I'm not including players who might get the villain tag thanks to police blotter issues or high-profile players such as Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford, whom rival fans might deem as overexposed or too-good-to-be-true types. Instead, I'm listing the brash, stir-the-pot characters:
- Alabama coach Nick Saban: It's not just fans in south Florida and in Louisiana who are sour on Saban. ("Nick Satan" T-shirts, anyone?) In our recent ESPN The Magazine survey of college players, Saban was the runaway top answer to the question, "Who is the last coach you'd want to play for based on what you know?" In fact, Saban was named almost twice as often as any other coach. Apparently, word from some Tide players has circulated. "Guys never have anything good to say about him," one SEC player said.
- Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin: It didn't take long for the young, first-year Vols coach to annoy fans in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina with some of his brash comments or abrasive statements that have been attributed to him. Lots of USC fans don't have many nice things to say about him, either.
- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis: The former NFL assistant tweaked his brethren almost from the moment he got the ND job when he boasted about schematic advantages. And plenty more bluster was coming. He once boasted how he "could get hoodlums and thugs and win tomorrow." He also has alienated Irish alumni and high school coaches with arrogant behavior, Teddy Greenstein reported last year. Weis also was the only coach besides Saban whom at least 10 players around the country named in the poll as the coach they would least want to play for.
- Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino: Think Saban minus the national title ring. Colleague Pat Forde once labeled Petrino "the disingenuous drifter" because of the coach's efforts to chase different jobs every year during a five-year stretch that began in 2003, his first year as a head coach at Louisville. That year, he went behind the backs of his employer and his onetime boss, Tommy Tuberville, to negotiate a deal to replace him at Auburn. To read where Bruce Feldman ranks another Domer, a Florida star and two former Wolverines, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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