Monday, April 14, 2008

Ranking College Coaches

Sporting News 2008 rankings:

1. Pete Carroll, USC.
2. Jim Tressel, Ohio State.
3. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan.
4. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma.
5. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest.
6. Mark Richt, Georgia.
7. Mack Brown, Texas.
8. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech.
9. Mark Mangino, Kansas.
10. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State.
11. Mike Leach, Texas Tech.
12. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina.
13. Randy Edsall, UConn.
14. Urban Meyer, Florida.
15. Mike Bellotti, Oregon.
16. Greg Schiano, Rutgers.
17. Nick Saban, Alabama.
18. Joe Tiller, Purdue.
19. Brian Kelly, Cincinnati.
20. Les Miles, LSU.
21. Mike Riley, Oregon State.
22. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn.
23. Jeff Tedford, Cal.
24. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville.
25. Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee.
26. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa.
27. Jim Leavitt, South Florida.
28. Bobby Bowden, Florida State.
29. Dan Hawkins, Colorado.
30. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss.
31. Tom O'Brien, N.C. State.
32. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt.
33. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech.
34. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas.
35. Gary Pinkel, Missouri.
36. Rich Brooks, Kentucky.
37. Al Groh, Virginia.
38. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA.
39. Art Briles, Baylor.
40. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin.
41. Tommy Bowden, Clemson.
42. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford.
43. Ron Zook, Illinois.
44. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State.
45. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State.
46. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M.
47. Tyrone Willingham, Washington.
48. Joe Paterno, Penn State.
49. Butch Davis, North Carolina.
50. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State.
51. David Cutcliffe, Duke.
52. Dave Wannstedt, Pitt.
53. Ralph Friedgen, Maryland.
54. Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College.
55. Paul Wulff, Washington State.
56. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame.
57. Bo Pelini, Nebraska.
58. Greg Robinson, Syracuse.
59. Gene Chizik, Iowa State.
60. Ron Prince, Kansas State.
61. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern.
62. Tim Brewster, Minnesota.
63. Mike Stoops, Arizona.
64. Bill Stewart, West Virginia.
65. Bill Lynch, Indiana.
66. Randy Shannon, Miami.

I wanted to take a closer look at these rankings, as they seemed fairly arbitrary and subjective. They are more of an approval rating than an analysis of the respective coach's ability.

Consider these tidbits I pulled from the rankings:

Ty Willingham moved up 7 spots in the rankings from last year, despite his fourth straight losing season, and losing two more games this year than last.

Comparably, despite back-to-back BCS appearances in his first two seasons, Weis was ranked only 42nd last year. His tumble to 56th is understandable considering the 3-9 record last year, but it was his first losing season. Willingham was ranked nearly 8 spots ahead, despite the string of losing. Weis' biggest black mark? He led the nation in the % change in winning percentage from last year to this year, a drop of 51.9%. That's almost identical to Ron Zook's 52.6% increase in win %.

Zook's impressive turnaround bought him only a 6 spot increase from last year (49th to 43rd). Comparatively, a decent (9-4) season in the Big East launched Randy Edsall up the rankings, with a staggering 42-spot jump from 55th to 13th.

And that Missouri-Kansas matchup? Missouri's coach, who led them to an impressive 12-2 record, jumped 8 spots. Kansas' coach jumped 26 for their 12-1 record.

Some other head scratchers include:
Butch Davis' similar 30 spot drop, despite improving his record from last year.
Tom O'Brien dropping 18 spots, despite improving his record by two games from last year.
Al Groh dropped from last year (5-7) to this year (9-4). So he goes from no bowl game to the Gator Bowl, and that makes him a worse coach.
On the other side of the coin, Greg Robinson managed to make Syracuse even worse this year, dropping them from 4-8 to 2-10. His reward was a 7-spot jump UP in the rankings.
Also rewarded for a backslide was Greg Schiano, who despite a 23% drop in winning percentage moved up an astounding 17 spots in the rankings. Steve Kragthorpe's dismantling of the once impressive Louisville program (dropped 42.3% in winning percentage) earned him a nice 3 spot jump up.
And as much as I love what Terry Hoeppner built at Indiana, I think it is unfair to Bill Lynch to rank him 19 spots below his predecessor, when he led the team to it
s first bowl berth since 1993.

From the "They are too old to coach" file: Joe Paterno slpped 30 spots, and Bobby Bowden slipped 14. Their records from last year to this year? No change. Oh, and the #1 and #2 guys in all time wins don't even crack the top 25 among current coaches, apparently.

Another note from these rankings? According to them, Bill Stewart was a horible choice for the West Virginia Mountaineers - he ranks a staggering 61 spots behind his predecessor. The best hire? Houston Nutt over at Ole Miss - ranking 33 spots ahead of Ed Orgeron last year.

So take these rankings with a grain of salt, as they are extremely subjective.

But I would take this from the rankings: Coach Weis' seat is starting to warm up a bt.