remember.

Notre Dame hasn't beaten Ohio State since the Great Depression. To top it off, Ohio State's coach, who once saw Notre Dame as his dream job, has already won a national championship and lampooned Brian Kelly in the only 2016 Fiesta Bowl I recognize.

Fun aside: On the eve of the 2012 title game, my friend bet an Irish fan $1,000 on the fabled floor of the OK Café in Marion that Notre Dame wouldn't win a title in the next ten years. After the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, the Irish fan blocked my friend, who swears he will one day sue for payment in $2 bills.

Notre Dame is over and will never win another title. Feel free to put that on my tombstone, despite my epitaph growing longer with every post.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO This has nothing to do with Woody running away from Notre Dame. Gutless coward.
Once again thanks for proving me correct.  Maybe you should do a little research before you post.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally @OH:IO


Really don't care what you think of Woody nor our history v. Notre Dame. Win a stinkin' division for the first time in over a decade loser dog. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally Don't get mad just because I know Ohio State football history better than you do.  Once again, thanks for proving me correct.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Mad? No. Read the first three words. No, make it the first six. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally I didn't mean to upset you so much, I just thought you knew your stuff.  Clearly you don't.   You proved my point, Woody ran away from Notre Dame.  Fact!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@OH:IO He's a dang wet behind the ears kid...only foorball history that idiot knows wore 34.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO Did you even read the article, you proved my point, thanks.  You will notice that they never played when Woody was head coach.  Thanks for proving me correct.

OH:IO
OH:IO

dog tennis is going down. 


Wonder where the drugs came from?


Holyfield's room?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@OH:IO Holyfield was smart...those opiates will kill you! Clog ya up pretty bad too.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally @OH:IO Did you check with 31-Ohio before you posted that? As he is your daddy, you need his approval for this type of content junior.

mgunter
mgunter

Whats with th men's and women's tennis coaches getting suspended ? another McGarity house cleaning....... looks a bit strange

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey 31-Ohio, you'll notice UGA going to South Bend this year.  Something that chicken sh_t coach Woody Hayes would never do.  That coward ran and hide from Notre Dame. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Hid not hide...and Mrs.Landers worries me to death about how many o's are in my 2's.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Once again butt licker has to comment on a Big 10 comment.  Hey dumbarse, your team is in the ACC, not the Big 10.  This shouldn't be that hard, even for a moron like you.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Ran and hid? That's what Chuck and Duck will be doing all day long in S Bend. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Bama vs. Liberty! 


Late November SEC! SEC! Classic! 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally @RulerIAMBAMA @OH:IO


Says the dog from the weakest division in the Power 5. And, just to be clear, the dogs have not won in a decade. 


But hey,  Boxscore was oh so close, right dogs?


MargaretRBlanchard
MargaretRBlanchard

 Do you have a pay pal. in the event if you do you can add an extra 1700 /week in your check only working at home 2 hours each day. check≈♥♥≈♥≈♥≈♥≈♥≈♥≈ http://bit.ly/2n0UMET     


Big Wally
Big Wally

I see somethings haven't changed, TO still sucking up to 31-OHIO, and defending the Big 10.  I guess that moron doesn't know what conference Techy plays in.  Such a shame!.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally You are delusional...I don't care one way or another about the Big 10...are you mental?...OHIO is a good poster who I have one thing in common with stupid...we both like to point out the biggest under-achiever since 1981...were in the mix for 34's career. He is entertaining, you are when your not being a richard.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket: "OHIO is a good poster who I have one thing in common with stupid . . . He is entertaining, you are when your not being a richard."

_____________

So you're both stupid--yes--but that's old news; why not bring something fresh to the table?

"Your" not being a richard??? Wrong again, dimbulb.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Good to see TO back on the blogs.  After that little mishap when he burned down a chunk of I-85, I was worried they weren't going to let him out of jail.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Caught you on the news jogging right in front of that policeman at Piedmont Park?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Looked more like a sprint to me by that high sheriff. 

By the way, how'd your guys fare against UGA's god-awful baseball team this week?

Hello?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

And how have your guys fared against our football team over the past decade and a half?

Too small a sample size? Then how 'bout over the entire lopsided series?

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @DawgNole @TOJacket What's up with Gibson transferring out of OSU? I guess there are more teachers to punch out at Cincinnati.  I'm sure Urban Crier will find another teacher beater though, don't worry.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Still dodging the questions? Don't be a coward--man up and answer them.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Absolutely, and not hypocritically taking others to task for doing the same--like you do, lying hypocrite.