- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008


“Nobody’s better than me, only more experienced. I played Luke Harangody, and he was not tough. Tyler Hansbrough? I don’t see nothing.”

- Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet in a recent ESPN interview

TAKE YOUR PICK » Which of the three vacant major-conference football jobs is the best?

A. Tennessee - The Volunteers play in a perennial power conference, boast the third-largest stadium in the land (Neyland Stadium holds 102,037) and have recently renovated facilities that are second to none. Thanks to the school’s success in basketball and the football team’s trip to the SEC title game and Outback Bowl in 2007, Tennessee made more money than any athletic department in the NCAA last year and can afford to pay its next coach accordingly.

B. Clemson — The Tigers offer Death Valley, Howard’s Rock, a rabid fan base, little distraction from a second-tier basketball program and by far the most fertile local recruiting base of the jobs in question.

C. Washington — The Huskies were a perennial power under Don James, winning a share of the national title in 1991. Neither Knoxville nor Clemson can compare with Seattle as a metropolis capable of helping sell the school to recruits. And unlike the ACC or the SEC East, the Southern Cal-dominated Pac-10 is a league with a major vacuum waiting to be filled by a perennial No. 2.

Our take — All three are excellent opportunities for completely different reasons. The Tennessee job is the ultimate boom-bust slot, rife with the most risk and the most opportunity. The Volunteers’ next coach will have the largest salary, best facilities and be selling the most history-rich program of the three. Clemson and Washington are safer, but Tennessee affords the greatest risks and rewards.

TWT EIGHT » A dream seeding for an eight-team college football playoff:

1. SEC champion (Alabama vs. Florida winner)

2. Big 12 champion (Texas Tech, Oklahoma or Missouri)

3. Pac-10 champion (Southern Cal)

4. Highest ranked at-large* (Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama or Florida)

5. Big Ten champion (Penn State)

6. ACC champion

7. Big East champion (Pittsburgh, West Virginia or Cincinnati)

8. Utah or Boise State

* In BCS standings after conclusion of conference title games

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