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A view of Fulmer from the outside

So far this off-season, Phillip Fulmer has been a leading topic of conversation among many Vol fans. Often at issue is the fact that Fulmer has a less-than-stellar record against some of the top coaches in the conference, as outlined here after the Outback Bowl. The idea has also been batted around on several UT message boards, including a recent thread on Volquest asking if Fulmer supporters actually make up the minority.

And that's why I think the post "Ranking the SEC Coaches" at College Football Resource is pretty interesting. It's CFR's ranking of SEC coaches, prompted by a post at the blog Statistically Speaking, listing the resumes of SEC coaches and asking for feedback as to how they should be ranked. CFR, who is not a Vol fan (good lord, how he is not a Vol fan) has Fulmer ranked # 3 among the coaches in the league. Of Fulmer, CFR says:

Phil Fulmer, Tennessee - Disastrous 2005, but recovered nicely after the return of David Cutcliffe rescued his quarterback. Injuries killed the team this year but the Vols look rejuvenated after several years of stagnation. Credit, of course, goes to the big man.
Just last June CFR ranked Fulmer 5th in the SEC, saying:
Tennessee's Phil Fulmer was great once but he doesn't have his act together anymore. We'll see if he falls by the wayside in the next 2-3 year or reinvents himself somehow.
It interests me because I think many Vol fans are angrier with Fulmer following this season than after 2005's 5-6 debacle. Or, if not angrier, at least quicker to demand change at the top spot, citing Fulmer's inability to change with the conference. Yet here's CFR, an outsider to the program, who has moved Fulmer up his list of coaches, ahead of Richt, Tuberville, and even Spurrier.

So I ask you: is CFR's unbiased opinion more sober and clear-headed because he doesn't have a dog in the hunt? Or does his distance from the program shield his judgment from the problems that Vol fans see on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments below.