Not only is Dooley No. 14 in the SEC, he ranks 99 out of 124 coaches on the national list. He is one spot behind Hawaiis Norm Chow, who hasnt been a head coach since 1972, when he was at Waialua High School.
Other notables deemed to be better coaches than Dooley on TSNs list would include MTSUs Rick Stockstill (93), former Vanderbilt player and San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre (91), Western Kentuckys Willie Taggart (85) and Kentuckys Joker Phillips (90).
To pile on, TSN has the man Dooley replaced, Southern Cals Lane Kiffin, ranked No. 37. I dont think he ranks anywhere near that high on Vols fans list.
Dooley ranks behind Bob Davie (96). The former Notre Dame coach hasnt coached football since 2001 until accepting the job at New Mexico.
Co-author of the piece, Seth Greenberg, called the project, an internal exercise. Were pretty pleased with it.
I would think Vanderbilt fans would be more pleased than Greenberg.
First-year Commodores Coach James Franklin authored a 6-7 season, lost to Dooley and Tennessee, and was judged by the TSN tandem as the No. 5 coach in the SEC.
If you think that might be high, TSN had Franklin as the 25th best coach in college football. Granted, Franklin generated excitement his first year. As TSN pointed out, Franklins team lost four games to Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee by a combined total of only 19 points.
If Franklin can coax a winning season this fall, I predict TSN will have him supplanting Alabamas Nick Saban as the number one coach on the planet. Im not sure Vanderbilt Vice-Chancellor David Williams knew what a diamond he mined out of Maryland.
You can bet Vanderbilt will have plenty of TSN copies of the rankings sitting around for recruits to look at. Why not?
Back to Dooley. Is he that bad? This season will go a long way toward determining that. The Vols drop LSU for Mississippi State and have three cupcakes for non-conference automatics.
TSN claims Dooley has to make a bowl game this season to save his job. Vol fans would put the over-under win total to save his job at 8.
He could do that by beating Kentucky, Vanderbilt and two teams out of Florida, Georgia and N.C. State.
I know. Thats a lot to ask from the No. 99 coach in the country.
Sports Columnist Joe Biddle can be reached at email@example.com.