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The Top 10 Coaches Of College Football

Urban Meyer

One Great Season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- What do Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden have in common?

That's right; neither made the OGS Top 10 Coaches List that I tallied up Wednesday night.

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Last week, I sent the survey to several dozen Sports Information Directors, football writers and savvy fans, and the votes are in. It's really no surprise who took the No. 1 spot: Florida's Urban Meyer.

YOUR THOUGHTS: How Do You Rank The Top Coaches?

Les Miles

I asked folks to vote as objectively as possible for who they thought were the top coaches in the game right now, which to me means more of a recent record than the overall body of work. Here was my ballot:

  1. Urban Meyer, Florida
  2. Pete Carroll, USC
  3. Nick Saban, Alabama
  4. Mack Brown, Texas
  5. Brian Kelly, Cincinnati
  6. Les Miles, LSU
  7. Jim Tressel, Ohio State
  8. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
  9. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  10. Chip Kelly, Oregon

Yes, I know it's courageous to put Brian Kelly ahead of the two guys directly beneath him, as Miles and Tressel have combined for three national championships this decade. But if there's one guy for whom it's just a matter of time right now, it's Kelly.

Paul Johnson

And I stayed away from the fashionable picks like Chris Peterson, Kirk Ferentz and Gary Patterson because I'd like to see if Ferentz can sustain the success he's enjoying this year and the other guys coach in weaker leagues. The occasional big win for them is nice and all, but if they had to grind through a power league each year, maybe some of those one-loss seasons would be three-loss seasons at Boise State and TCU.

The one wild-card I wish I had room for was Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson.

Here was the overall ballot from the panel, with some quotes from those who allowed me to use their words:

  1. Urban Meyer, Florida
    "Innovative. Creative. Business-like. Since taking the job at Florida his teams have won ugly, won with style, and pretty much everything in between. But they have won. They have a target on their back every week of every year. Plus, he told Notre Dame to take a flying leap, which gets him bonus points in my book."
    - Pat Fagan, head football coach, Milford (Ohio) High School
  2. Pete Carroll

  3. Pete Carroll, USC
    "Who wouldn't love to play for this guy? He's Southern California personified. His practical jokes and wacky contests in practice are well-documented, as are his contributions to the inner-city neighborhoods in Los Angeles. And, oh by the way, two national titles."
    - Jeff Wallner, sportswriter
  4. Nick Saban, Alabama
    "Alabama has made a deal with the devil. He's the best football dictator in all of football."
    - Jeff Gluck, blogger, Almost Interesting
  5. Brian Kelly

  6. Brian Kelly, Cincinnati
    "He's built up the Cincy program pratically overnight. What's the over/under on a big program wooing this guy away from the Bearcats?"
    - Kyle Bunch, blogger, Trojan Wire
  7. Mack Brown, Texas
    "Steady, steady, steady. He reloads better than anyone."
    - Chris Boggs, blogger, Atlanta Journal Constitution's Ramblin' On
  8. Chris Peterson, Boise State
    "Took over a program that appeared to be at its performance ceiling and made it even better."
    - Andy McNamara, Assistant SID, Oregon
  9. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
    "He no longer flies under the radar like his early days at Navy."
    - George Vogel, WLWT-TV Sports Anchor, Cincinnati
  10. Jim Tressel

  11. Jim Tressel, Ohio State
    "Tressel has gotten too used to the bridesmaid role, but he’s made the Buckeyes relevant every year since he took over."
    - Randy Rosetta, LSU beat writer, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate
  12. Chip Kelly, Oregon
    "Booted a stud from the team for being a doofus, refunded a fan's travel expenses and started winning football games ... in butt-ugly uniforms at that!"
    - Scott Springer, blogger, Parting Scott
  13. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
    "They may be running out of lives, but ... he's so focused and doesn't let anything distract him. He's also one of the nicest guys on the planet."
    - Eric Thomas, blogger, Blue White Illustrated

Looking for more excellent content on One Great Season? Here you go:

+ GALLERY: The Hot Girls Of College Football
+ GALLERY: Celebrities Who Have Nothing To Do With College Football
+ DISCUSSION: Does Spikes' Self-Punishment Make Meyer Look Bad?
+ VIDEO: Prickly Paterno Pulls No Punches This Week
+ ARTICLE: One-Loss Ducks Belong In Title-Game Talk
+ GALLERY: Fans Rock Costumes at USC-Oregon Game
+ VIDEO: FOX19 Morning Show Appearance
+ VIDEO: VaTech Fan Gets Belligerent On GaTech Fan
+ ARTICLE: Is My Boy Jeff An A-Hole?
+ VIDEO: Tailgate Recipes -- My Mom's Chili
+ QUIZ: Who Are The 30 Thousand Helpers?

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Reader Comments (11)

You obviously didn't rank these coaches by their ability to ingest an entire buffet in less than 30 minutes. Otherwise Mark Mangino would be on here.

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

or "front butt" Charlie Weis

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrane

Whit: Mangino certainly can shovel a whole meal of food with the best of 'em. And Bruce, you know that's inappropriate.

November 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

Mangino on the contest.

On the sideline....Paul Johnson.

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterveerbone

How in the hell can you have little game Bob, Jim Tressel, Pete Carroll ( who has more talent than anyone in the country) ahead of Chip Kelly who in his rookie year has had to endure more than any other coach and who has his team playing better than anyone in the country..... NO WAY !!

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBigsugar

Bigsugar: Look around the site for a minute and you'll see I'm plenty gaga about Kelly. I was just in Eugene last week and you're right; the Ducks are playing better than anyone. But you used the term "rookie year." Let's hold on a second before we rank him ahead of guys who've won national championships this decade, usually keep their teams in the BCS mix and average 10 wins a season over time.

November 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

Urban is no longer a legend; now in my opinion, he's irrelevant (I can't SEEEEE you!)

Seems like every guy on this list except # 9 has been trying to imitate # 9 in most interviews I've observed of late.
It looks like they all wish they had what CK has. His honesty is SOOooo refreshing.

The other guys say they love their players. It looks to me like they appreciate what their players can do for them but like Urban, have difficulty in loving them, like a good father would love them, holding them accountable for all their actions. CK shows his players that he loves them, tells them so and everyone else. No joke. That's the kind of coach I would like to have for my son .

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpread

Glad to see Kelly on the list I think Reilly at Oregon State and Mike Stoups at Arizona should be listed.
Mike has turned a programs around that was in the dumpster with horrible fans, a lost AD and a school that only knew basketball and womens softball. Plus the fans are actually going to games! Mike and Mark have done a great job in that dusty little town of Tucson.

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Oregon has bad uniforms??? Maybe you just have bad taste as many bloggers do

November 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNelson

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