15. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
The job that this man has done at the Naval Academy has been remarkable. If Navy doesn’t get killed by injuries at the very end of the season, they would have been easily a top 20 team. Coach Niumatalolo seems content to stay at Navy for a long time, which I think is magnificent for college football.
14. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Dantonio’s Spartans had a rough season last year, but do not expect that to continue for very long. Dantonio is one of the top defensive minds in college football. My guess is the Spartan will be Big Ten contenders again soon.
13. David Cutcliffe, Duke
Coach Cutcliffe’s record is not that great, but what he has done at Duke has been nothing short of remarkable. Since coming to Duke Coach Cutcliffe has turned the football program from a bottom feeder in the ACC into a perennial bowl team.
12. James Franklin, Penn State
I look for this coach to be in the top 5 very soon. Before becoming the Head Coach at Penn State Franklin went to SEC doormat Vanderbilt. Franklin did one of the most amazing coaching jobs in recent college history by taking Vandy to three straight bowl games. The Commodores had never even made it back to back bowl games in their entire history until Coach Franklin arrived.
11. Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Coach Whittingham is one of the most underrated coaches in all of College Football. Since his arrival at Utah in 2005 Whittingham has done nothing but elevate this program. The Utes have been the most consistent program in the PAC 12 over the last few years, and they don’t look like they are going to drop off anytime soon.
10. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Coach Harbaugh has been a success everywhere he has coached, and Michigan has been no different. They contended for a playoff spot the entire year, and I look for that to continue. He is this low because let’s face it to be deemed a success at Michigan you need to beat Ohio State, and he hasn’t done that yet.
9. Chris Petersen, Washington
Peterson is an excellent football coach who did amazing things at Boise State, and now he has taken the Huskies to the College playoffs. The big question here will be can he do it again? They lost a lot from last year, but with QB Jake Browning returning for another season I would not bet against him.
8. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Before Bill Snyder got to Kansas State, the Wildcats were an after thought. Snyder does a fantastic job with players most coaches could not win with. Year in and year out Snyder’s teams seem to overachieve.
7. David Shaw, Stanford
There are a lot of NFL teams that would love to get their hands on Coach Shaw, but he seems content to stay at Stanford. The Cardinal are always at or near the top of the Pac 12 with coach Shaw overseeing the program. Injuries killed Stanford this past year, but Shaw somehow kept the team together and finished the season strong.
6. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Fisher is an underrated coach; he has taken the Seminoles back to national prominence. He is as good as any coach recruiting or drawing up x’s and o’s. With a young talented team coming back the Seminoles have to be a favorite to make it back to the college playoff this year.
5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Coach Stoops looked to be on the downside of a great career just three years ago. He turned it around by changing the way his team plays the game and now they are back in the National title picture. Two years ago the Sooners lost in the semi-finals and this past year a slow start doomed them. With QB Baker Mayfield returning the Sooners look poised to make a run at the National Title.
4. Gary Patterson, TCU
Patterson had a rough season last year, but don’t look for that to last. He has turned the Horned Frogs into a borderline National power, and he is one of the finest x and o coaches in the nation.
3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Swinney I feel is as good as either of the two coaches rated above him on this list. He sits at number three because the question now becomes can he continue to compete for National Titles without Deshaun Watson? The Tigers will lose a lot this year, Saban and Meyer have built programs that reload, can Swinney do the same thing at Clemson? I think he can, but only time will tell.
2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Every year it seems Meter has his team in contention. The Big Ten looks like it is trending upwards, can Meyer be as successful as he has been in the past? There is no reason to believe he won’t be. He is a big time recruiter and an excellent on-field coach, will the loss of Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell hurt this team as much as when they lost Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman a few years ago?
1. Nick Saban, Alabama
This to me right now is unquestioned, he wins too much for it to even be a question. He is an excellent on-field coach and nobody recruits like Saban. Saban shows no sign of slowing down, so expect the yearly trips to the College playoffs to continue.