Ja'Wuan James and James Stone comment on Dooleygate
Derek Dooley addresses questions about his job
The coach has won 21 games in five seasons at a school that won 19 games the previous 12 seasons.
He also had five winning seasons in six years at a school that hadn't done as well in 33 years.
If you haven't already guessed the name, this should make it easy: Three of his quarterbacks have been high first-round NFL draft picks and two have won Super Bowls.
Even if David Cutcliffe didn't have a long, successful track record as a Tennessee assistant coach, his overall resume would merit consideration when the Vols begin looking for a successor to current UT coach Derek Dooley.
Cutcliffe has won more games (six) at Duke than Dooley has at UT (four) this season. While his record at Duke might get him fired at the majority of BCS schools, it's worthy of a raise at a school far better known for basketball and academics.
Does it also make him worthy of the UT job?
Answer: It depends on whom else Tennessee might consider.
UT's first priority should be hiring a big-name coach with a proven track record at the pro or college level. Sure, that will be costly — but not nearly as costly at allowing the program's struggles to continue.
The Vols have had one winning season in the last five years. Fan apathy has grown accordingly.
The best way to win games and win over the fan base would be to hire a famous coach. So it's no wonder the Jon Gruden rumor won't go away.
But suppose UT can't pull off a big-name hire. What's next?
What's next would be uncertainty. And given the current state of the program, uncertainty would be a problem.
So don't try selling me on a high-profile offensive or defensive coordinator, no matter where he is coordinating. I'm also skeptical of anyone who has had only a few seasons as a head coach. With so much at stake, wouldn't you prefer to see a larger body of work?
That applies in the case of former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who has become a hot coaching prospect in his third season at Louisville. His current team just lost its first game of the season Saturday, but each of his first two teams lost six games while playing in a weak conference.
That's not a good enough resume for the next UT hire. Neither is that of Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who could finish 8-4 in his second season with the team with a victory over Tennessee on Saturday, followed by a victory over Wake Forest.
You can make a strong case for Franklin as SEC Coach of the Year. He has elevated Vanderbilt's play as well as its recruiting. But his head-coaching resume is still only two seasons long.
Few coaches have made a better first impression than Dana Holgorsen did at West Virginia last season. The Mountaineers went 10-3 and scored 70 points on Clemson in the Orange Bowl. But after a 5-0 start this season, one of the nation's hottest coaches has cooled off with four consecutive losses.
Holgorson might prove to be a great coach. So might Franklin and Strong. Cutcliffe would be a safer pick, though.
He won 10 games at Ole Miss in 2003. Before that, Ole Miss hadn't won as many as 10 games since 1971. UT's record with him as offensive coordinator is even more appealing to Tennessee fans.
UT hall of fame coach Phillip Fulmer won 81 percent of his games with Cutcliffe as his offensive coordinator. He won 67 percent of his games without him.
Hiring Cutcliffe wouldn't excite the fan base the way a bigger name would. And perhaps he couldn't lift the program to a championship level.
But he would improve it. His track record is long enough to prove that.