Dennis: A History

Discussion in 'Locker Room' started by kablooey, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. kablooey

    kablooey 25+ Posts

    (Might want to get yourself a cold one, because this is long. Hey, I have the day off and I'm bored. Sue me.)Dennis: A History and Comparison with Mack Brown PrologueLet me begin by stating, again, that I believe Dennis is a very good coach and that I think he will improve the aggy program. But, like a lot of Horns, the praise of this nice coach has reached absurd levels and needs a rebuttal.

    Now, aggy likes to point out Dennis’ 155-73-2
    overall record. Aggy likes to point out Dennis’ 8 "conference" titles
    . They say that he “rapidly” turned these programs around from near chaos. All very fine points, but what really happened?

    Let’s take a look at those records and then compare the last 11 years.

    Southwestern (Kan.) College (14-4-2) NAIA

    1981 5-2-2 2nd in Conference
    1982 9-2 1st in Conference

    I will be the first to admit that I have no idea where Southwestern was as a program before Dennis. Let’s assume that he was a miracle worker, just for the sake of argument. The man can really kick the **** out of NAIA talent. That's good. If you are at a program, you should be judged by how you do against commesurate talent, right?

    Dennis is becoming a genius.

    Pittsburgh (Kan.) State (53-6-0) Division II

    1985 8-2 1st
    1986 11-1 1st
    1987 11-1 1st
    1988 11-1 1st
    1989 12-1 1st

    Now this is where Dennis made his mojo. In football terms, at Pittsburgh State, Dennis strode the Earth as a Colossus. Fifty three wins! FIVE Conference titles in FIVE YEARS! He is not only a genius, he has a one-way ticket to the Hall of Fame.

    One nagging problem though: despite all the victories, despite the five conference titles, Dennis never wins a national title in Division II. Never even got his dominating teams to the finals. Even Chan Gailey won a Division II title. (EDIT: Gailey may have won in Division III. I don't remember, but you get my point)

    But ignore that, the man is a genius. He just needs his shot at the big time to prove it.

    SWT (13-9) Division 1-AA

    1990 6-5 3rd
    1991 7-4 4th

    Hmm. What happened? This is where the legend of Dennis takes a bit of a hit. Dennis jumps to another level and doesn’t set the world on fire. He took over an SWT program that went 4-7 and 5-6 in the two years prior to his arrival. His master skills didn’t overwhelm his conference foes either, as he went a bland 8-6 in conference play. Maybe he was on the McWilliams/Mackovic one game a year improvement plan.

    OK, hold on the ticket to the Hall of Fame, but the man is still at least nearly
    a genius.

    New Mexico (33-36)

    1992 3-8 9th
    1993 6-5 6th
    1994 5-7 5th
    1995 4-7 7th
    1996 6-5 7th
    1997 9-4 1st

    Well, our little nomad finally makes the jump to Division 1-A, but he is still far from the big leagues. We’ll call it the Milwaukee Brewers league of NCAA football. He takes over a damn crappy program and rapidly turns into, well, a slightly less crappy program.

    He caps off his miracle work tenure with a senior-laden ball club that tears up the WAC’s rugged Mountain Division, containing powerhouses like Rice, SMU, Utah, UTEP, Tulsa and TCU, and takes his plucky Lobo squad all the way to the 1997 WAC Championship Game.

    In that lone Conference Championship game, “Mr. Game Day Coach” pretty much has his *** handed to him by Colorado State, 41-13. He follows that up with a loss to an appallingly mediocre 6-5 Arizona team in the prestigious Bowl.

    In that glorious division title season, Dennis beats two teams
    that finish with winning records. Both of those teams finish a stellar 6-5. In fact, during his entire tenure at New Mexico, six of Dennis’ 33 wins
    come over teams with winning records. He did, however, enjoy beating up on his old Division 1-AA brothers like Northern Arizona and Idaho State.His job finished (and the cupboard completely bare), Dennis turns his sights to bigger fish, fellow WAC Mountain Division foe, TCU.So, with commesurate talent at a Division 1-A school, Dennis produces a whopping 33-36 record. As a point of reference, Dennis' successor, Rocky Long, has compiled a 25-35 record during his fiveyear stint. After taking New Mexico to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2002, Rocky has led his Lobos to as many bowl games as Dennis.

    TCU 25-10

    1998 7-5 t5th
    1999 8-4 t1st
    2000 10-1 t1st

    Like Moe Green, this is where Dennis makes his bones. The year before his arrival, the Horned Frogs are an atrocious 1-10. They suck, big time. Dennis comes in and makes immediate and dramatic improvement, including a scintillating 35-34 win over Air Force, the only victory over a top 25 team of his illustrious career. He caps the remarkable turn around season with a 28-19 victory in the Sun Bowl over what appeared to be a heavily drugged or at least constipated USC team. But a wonderful season all the same, late season losses to Rice and SMU notwithstanding.

    In 1999, more improvement, as his team makes a one game leap over the previous season. Of course, there was another loss to Rice and to pretty much every strong team that TCU faced, such as 6-6 Arizona, 3-8 Northwestern and 8-5 Fresno State. But he did have a nice win over a better than terrible East Carolina team in the Mobile Bowl, and got revenge on dreaded SMU.

    In 2000, Dennis puts his name back up there with the all time greats as TCU dominated the WAC. There was talk of a BCS “buster” as TCU was undefeated and making noise that it deserved a big time bowl game to match its arrival in the big time. That all changes when WAC juggernaut San Jose State (yes, that
    San Jose State) upsets the 14 point favorites, 27-24.

    At TCU, Dennis wins 7 games
    over teams that finished with winning records, including the aforementioned victories over Air Force, USC and East Carolina. But what happened that year in the WAC? Hmmm. Anyone remember?

    Well, in 1998 the WAC split up and the big boys started something called the Mountain West Conference. So, in his second season at TCU, the WAC went from little brother to weak sister conference overnight. Gone were big boys Air Force, Colorado State and BYU. The road to conference titles was greased and Dennis slid right through to glory.

    Dennis takes his frustrations out on UTEP and SMU before getting the call to revive the Crimson Tide.

    Alabama (17-8)

    2001 7-5 3rd
    2002 6-2 * (West Champs, but probation)

    In aggy world, Alabama is at an all time low when Dennis comes to the rescue. In 2000, the preseason top 5 Crimson Tide limp in with a 3-8 record, despite the return of the majority of talent of the defending SEC Champs and #8 team in the country. That can happen when your head coach is nailed dead to rights in a sexual harassment suit and news of major NCAA violations hit just before the season starts.

    Nevertheless, Dennis takes over this bunch of talented but broken Bama Boys and turns this truck around! With victories over BYU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, East Carolina, So. Miss., LSU and Auburn, Bama marches triumphantly to the Music City Bow where they are promptly ***-raped by Virginia Tech, 38-7.

    (EDIT: This is incorrect. He went to the Independence Bowl and beat a 7-5 Iowa State team 14-13. I do apologize for the error)

    As the NCAA hammer comes down, Dennis tells his players to “Hold the Rope” and stick with Bama during these tough times. Dennis is nothing if not a smooth motivator. The 2002 Crimson Tide ride the Dennis Wave to success, almost beating Oklahoma, almost beating Georgia and almost beating arch-rival Auburn. 10-3 with victories over Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, UNT, Southern Miss, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, LSU and Hawaii is a very, very good coaching job for a team considered by many to have the #4 defensive line, #4 running back and #10 offensive line units in the nation.In all, Dennis defeats 11 teams that finish the season with winning records, including 3 that win 8 whole games. Hawaii, at 10-4 in 2002, is the winningest team Dennis ever defeats as Head Coach of BamaA Comparison Between Mack Brown and Dennis Franchione
    So how does this compare to our Mack Brown, a man who clearly does more with less every season and isn’t really much more than a recruiter?

    Aggy likes to point out Mack’s early struggles at UNC. Aggy also likes to point out the fact that UNC had top 10 teams 7 full years prior to his arrival as evidence that “Mack took over a pretty good program and didn’t turn it around fast enough.”

    They don’t like to point out that Florida State joined the ACC just as his program began to show significant improvement. But I digress.

    I know aggy is going to get upset by this, but I’m going to do it anyway. We’re going to unilaterally declare Dennis the greatest Division II coach in the history of organized football. We’re going to give him his props for his dominance of Pop Warner, I mean, NAIA football, and we’re going to ignore his rather pedestrian tenure in Division 1-AA.

    What we’re going to do is compare apples to apples, Mack v. Fran during the last 11 years. If aggy wishes to go look up Mack’s first couple of years struggling in Division 1-A while Dennis was beating up on the Nuns of St. Alberta, be my guest. I don’t have THAT much time on my hands.

    No, I just want to see how the two of them stack up these last 11 years. If one is a genius and one is a clod, that should be borne out by the numbers. Einstein should get better test scores than his classmates even if he is bumped ahead a grade.

    Overall Record, 1993-2002

    Mack: 94-33
    Dennis: 75-54

    Hmm. Interesting. I’m sure these other stats will prove Dennis’ pre-eminence.

    Wins v. Top 25 Teams

    Mack: 10
    Dennis: 1

    Well, not quite what I expected.

    Bowl Appearances

    Mack: 11
    Dennis: 5

    Ok, still Mack just probably beat up on completely lesser teams.

    Wins vs. Teams with a Winning Record

    Mack: 37
    Dennis: 22

    OK, this is getting interesting. In a tougher conference, facing tougher competition, Mack is still winning more. I would have thought that crappy teams would have had a chance to pad their records against similar crappy teams.

    So much for Einstein.

    Top 25 Finishes

    Mack: 9
    Dennis: 2

    Wow, the genius hasn’t really taken his plucky little teams as far as I thought. To be fair, Mack took a powerhouse UNC team that had been out of the rankings and desolate for five years. Not quite the rebuilding jobs that Dennis has willingly undertaken.

    In summation, Six of Dennis’ eight conference titles are in, no offense, the minor leagues. More tha 50%
    of his wins have come outside of Division 1-A. Fully one third
    of his career wins came in his five year domination of Division II.

    In Division 1-A, he has won exactly one outright title, in a weakened WAC. He is a fine coach, but he has a long way to go before he can be considered “one of the best” in the nation, much less “2nd best in the conference.” When stacked up against similar Division 1-A talent, Dennis has been a good, not great, coach.

    Commence aggy retorts.
  2. BigWill

    BigWill 2,500+ Posts

    excellent post.
  3. dollylama

    dollylama 25+ Posts

    And yall say we obsess. Get a life.

    By the way, I hope you realize you'll never get back the 5 hours it took you to write that.
  4. El Torito

    El Torito 1,000+ Posts

    Kablooey, you are aggy kryptonite. . .[​IMG]
  5. Perspective is always nice - great post!

    "does more with less" - did you mean 'less with more'?
  6. TXHookem

    TXHookem 1,000+ Posts

    That post gave me wood.
  7. OrangeWarrior

    OrangeWarrior 25+ Posts

    Way to represent Kablooey.

    dolly-At least Kablooey isn't posting on a rivals' site you mindless puppet.
  8. thanksforplaying

    thanksforplaying < 25 Posts

  9. OrangeGeorge

    OrangeGeorge < 25 Posts

    Devastating facts for aggy to face.That hissing sound you hear is the air coming out of the blow-up doll named aggy championship illusions.
  10. XHW7

    XHW7 < 25 Posts

    Uh oh, Spidey Ag gonna climp to the top of the "Zone" jump off and sodomize his *** on a goal post when he reads that.[​IMG]
  11. AllAg

    AllAg < 25 Posts

  12. thanksforplaying

    thanksforplaying < 25 Posts

    I get the gasp and the cough, but the aargh has me a bit confused.
  13. dollylama

    dollylama 25+ Posts

    Funny, I thought it was the air exiting the blow up Mac III doll that you dreamers have been humping since he brought his whiny charm to the hallowed 40 acres half a decade ago.

    And you hypocrites accuse us of unfounded hype? Rich.

    (Countdown til this post is yanked. 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . .)
  14. TXHookem

    TXHookem 1,000+ Posts

    Number of months 'til Mack is 5-1 against aggy... 5... 4... 3...
  15. OrangeWarrior

    OrangeWarrior 25+ Posts

    Notice how the obsessed drone refuses to reply to the original post, knowing that he has just been ***** slapped.
  16. thanksforplaying

    thanksforplaying < 25 Posts

    Not to turn this into a Rivalries board, but we have two consecutive top 10 finishes, five straight 9 win seasons.

    That's not hype, that's results. What do you guys have? A 1919 MNC and a fleet of whooping man-cheerleaders.
  17. dpool2002

    dpool2002 25+ Posts

    someone post that on the aggie site
  18. AllAg

    AllAg < 25 Posts

    You want a retort? Fine. Here are the records at the schools preceding DF, incuding the immediate season prior, followed by DF's record, including the record in his last year.

    PITST 18-10 (5-4)
    ........ 53-6 (12-1)

    SWTS 20-35 (5-6)
    ........ 13-9 (7-4)

    NMEX 9-50 (3-9)
    ....... 33-36 (9-4)

    TCU 24-42 (1-10)
    ...... 25-11 (10-2)

    BAMA 24-23 (3-8)
    ....... 17-8 (10-3) including winning 14 of last 17 and having top Off and top Def in SEC.

    Nuff Said!
  19. dollylama

    dollylama 25+ Posts

    tfp -

    You're really happy with Mac? I guess after watching the guys before him run a perennial powerhouse into the dirt, I'd be happy, too.

    You know, I used to get depressed every July when I'd get my copy of Dave Cambell's and see the burnt orange smeared all over it. Not too worried this year. It must suck to keep taking out the prom queen year after year only to get that same ****** peck on the cheek each time.

    I know, I know, this year's going to be different.
  20. MAC94

    MAC94 25+ Posts

    Time will tell what coach Fran will do at A&M, maybe he is our David McWilliams, maybe he's our Bob Stoops. Really we don't know.

    Coach Fran has done well where he has been in the past, so we'll see. Two things, though:

    I'm not sure that comparing Fran's past track record with Mack is all that helpful. Before they became head coaches, the track records of Bob Stoops, Larry Coker, or Jim Tressel at leading a major D-1 program was spotty at best. They had either never been a head coach or had only won at a I-AA level/ None of these men would have compared well to Mack Brown before they coached their first game as a head coach at their respective University's. Yet, today, they all have something Mack doesn't.

    That's not to say Fran will do the same. The odds are long against it, but the point is, we just do not know the future. We Ags are generally happy he is our coach. We'll see if it works out. You guys did not hire McWilliams to fair, and OU did not hire John Blake to lose. Time will tell on what coach Fran's legacy at A&M will be.

    Second, its interesting that you Horns bring up Mack's record at UNC. One thing about that success that really hasn't been mentioned is that Mack's winning ways at UNC were really a product of a nasty defense that the Tarheels fielded (The UNC offense was not a worldbeater). And, the coach of that defense that led UNC to such lofty rankings will be wearing Maroon and White this season, Carl Torbush. So, in a way, your trumpeting of MAcks record at UNC aids the Aggie arguement on why we could rise back in the near future. A key coach from Mack's UNC days is now with us.
  21. Bundy

    Bundy 100+ Posts


    factual error on Fran's Bama Bowl game.

    Should have included, when talking about Fran's success at TCU, that he inherited Tomlinson.

    Cupboard was not left bare at New mexico, he at least left Urlacher if I recall correctly.

    I think what you've shown is that when the talent level is somewhat even, Fran often wins. When talent level is not in his favor, he loses more than he wins. Compare to RC who, in my opinion, routinely got beat by teams with inferior talent.

    Overall, fairly good analysis which does show that: (1) Fran is a damn fine coach with success at turning around programs, (2) Fran has jumped around and taken/left jobs at opportune times (inheriting Tomlinson and leaving after he left for example), and (3) Mack Brown is one of the best coaches in the nation.

    As I posted twice on the other thread, I'd rank Mack behind Stoops and Snyder as best in the Big 12. Fran is behind Mack with guys like Briles and Barnett.
  22. dollylama

    dollylama 25+ Posts

    Bundy -

    I have to call bs on point #3. No one would argue against the fact that Mack may be the best recuiter in college football history. But because of that very fact, it's going to be tough to argue that he's one of the best coaches in the nation.

    With the studs he's bought err brought to Austin, including the top offensive and defensive players in the nation in the same year, it's hard to believe that a top flight coach wouldn't have racked up more than a bunch of wins against A&M, Baylor, OK St, Tech, Kansas, Rice, etc.

    Give me an example of his coaching prowess.
  23. AllAg

    AllAg < 25 Posts

  24. kablooey

    kablooey 25+ Posts

    All Ag:

    Just how long of a timeline are you using for the years preceding Dennis?

    In 3 seasons, Dennis goes 25-11 and in 3 years Sullivan goes 24-42? 22 games vs. 55 at SWT? Not a very comparable comparison.

    Give the same number of years preceding Dennis, not a million years.

    Better yet, here they are:

    O'Hara: 9-13 (5-6)
    Dennis: 13-9 (7-4)

    A game a year improvement. Not bad, not great either.

    New Mexico:
    Joe Lee Dunn/Mike Sheppard: 13-48 (3-9)
    Dennis: 33-36 (9-4)

    Six years. Game a year improvement. (Of course the new guy is doing about the same now and will likely have built a more lating winner)

    Sullivan: 11-22 (1-10)
    Dennis: 25-11 (10-1) See, I'm not even putting the bowl loss on him.

    Dramatic improvement, as I noted. But he didn't exactly beat anyone and he lost several "winnable" games.

    Dubose: 13-11(3-8)
    Dennis: 17-8 (10-3)

    Nice improvement again. But the circumstances were such that the improvement was going to happen. Talent wasn't the issue.

    What is clear is that Dennis has coached as well as his talent. No more, no less.
  25. kablooey

    kablooey 25+ Posts


    You're right on the bowl game. I was looking one line over and will correct it.

    As for the cupboard, yes one great player makes a program.
  26. AllAg

    AllAg < 25 Posts

    kablooey- who says you need to use the same number of years. The numbers dont lie- those are the records immediately preceding him. Some programs are perennial losers, others lose or have down periods for just a few years and make changes- a la Texas A&M.

    You think to show DF turning around the Ags I should go back to 1994 and include 11-0-1 seasons? That's ridiculous.

    The coaching change came because of 00 through 02 performance, and I'll use that period when showing the most recent turnaround. Get real.
  27. kablooey

    kablooey 25+ Posts

    All Ag:

    Yeah, it is necessary. He was at some of these programs for a couple of years and then left. He coached other's talent and came up with about the same record. Then he got more talent (in the case of New Mexico) and did a bit better.

    At TCU he turned chicken **** into Chicken salad. At Bama he did nothing of the sort.

    He hasn't done a thing at A&M yet so there is no comparison to be made.

    He has done as well as the talent on hand.


    RC coached well enough to beat the #1 team in the nation. AT times, Dennis coached well enough to lose to Rice, SMU and San Jose State with immeasurably more talent.

    BTW: You guys don't have much talent so expect about what we've seen in the past.
  28. AllAg

    AllAg < 25 Posts

    Some of the schools were perennial losers, like 9-50 New Mexico and 24-42 TCU. You want to look at a couple years and ignore the PINK ELEPHANT in the room shouting "no one can compete here". And of course, we all know BAMA's storied history, but you can look at 24-23 and know what kind of down period that represents. More accurate than looking at a couple of seasons.

    Of course, what never gets discussed here are all the behind-the-numbers stories telling the real story of DF. You don't look at the SWT #s and see the people (players as well as administrators) who said once they saw what DF brought there and what he was doing that he wouldnt be around there long. DF's career is full of success that goes way past the numbers, which is why he is regarded around the country as one of the top coaches, despite a not-so-flashy overall record. We'll see how he does with his second top-flight program- I think his first surpassed even what BAMA thought could happen in two short years.
  29. XHW7

    XHW7 < 25 Posts

    One thing when I looked back at the post is should also have listed losses against top 25 teams and losses against teams with winning records too, for both coaches. Or both coaches winning percentages against each.
  30. OUsucksATMblows

    OUsucksATMblows 250+ Posts

    "with the studs he's bought err brought to..."

    I love when a player decides he'd rather go to a school with better academics, better facilities, better coaching staff, live in one of the best cities in the country with a great social atmosphere and play for a team that has a LEGITIMATE shot at a national championship, It's becuase the player was paid. I can see where aggy gets this notion.....who in the hell would wanna come to austin and play football here???

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