As we prepare for another college football season, I’ve decided to compile a list of the best and worst coaches for the respective teams. There’s no question which coach has it rolling better than any other. One who nails every criteria from wins, championships, recruiting, and history. From the best coach at the best program in college football, to the worst coach at the worst program in college football, here’s my list of the top and bottom 5.
Without a doubt, Nick Saban for Alabama heads the list, as he should. He's won four BCS championships (2003, 2009, 2011, 2012) over his last eight seasons in the college ranks and turned Alabama, and LSU before it, into a recruiting machine. Saban's teams' dominance in the past two title games against previously undefeated foes LSU and Notre Dame is a testament to his preparation skills, and his program's infrastructure. He and his organization have become a model for the rest of the sport.
Coming in at the number 2 spot is Urban Meyer of Ohio State. Everywhere Meyer has coached, he has won big with elite quarterbacks: Josh Harris (Bowling Green), Alex Smith (Utah), Chris Leak (Florida), Tim Tebow (Florida). He inherited every one except Tebow, whom he recruited, and inherited another championship-maker at OSU in Braxton Miller. Let’s see how Meyer and Miller and Ohio State react when the framework of winning drastically changes this fall.
Bob Stoops of Oklahoma gets the third spot with his consistency. He has won eight Big 12 championships in 14 years. Along with those, he compiled an average of 10.6 wins a season and eight BCS bowls.
The South Carolina Gamecocks’ head coach Steve Spurrier ranks fourth. Because South Carolina has yet to break through and win the SEC, we sometimes forget what Spurrier walked into at Columbia. The program was a joke, and was last seen fighting on the field with rival Clemson. When Spurrier does finally break through and win it, and make no mistake, he will, it will be the greatest turnaround for a program in SEC history.
Closing out the list for this year’s top five is Kevin Sumlin for Texas A&M. He may end up ranked higher in the coming years. Sumlin is the consummate CEO coach, imparting his vision (an up-tempo offense, attacking defense) to his staff and hiring excellent coordinators to execute it. Like Meyer, his charisma and confidence rub off on players. After leading both Houston (in 2011) and A&M (last year) to their best seasons in decades, Sumlin is now recruiting at a previously unattainable level in Aggieland.
Mark Stoops of Kentucky, Mike London of Virginia, Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech, Dan Mullen of Mississippi State, and Gus Malzahn round out my list for the worst coaches in college football. As the season unfolds, this list may alter and change, however with a little over a month until kickoff, I’m sure we all can’t wait for college football.