I decided to take a look online recently after an idea came to mind about ranking the Top 10 active college football coaches. SI.com touched on this topic in August with their Top 5 coaches list, but I am not really convinced that they got it right. As a result, I decided to consult with my DFN Sports team as well as research some stats on my own. Of course every school thinks they have the best college football coach; well every school with a winning team and tradition. Ok, so there are the few picky schools where despite a fantastic winning percentage or great program turn-around, the fans still cannot stand the coach for one reason or another. Nonetheless, College Sports Fans has provided this list of the top college football coaches who are active and coaching today.
The Top Active Coaches List from College Sports Fans weighs in with several factors including, but not limited to: career record, career winning percentage, past coaching experience prior to their current coaching position, history building a program, graduation rates, cleanliness of program, players sent to the NFL, National Championships, Conference Championships, football program graduation rates, reputation of coach, reputation of program, coaching awards, player awards including Heisman Trophy winners, and much more. Voting was conducted during September 2007 as members of the DFN Sports family of sites were polled on who they felt were the top active college football coaches. Voters included CollegeSports-fans.com staff members, Big12-fans.com staff, BigTen-fans.com staff, CUSA-fans.com staff and SECsportsfan.com staff. Each voter was asked to list their Top 10 active coaches and provide honorable mention coach nominees. Scoring of the votes was based on a 1st place vote worth 10 points and a 10th place vote worth 1 point.
And now, without further ado, the CollegeSports-fans.com Top Active College Football Coaches list:
#10 (t) - Greg Schiano - Rutgers - Since taking over at Rutgers in 2001, Schiano's career record of 33-43 is not terribly impressive. It is the progress that Rutgers has made in the past two years; turning a team that was a college football joke into one of the best programs in the nation. Schiano led Rutgers to a 11-2 record in 2006, the school's first Top 25 ranking since 1976 and their first-ever Top 10 ranking. Schiano also received several "Coach of the Year" honors in 2006 including the Walter Camp and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Awards.
#10 (t) - Mack Brown - Texas - Mack Brown began his career at Appalachian State and then Tulane as few may remember. Brown had mild success with both schools before taking over at North Carolina in 1988 and turning the Tar Heels into a perennial bowl team and contender in the ACC. Brown left UNC after the 1997 season to take the head coaching position at Texas where he was known in his first several years as for "not being able to win the big one." Brown, along with QB Vince Young, led the Longhorns to the 2005 National Championship over USC, thus quieting many of his critics. Brown entered 2007 with a 93-22 record at Texas and 181-96-1 overall record.
#9 - Bobby Bowden - Florida State - 2006 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Bowden would likely be a bit higher on this list had it not been for a few down years for Florida State football, but you cannot argue with this man's amazing career. With 366 wins entering the 2007 season, only Joe Paterno can compare in terms of career win totals. Overall, Bowden has gone 293-81-4 at Florida State winning 2 Nationals Championships and 12 Conference titles.
#8 - Nick Saban - Alabama - After spending the past two seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Nick Saban has returned to the college sidelines as the head man at Alabama. Saban, who played defensive back at Kent State in the early 1970's, previously coached at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU racking up a 92-41-1 record while winning the 2003 BCS National Championship at LSU.
#7 - Joe Paterno - Penn State - Paterno, the 80-year old coach at Penn State, has been the head man for the Nittany Lions since 1966. During that time Paterno has gone 363-121-3 and coached in more bowl games (33) than any other coach in history. While his career marks can only be approached by Bobby Bowden, a lack of consistent Top 10-caliber success in recent years is likely the only thing keeping Paterno from ranking higher on our Best College Football Coaches list.
#6 - Steve Spurrier - South Carolina - After spending three years coaching at Duke, Spurrier took over at Florida in 1990 and turned the Gators into a college football powerhouse going 122-27-1 during his time there. His Gators went 12-1 in 1996 and defeated rival Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl for Spurrier's lone National Championship. After two mediocre years in the NFL, Spurrier returned to the college sidelines for South Carolina in 2005 and was 15-10 in two season at South Carolina coming into the 2007 season.
#5 - Rich Rodriguez - West Virginia - Rodriguez, a former defensive back at WVU, took over as West Virginia's head coach in 2001. After a rough 3-8 record in his first season, WVU has won 8 or more games in every season as the Mountaineers have gone 49-24 in his 6 seasons. Having spent a lot of time in the Top 10 in the past two seasons, WVU has been to just one BCS Bowl game under Rodriguez, a stat that will have to improve for the WVU head coach to move up on future top coach lists.
#4 - Jim Tressel - Ohio State - One of the most accomplished coaches on our list, Jim Tressel has won 12 "Coach of the Year" awards, 4 Division I-AA National Championships and 1 Division I-A National Championship. Since taking over at Ohio State in 2001, Tressel was 62-14 coming into the 2007 season with 4 BCS Bowl appearances in 6 seasons @ OSU.
#3 - Bob Stoops - Oklahoma - Bob Stoops is in his 9th season as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, a program he has turned into a national Top 10 team. In just his second season, Stoops led the Sooners to a perfect 13-0 season and the National Championship and he won the AP Coach of the Year Award. Coming into the 2007 Stoops had a 78-19 record.
#2 - Urban Meyer - Florida - Urban Meyer was just 2 years old when Joe Paterno took the head coaching job at Penn State, yet on our list Meyer outranks Paterno thanks to his fantastic success at Bowling Green, Utah and now Florida. Meyer went 17-6 in two seasons at BG before guiding Utah to consecutive Mountain West Conference Championships and a 22-2 record in two seasons. Coming into 2007, Meyer is 22-4 at Florida as he led his team to the BCS National Championship in 2006 where they defeated Ohio State 41-14.
#1 - Pete Carroll - USC - USC's Pete Carroll takes the top spot on our list thanks to 2 National Championships and 5 Consecutive BCS Bowl appearances in his 6 years at USC. Since taking the USC job in 2001, Carroll has led USC to a 65-12 record coming into 2007 and a 59-6 record in the past 5 seasons.
Best College Football Coaches Honorable Mention:
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Chris Petersen, Boise State
Rich Brooks, Kentucky
Phil Fulmer, Tennessee
Les Miles, LSU
Jeff Bower, Southern Miss
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Brian Kelly, Cincinnati
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Jim Leavitt, USF
"The Best College Football Coaches" was written by Michael Shull, CollegeSports-fans.com Director of Content, with help from staff members at several DFN Sports member sites.
Other College "Best" lists from College Sports Fans include: