When you really think about it, a watch list for a college football award is nothing more than a way to keep public relations staffers in college football programs busy this summer. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is nice to have a number of key players for the upcoming season highlighted whenever possible (unless you are a Big Ten team going to Big Ten media days). But a watch list is generally pretty pointles sin the long run for most awards. This is especially true for a watch list of college football coaches.
The Dodd Trophy watch list was released today with a list of 19 coaches from many of the top programs around the country. Yep, a watch list for head coaches. Silly, right? It really is the easiest watch list to put together.
The award watch list, compiled by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, includes four coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, two coaches from the Big 12 and one from the American Athletic Conference. You know all of the names, like national championship coaches Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Dabo Swinney; household names like Jim Harbaugh, Mark Richt, Bill Snyder, and Chris Petersen; and conference championship coaches like David Shaw, James Franklin.
Some notable names not on the list? How about Jimbo Fisher of Florida State? Fisher has a playoff contender in Tallahassee and is the ACC favorite. He also has a national championship ring. Not having Fisher on a preseason watch list for top coaches seems like a bad oversight. Not having new Big 12 coaches Tom Herman (Texas) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma) also feels like a swing and a miss if pulling together a list of potential coach of the year candidates. If we are not going to just list all 130 head coaches in FBS, it seems silly to have such a weird collection of watch list candidates when Butch Jones is on the list.
Five coaches on the watch list are former winners of the Dodd Trophy; Snyder, Petersen, Swinney, Saban, and Paul Johnson. Paul Chryst, Ken Niumatalolo, and Petersen were finalists for the award last season as well.
2017 Dodd Trophy Watch List
- Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
- James Franklin, Penn State
- Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
- Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
- Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
- Clay Helton, USC
- Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
- Butch Jones, Tennessee
- Gus Malzahn, Auburn
- Jim McElwain, Florida
- Urban Meyer, Ohio State
- Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
- Chris Petersen, Washington
- Mark Richt, Miami
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- David Shaw, Stanford
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State
- Dabo Swinney, Clemson
- Kyle Whittingham, Utah
The 2017 college football season is kicking off with a mega matchup between Alabama and Florida State. Some are already suggesting the two could be the top two teams in thew preseason polls, but we will find out later this summer if that will be accurate. Regardless, the way Jimbo Fisher has constructed Florida State since taking over for Bobby Bowden as the head coach of the Seminoles has drawn plenty of praise, which is to be expected given he has coached a national championship team and a College Football Playoff contestant with a Heisman Trophy winner along the way. On Wednesday at SEC media days, Fisher and Florida State received praise from his former boss, Nick Saban.
The comparisons connecting Florida State to a SEC team have been made before over the years. The Seminoles traditionally recruit very well in a region that is otherwise flooded by SEC schools filling up their rosters with prime talent. There is a reason Florida State has routinely been one of the top ACC programs on an annual basis. In recent years, Clemson has been worthy of similar praise.
Saban is always one to sprinkle praise on his opponents while bringing his own team’s hype level down as much as he can. That’s just what coaches do. And Saban will always throw out compliments to his former assistants. Fisher coached under Saban at LSU before getting to Florida State. The two have never faced off against each other, and Saban has a clean record against his former assistants. By offering praise of Florida State, Saban is also sending a message to his team about just how difficult the season-opening opponent will be.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is often seen in a harsh light showcasing a coach that will stop at nothing to put together the best possible championship contender you can find, while earning riches upon riches along the way. Saban is, simply put, a college football totalitarian and it has been paying off in dividends for he and Alabama. But it should not be overlooked that there is a human side of Saban rarely seen in the public light.
The family of 15-year old Jordan Edwards can vouch for that after a touching tribute to the life of Edwards was given to them from Saban.
Edwards dreamed of being able to one day suit up and play for Alabama, but he was recently shot and killed by a police officer in Texas in April. Upon hearing of Edwards’ fate and dreams, Saban reached out to the family and presented them with an Alabama jersey with Edwards’ name stitched on the back. In addition to the personalized jersey, Saban included a handful of other pieces of Alabama flair and memorabilia.
See? Saban does have a human side to him.
Surprise, surprise. A college football coach who once was sternly against the concept of satellite camps is now embracing the opportunity to participate in a satellite camp. Alabama head coach Nick Saban was spotted at a camp at USF over the weekend.
Saban’s appearance at a USF camp run by USF head coach Charlie Strong was the first time the Alabama head coach with a handful of national championship rings showed up at a satellite camp.
After wrapping up his duties at USF, Saban was heading to Florida International for a second camp appointment. This was not a coincidence either. It appears Saban’s decision to attend camps at USF and FIU was in response to former Alabama assistant and current FAU head coach Lane Kiffin having Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer at a satellite camp at FAU.
Saban, for whatever reason, has had a change of heart regarding satellite camps. A year ago Saban went off on the satellite camp issue by drawing comparisons to the wild west and questioning the actual value of satellite camps. He called satellite camps ridiculous and engaged in a war of words with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on the subject. But Saban is hardly the first coach to do a 180-degree turn with their stance on satellite camps. Meyer was also once against satellite camps before he was in favor of them.
Previously, SEC coaches were blocked from working at a satellite camp as a conference policy aimed to prevent coaches from essentially competing against each other within the SEC footprint. The ACC abided by this silly policy as well until the battle against satellite camps was turned aside in the interest of common sense. Coaches should be able to work whatever camps they wish, regardless of location. The SEC was holding their coaches back while coaches form the Big Ten were working camps in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and so on.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the highest-paid head coach in college football, and there is also a good chance he may be the active coach with the most fans inking his face on their bodies. This weekend at Talladega, photos surfaced of the tattoo of the week, a portrait of Saban on a shirtless racing fan’s back.
The image of this particular back tattoo quickly made the rounds on the internet, but it is undoubtedly the only Saban tattoo out in the wild.