In light of Nick Saban’s fourth BCS title, the second in a row and third in the last four seasons, there is no disputing that he is king of the college ranks. But if you wanted to line up everyone else where do they all belong? We’ll answer that here as we rank then top 10 current coaches in the college game.
First, here are some excellent coaches who just missed the cut, yet deserved a mention: Bret Bielema of Arkansas, Mack Brown of Texas, Dave Doeren of N.C. State, and Gary Patterson of Texas Christian.
10. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: 216-104-2 record, 20 Bowl appearances: Beamer had a streak of eight straight 10-plus win seasons snapped this year with a 7-6 record though he led the Hokies to their 20th straight bowl appearance anyway. Included in those 20 bowl trips are four trips apiece to the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
9. Les Miles, LSU: 113-42 record, 1 National Title, 11 Bowl appearances: Miles’ Tigers went 1-1 last year against Alabama and were a top team again this past season, and Miles himself has finally stepped out of the enormous shadow left at LSU by predecessor Nick Saban. His teams have gone 34-6 the past three seasons in the incredibly tough SEC.
8. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: 81-33 record, 6 Bowl appearances: Kelly wasted no time in turning Cincinnati into a national power, compiling a 34-6 record there, before coming to Notre Dame and leading them to a title-game shot this past season—his third at the school. With the looks of his team this year, combined with top recruiting classes with the Irish, and a great record at previous stops, it would appear that Notre Dame will be at the top of the rankings for many years to come.
7. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: 208-77-2 record, 1 National Title, 19 Bowl appearances: Spurrier has now compiled back-to-back 11-win seasons at once-lowly South Carolina, of all places, while coaching in the ever-difficult SEC. That in itself is an accomplishment. Of course, what he did at Florida (122-27-1 in 12 seasons) speaks for itself.
6. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: 170-85-1 record, 14 Bowl appearances: Snyder’s numbers don’t look as impressive until you consider how awful Kansas State was before his arrival in 1989. Prior to ’89 the Wildcats had a grand total of one bowl appearance since their inception in 1912. And Since World War II, he is the only Kansas State coach with a winning record. Currently he has the program rolling again with a 21-5 record over the past two seasons.
5. Chris Peterson, Boise State: 84-8 record, 7 Bowl appearances: If Peterson ever decides to leave Boise he would probably have his pick of nearly any school out there. The innovative coach made a name for himself with a 13-0 inaugural season in 2006 that included a thrilling Fiesta Bowl overtime win over Oklahoma that’s considered one of the best of all time. He’s added a second perfect campaign (14-0 in 2009) since then and has yet to win fewer than 10 games in any season.
4. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: 149-37 record, 1 National Title, 14 Bowl appearances: “Big Game” Bob keeps churning out great teams in the ever-competitive Big 12. Only three times in his 14 seasons has he failed to win 10 games and his well-documented dominance over Texas has completely endeared him to Sooner fans. Stoops has made it to the title game an amazing four times in his career.
3. Chip Kelly, Oregon: 46-7 record, 4 Bowl appearances: Although Kelly has only been a head coach for four seasons at Oregon he’s led the Ducks to four BCS appearances including a title shot two years ago against Auburn. Now that he’s staying in the college ranks it would appear the no-huddle, high-octane offense that he brings will continue to terrify defensive coordinators all across the country for years to come.2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: 116-23 record, 2 National Titles, 8 Bowl appearances: Meyer re-established himself as one of the best coaches out there this season leading the probationed-Buckeyes, who thought they had little to play for after being banned from the postseason, to a 12-0 season. This is after his Florida run which included a pair of national titles and a 65-15 record.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama: 159-55-1 record, 4 National Titles, 14 Bowl appearances: With three titles in the last four seasons at Alabama, Nick Saban is simply the best. His teams are now 61-7 over the last five seasons and his amazing five-season revival at LSU from 2000-04 is still going strong under a different head coach. Even more scary is the fact that the Crimson Tide, with continued top recruiting classes, look like they’ll stay at the top of the ranks for years to come. Who knows how many more titles he’ll win?