Poll Names Fran Dunphy Most Underrated Coach in Country, Says Opposite for Jay Wright

Poll Names Fran Dunphy Most Underrated Coach in Country, Says Opposite for Jay Wright

Always good to work in a little college basketball in August.

CBSSports's college basketball bloggers spent "the July open recruiting period hobnobbing with nearly 100 coaches" and took some surveys about how those coaches view the current landscape.

Concerning two in our local Big 5, those polled produced wildly divergent opinions on the statures of Temple's Fran Dunphy and Villanova's Jay Wright.

Just wait until you read what one of the polled said about the latter.

Starting with Dunph, he was named the most underrated coach in the country by his peers, taking in 14 percent of the vote. Randy Bennett (Saint Mary's), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Bill Self (Kansas) and Buzz Williams (Marquette) round out the top five.

Each list had a subsection of quotes about the individuals in question and a few big picture takeaways from the voting:

On Fran Dunphy: "His teams always win. They are just like him. Quiet, unassuming. He's a good guy and just wins."

Takeaway: Dunphy is about as well-liked as anyone in the country, so that probably played into it a bit. However, his track record is also pretty impressive. He won more than 300 games and went to nine NCAA tournaments in his Ivy League stint at Penn -- and has done a phenomenal job since following John Chaney at Temple. The Owls have finished first or second in the A-10 for each of the past five seasons.

As for Wright, a separate list released Wednesday, also voted on by his coaching peers, named him the fifth most overrated head man in the nation. With six percent of the vote, he sits behind Roy Williams (North Carolina), Rick Barnes (Texas), Scott Drew (Baylor), Steve Lavin (st. John's) and ahead of Ben Howland (UCLA), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Tommy Amaker (Harvard).

On Jay Wright: "I'll tell you this about Villanova and Jay Wright. In all our prep over the years, he's the only coach we never prepared a scouting report for."

Yikes. But you know what? Take a look at that list again.

The criticisms most commonly hurled Williams' way -- especially after the Stilman White/Kansas-UNC/triangle-and-two debacle in last year's Elite Eight, which, by the way, also probably benefitted Self on the other list -- are ones not uncommonly ascribed to Wright -- a great recruiter who masks X's and O's deficiencies with talent. Two other guys on that list, Barnes and Boeheim, have noted histories of recruiting the nation's elite.

Wright's local cred also took something of a hit last season when his Wildcats took a harsh tumble down the Big East rankings after a prolonged period of success.

Then you have a guy like Dunphy, whom you won't hear a negative word about, but who struggles to win NCAA tournament games after his Owls put together consistently impressive regular seasons and routinely knock off Top 10 opponents. His recruits can be from a slightly different pool than Wright's, and yet he hits home runs more often than not with the kids he does get to commit.

These lists are all a matter of perspective and how you look at college coaches. Is their job to maximize what talent they can recruit, or simply to acquire as much of it as they can? Of course, the answer is both, but different coaches have different skill sets, resources and backgrounds. It's worth a reminder, though, that both are just a year away from sharing a conference, which will obviously eliminate some of the differences.

Bottom line, always great to see the national love for Fran. As for Jay, it's easy to beat on a guy while his program is down. And as Roy Williams and Jim Boehiem will tell you, they'll even beat on you when you're (mostly) up.

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

usa-tranquillo-barnetta-union.jpg
USA Today Images

Tranquillo Barnetta will not return to Union next season

Tranquillo Barnetta is going home.

In an abrupt announcement on Tuesday, the Union declared that the skillful Swiss attacking midfielder will not renew his contract with the club and will return to Switzerland following the 2016 season to play for his hometown club, FC St. Gallen.

According to MLS Players Union, Barnetta’s exit will free the Union of $687,500 next season.

“The entire soccer community here was so welcoming and I’m so thankful to everyone at Philadelphia Union for making me feel so appreciated,” Barnetta said. “Playing in front of my friends and family and making plans for life at the end of my career where I want to live is a force I can’t resist.”

Although the timing of the announcement is a surprise, the move isn’t one. With Alejandro Bedoya now in the mix, currently playing out of position in a box-to-box midfield role, the Union will replace Barnetta with Bedoya at the center attacking midfield spot. It’s a position that Bedoya is comfortable in, playing there with his previous club, FC Nantes.

Bedoya played for the injured Barnetta in the center midfield spot last Saturday and scored his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC.

But even with Bedoya ready to take over, the Union will miss Barnetta. Since joining the Union in 2015, Barnetta, 31, has been one of the better possession playmakers in MLS, scoring six goals and seven assists in 37 games.

“Tranquillo has been a key piece in what we’re trying to build here in Philadelphia but we appreciate his decision to return to Switzerland,” said Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, whose club has three matches left in the 2016 season, and will likely make the playoffs. “We look forward to continuing to push for the postseason.”

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

Visit TicketIQ to discover the lowest prices on Eagles tickets anywhere, zone-level ticket data and seat views from fans just like you!