So, Tom Dienhart. There he is. Wicked 'stache, man. You might vaguely remember his name, since he was at TSN before they brought in actual, y'know, talent. He's not there anymore, now covering college football for Rivals and SI (for some reason). Well, he just released a ranking of the Big Ten coaches, and it was so ridiculous we planned on ignoring it until multiple people sent it to us. Here's how he ranked them:
- Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
- Rich Rodriguez, Michigan
- Jim Tressel, Ohio State
- Joe Paterno, Penn State
- Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
- Ron Zook, Illinois
- Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
- Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
- Danny Hope, Purdue
- Tim Brewster, Minnesota
- Bill Lynch, Indiana
You'll notice Kirk Ferentz at the top. You'll furrow your brow. You'll squint. You'll realize your eyes don't work because your brain just exploded.
There are necessarily two possibilities for why he put Ferentz at the top of the list. Just two. They are:
A) He sincerely believes Kirk Ferentz is the best coach in the Big Ten. In this case, Tom Dienhart should be fired immediately, because nobody who spends 20 years covering college football for a living should come to that conclusion about a coach who has gone .500 in said conference over the last four years.
B) He doesn't sincerely believe Kirk Ferentz is the best coach in the Big Ten. This is far more likely, and an entirely different reason to hate Dienhart: he's dishonest. We're loath to link to this abortion of a list for the reason that doing so would prove Point B perfectly: he's only doing this so people will pay attention to him and his post and generate page views. That's all. After all, this is a wholly flimsy excuse to give Ferentz the top spot:
The true measure of a man is how he responds to adversity. Ferentz has passed the test, pulling the Hawkeyes from a three-year slump to a 9-4 mark in 2008.
And (we really, really hope) Dienhart knows it. The fact that he decided to put the decade's most successful coach--by a huge margin, mind you--third, to say nothing of Bret Bielema and Ron Zook ahead of Pat Fitzgerald, only reinforces our belief that he's nothing more than a provocateur, and not a very good one at that. I mean, for God's sakes: we're defending the coaches at jNW and jaOS. That's how egregiously wrong this man is.
This puts Dienhart in a different league than, say, CollegeFootballNews.com, who just plain never know what the fuck they're talking about. CFN is to actual analysis what ramming two GI Joes together is to MMA. It's only the same to 7-year-olds.
And look, we get the allure of attention whoring. It's nice to be recognized and to see traffic numbers rise and everything, perhaps even more gratifying than ranking everyone correctly and not getting linked at all. Perhaps.
But at the same time, people who read things want to know that they can count on the author to be halfway factually accurate, otherwise they know they're being misled and they'll never want to read that author again. Or hell, let's just consult the fine gentlemen of Fire Joe Morgan*. While FJM is no more, their legacy lives on--by which I mean they didn't delete their archives. To that end, from one of their epic fisks:
I, for one, am sick of wrongheaded writers telling me I love to hate them when in fact I hate to hate them. A note to Baylessian contrarians: you should take no joy in being so wrong about something that throngs of people rise up as one to denounce you. This should not be what it means to be a writer. When thousands of people write you angry emails about something you said or wrote that was wrong, you should not shrug your shoulders and say, "I must be doing something right if I got so many people interested!" No, sir. Sir, no. You were wrong. That is the end of the story. You were so wrong you made people angry. There is no glory in your profound wrongitude. Please stop doing this.
Tom Dienhart, please stop doing this. Everyone else, please stop sending me stupid shit he writes.
*Incidentally, most of FJM's talent are apparently now writing for Parks And Recreation. You should start watching that show immediately; it's on NBC, so any good stuff happens in the first season or two before it devolves into characters dating and marrying each other. Unless that's what you loved most about Scrubs. Didn't think so.