College Football – 2014. Ranking The Top Coaches

College Football A - ZSo, you have been named AD at your favorite university and your first priority is selecting a new head football coach.

If you could pick any coach out there, who would it be? There are so many excellent coaches in today’s game to choose from, the selection process is tough. Are you looking for the seasoned, proven HC? Do you want the “hot” up and coming coordinator? Someone with a defensive background? An offensive guru? There are a lot of factors that go in to making the best selection for your school especially now that coaches salaries have climbed up to the $5,000,000 per year level. If A To Z were picking a new HC, below are my top candidates:
Nick Saban Alabama1.  Nick SabanAlabama. How can Nick not be #1? National Championships. A plethora of  All-American’s. Top recruiting classes year after year. Nick’s overall coaching record is 170-57-1 with stops at Toledo ( 9-2 ), Michigan St. ( 34-24-1 ), LSU ( 48-16 ), and Alabama ( 79-15 ). Could you imagine how many BCS National Championships he could have won had he stayed at LSU?? Not taking anything away from ‘Bama, but he would have owned recruiting in Louisiana and the Southeast. Louisiana is a hotbed for recruiting and Nick would have closed the door on the state to any outsiders! Hmmm……

Steve Spurrier2.  Steve SpurrierSouth Carolina. I don’t care that he is 70 years old now. I don’t care that he failed in Washington. He is the greatest interview in the game as well as being one of the greatest college football coaches in history. His overall coaching record is now 219-72-2 with stops at Duke ( 20-13-1 ), Florida ( 122-27-1 ) and South Carolina ( 77-39 ). USC is gunning for their 4th straight 11+ wins seasons in a row. Are you kidding me? A mediocre program at best ( with an awesome fan base ) prior to Mr. Superior arriving there, the Gamecocks are a force annually in the tough SEC East and growing nationally. Just ask Clem-And-Son about what Spurrier has done at South Carolina.

Chris Peterson Washington3.  Chris PetersenWashington. We are very anxious to see what he will do outside of Boise State. I have said for years now that he is a premier coach and should have gotten out of Boise years ago. He built a powerhouse on the Blue Turf and many of the Big Boys were scared to play them ( just ask Big Game Bob ). What could he have done at LSU? Chris is an offensive genius and with all that talent in the Southeast, Mr. Saban may have been in trouble! In his 9 years at Boise, Petersen compiled a staggering 92-13 record. Let’s see how that translates in the now very tough PAC-12. I have a feeling it won’t take long for the Huskies to become a power!

David Shaw Stanford4.  David Shaw – Stanford. In 3 quick years, David has a 34-7 record at one of the finest academic institutions in the country. Twice ( ’11 and ’12 ) he has won Coach of the Year honors in the PAC 12. His teams are big, tough, and physical. He has figured out a way to stop Oregon’s track team. Talk about being the right guy at the right time in the right place!

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Brian Kelly Notre Dame5.  Brian Kelly – Notre Dame. His overall college coaching record now stands at 90-37 with stints at Central Michigan ( 19-16 ), Cincinnati ( 34-6 ) and now at ND where he is 37-15. I loved him when he burst on the scene at Cincy. His teams were made up of tough hard nosed kids and they backed down from no one. When he first came to South Bend, he was a terror on the sidelines – I guess the Fathers there had to tone his antics down a bit!. Love ND or hate ND, Coach Kelly has put the Irish back on the college football map. Sure, they may have been overwhelmed by Alabama in the title game 2 years ago, but the Irish are back and will remain a Top 10 team under his guidance.

James Franklin Penn State Universit Head Coach6.  James Franklin – Penn State. You may think this is too high of a ranking here but James is the real deal. In 3 years at Vanderbilt, his teams were 24-15. That record may not raise your eyebrow, but, were are talking about VANDERBILT! You know, Vandy, that week off for most schools during the regular season. A break in the schedule. Not since James took over! You had better bring your A game when you play Vandy under James. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great university, just not a football powerhouse. His success there put him in a great position to be recruited elsewhere and along came Penn State. Coach O’Brien did a fabulous job holding the program together and it is now up to Franklin to put Happy Valley back on top of the college football world – where it belongs!

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Urban Meyer Ohio State University7.  Urban Meyer – Ohio State. I am not a big Meyer fan due to all the player arrests over the years and the soft schedule they play. However, his overall 13 year coaching record is 128-25 with stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, and Ohio State. He is a wonderful recruiter but OSU has to play a better schedule and beat those teams to really make them relevant in the national spotlight.

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Jimbo Fisher 8.  Jimbo Fisher – FSU. The Seminoles are coming off of a national championship and Fisher is now 45-10 after 4 years there. Just as impressive is the fact he is 4-0 in bowl games. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! The state of Florida is up for grabs right now and he is taking full advantage of it. Florida is floundering. Miami has it’s issues. The Seminoles and UCF have both taken full advantage of the recruiting hotbed known as Florida. FSU has a brutal schedule this year and if they can get into the 4 team playoff this year, Mr. Fisher will move up in my ranking!

9.  Mark Dantonio Mark Dantonio – Michigan State. So far, the defensive guru has a 82-46 coaching record. He was 18-17 @ Cincinnati and is now 64-29 at MSU. Like Shaw at Stanford who knows how to stop Oregon, Dantonio knows how to stop Ohio State. Sparty may lose some of it’s “D” from last year but this years “O” will be vastly improved. Add another Big 10 ring on his finger and Mark will solidify his reputation as one of the finest coaches in America.

Jim Mora - UCLA and David Cutcliffe - Duke10. TIE between Jim Mora – UCLA and David Cutcliffe – Duke. What a way to end the Top 10! Mora in 2 years is 19-8 at UCLA. Another guy in the right place at the right time. With all the problems at USC, the Bruins have a chance to take over LA. UCLA is primed to have another Top 10 season and have a chance of winning the PAC 12. Coach Cut may only be 75-73 overall in his 14 year coaching career, but he has built Duke into a force in the ACC. Gosh, that is hard to say….Duke, a football force. Duke, playing for the ACC title last season. Who does Cutcliffe think he is? Spurrier?. A great man at a great university! We need more people like David Cutcliffe to lead our young men!

So there it is. A great list of coaching candidates to lead your university. There are a lot of excellent coaches not on this list like Stoops, Beamer, Snyder, Malzahn, Richt, and Miles. August 28 can’t get here fast enough when all of these top coaches and great universities kick off another magical season of college football!


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