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It has recently come to my attention that this site has generated enough buzz upon launch to begin prematurely fielding guest columns. At a glance, one might venture that Pipe Dreams content is about as fair and balanced as a Sean Hannity-narrated Reagan biography. Further inspection carves this hunch in stone. So let me introduce the great Bryan Holt, here in print to keep me honest and take a few potshots at my beloved Hurricanes. All you need to know about Mr. Holt is that he may or may not spend Sunday mornings ironing his cream-orange Ike Hilliard throwback jersey while watching WWF highlight tapes, or as Tampa locals like to call it, "achieving total consciousness." He also has a great sense of humor, an unhealthy admiration for Jordan Shipley, and knows deep down that his Bucs would never have won a ring without Warren Sapp.

*Drumroll* Now, with a word - or a thousand - on assembling a champion's champion, fellow Gator, future South Florida Bulls AD: Bryan Holt, everybody...


Posted Dec. 4, 2009

Build the perfect model for a national championship team.

That was the mission that I was given in order to contribute to this sparkling Web site which I have apparently already been targeted on. My apologies to Ken Dorsey, I hear he has built quite the reputation as a quarterbacks coach at Lakewood Ranch High School. Go Mustangs.

Spreadsheet of Destiny

The perfect model sounds like a daunting task. The perfect model is a task so valuable that if I was somehow able to implement it at Notre Dame, they would paint my big, ugly mug on a building right next to Touchdown Jesus and shower me with the loudest ovation that a five-footer has heard since Daniel Ruettiger.

Hell, maybe I could even keep Jimmy Clausen's face safe for a couple of months.

Few people go into an auto body shop and focus on the boring necessities. People want oversized rims, lift kits and stereo systems. They often forget the things that make the car run and function properly due to their superficial mission to make their 1995 Escalade music video material.

This is also where college football typically goes wrong. People want the big-name athletes, the kid from Pahokee that has been chasing rabbits in the muck so long that he looks like Usain Bolt in shoulder pads.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Teams like Florida, Southern California and Alabama are all loaded with tremendous athletes and "skill position" players. However, the thing that sets those programs apart from teams like South Florida and Texas Tech is the less glamorous side of the game.

This is because my first, and most vital, component of the ideal national championship team focuses on the offensive line.

Are offensive linemen the pretty, darling recruits that excite fans and save coaching jobs? Probably not. Have you ever cheered for a team with a despicably awful offensive line? I have most of my life, and it's not much fun.

The often maligned truth is that every offensive weapon needs the 300-pound guys up front to be effective. Without solid blocking, there is no efficient passing game or ability to get those much-needed short-yardage runs.

The explosive wide receiver that you brought in from Hoover is running meaningless routes because your five-star quarterback from Southlake Carroll is getting shellacked.

A strong offensive line allows you to control the pace of the game, one of football's most precious feats.

"Defense wins championships" is one of the most over-used, and most true, clichés that the wonderful world of football has to offer. Every season there is that adorable small conference team that comes from nowhere and wows the country with its high-flying antics. College football fans have seen it far too many times. In 2007, it was Hawaii who came into the Sugar Bowl with the most exciting offense in the country, only to get curb-stomped into a bloody oblivion by Georgia.

Not only did Hawaii have no defense, but they had also not played against a real defense for an entire season.

Teams like Hawaii circa 2007 have no substance. They get promoted as feature films all season only to get exposed as the mid-afternoon soap operas that they are when things actually count.

Now, while defense is a very broad term, I'd like to specifically break it down into two facets. A good defense must be brutally strong against the run and capable of not allowing big plays through the air.

Few things in sports make me happier than a relentlessly powerful run defense. There is something soul-crushing about telling an offense that it's going to have to pass on third and two if it wants any chance of continuing its drive.

If football is a man's game, nothing is manlier than a stout run defense. If a strong offensive line can control the pace of the game, a strong run defense can take the pace of a game and body slam it through a table Bam Bam Bigelow style.

If stopping the run is so important, then it only makes sense that I talk about the importance of an efficient and balanced run game next.

The theme of the day seems to be controlling the game and that is an area where running backs play a vital role. Plus, since you're a college team and salaries are not an issue, you might as well stockpile USC-style and build yourself a balanced backfield.

What's better than a running back that's as elusive as a 2009 job offer and quicker (PD Note: hilarious line about a "band kid" that will be restored after the site passes academic inspection)? Maybe you could combine him in the backfield with a bullying aggressor that looks like Brock Lesnar running downhill.

With a duo like that, you have the run game ready for all situations. There aren't too many larger advantages than being able to both bust the big play and churn out the short yardage third downs without the ball ever leaving the tender hands of the offense.

Title Ring

If all else fails just sign 11 running backs. Eventually a couple of them will pan out. It worked for USC.

Before I get formal complaints from every prospect that ever attended Miami Northwestern or Glades Central, I will briefly address the wide receiver position.

Are top-tier receivers important? Yes. Are they vital? No.

I would say that it is important to have one receiver with considerable star power on your team. He is the guy that makes the big plays, the guy that gets way too much attention on ESPN Gameday. He is Calvin Johnson, Percy Harvin, Michael Irvin, you name him.

However, what he often does not realize is that his supporting cast of receivers is just as important as he is. There has to be a healthy balance of stars and "dirty work" guys.

To give this ideological rambling an anticlimactic stopping point, I will turn my attention to quarterbacks. Much like the wide receiver, this is a star position that is not as vital as it would like to be.

Quarterbacks have to be smart and not make ungodly mistakes. That is my model's only criteria for them.

Of course there have been plenty of all-time greats that have impressively led their teams to college football's land of immortals. But for every Vince Young, there has been a Tee Martin. For every Tim Tebow, there has been a Craig Krenzel.

For every Tommie Frazier, there has been a Ken Dorsey.



And with that final dig, let's move on to my index ranking the top teams from the last 12 years. Here are the measures and their corresponding values:

So I popped these teams through the Pipe Dreams Index, and the PDI spits them out like this:

1. '05 Texas, 86 pts

2. '01 Miami, 78 pts

3. '04 Southern Cal, 77 pts

4. '08 Florida, 63 pts

5. '03 LSU, 59 pts

6. '00 Oklahoma, 57 pts

7. '01 Florida St., 53 pts

8. '07 LSU, 46 pts

9. '06 Florida, 40 pts

T-10. '98 Tennessee, 37 pts

T-10. '03 Southern Cal, 37 pts

T-10. '02 Ohio St., 37 pts

Vince Young scored 10 points by himself. What are you gonna do? Please direct all hate mail to the "Contact" button in the upper right.

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