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8. Bobby Petrino (24-15 at Arkansas, 65-24 overall). Petrino has burned some bridges (Louisville and with the Falcons in the NFL) and he’s not the most personable or affable coach _ though to be fair, there are few Mack Brown-types in the profession _ but when it comes to putting together topflight offenses, he might be the best in the business.

9. Mack Brown (134-34 at Texas, 220-108-1 overall). Last season was Brown’s first losing one since he took over at Texas in 1998. Before that, he put together a string of nine straight years of at least 10 wins and a national title in 2005. Brown is a master recruiter and an astute CEO coach, who generally surrounds himself with top-notch assistants and lets them do their thing.

10. Joe Paterno (402-135-3). Maybe Paterno’s greatest strength through an unmatched career has been his willingness to give his assistants the freedom to do their jobs. In turn, those who work for Paterno are extremely confident and loyal, providing Penn State the continuity that has been a huge part of the program’s success. That’s why, as JoePa pushes 85 years old, there’s no reason for him to retire unless he wants to.

11. Les Miles (63-17 at LSU, 91-38 overall). Miles makes obvious mistakes and he comes across as a little bit odd. He also makes bold moves that often work and instills confidence in his players. He’s a lockdown recruiter with a national title to his credit and a stellar record in one of the best conference in the country.

From the panel: “Keeps winning and saving college football from ever encroaching corporate drudgery.” _ Joshua Kendall, The State, Columbia, S.C.

12. Frank Beamer (199-95-2 at Virginia Tech, 241-118-4 overall). Beamer’s been at Virginia Tech for 24 years and has had so much success most fans don’t remember that the Hokies were an afterthought when he got there. Now there is no more consistent program in the country. Virginia Tech has seven straight double-digit win seasons and hasn’t had a losing record since 1992.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at http://Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP