Top 5 College Football Coaches – Urban Meyer Tops the List

Defining a college football coach is a little more complicated than defining a NFL head coach in my eyes. In the NFL, it’s simple…just win baby. NFL head coaches are ultimately defined by their winning percentage and the amount of super bowl trophies they accumulate. However, in college football, the criteria is a little more complex. For example, you can’t fault Chris Peterson from Boise St if he hasn’t won a national championship. The way the BCS is set up doesn’t allow for that to even be a realistic possibility. However, if you are coaching at USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, or one of the other traditional powers, than you had best believe the amount of BCS bowl game wins and National Championships you’ve won are going to make or break your lasting legacy. So having said all that, let’s go on to my rankings for the Top 5 College Football Head Coaches.

#1 Urban Meyer – Head Coach, University of Florida
Love him or hate him, Urbie gets is done. Period. The guy won 17 games in his two years at Bowling Green, went undefeated at Utah in 2004, and has won 2 national championships and is favored to win it all again this year at Florida. The guy is 44-9 at Florida, 83-17 overall in his entire coaching career, and 5-1 in bowl games. On top of all that, Urbie is an outstanding recruiter and salesman(witness his lobbying effort to get Florida into the 2006 BCS Game instead of Michigan). He’s cocky, arrogant, and carries himself like he is better than everyone. However, there isn’t another guy in the nation I would want as my program’s head coach.

#2 Pete Carroll – Head Coach, University of Southern California
Talk about a guy that totally transformed his career coming from the NFL into the college game. Just a .500 coach in the NFL, Carroll has taken the college game by storm since 2001. Carroll’s Trojans have gone an impressive 88-15 overall since he arrived in Los Angeles. Carroll’s teams have been money in the postseason, as they’ve gone 6-2 overall including 6-1 in BCS games. The Trojans have won two national titles(2003, 2004) under Carroll and won a school-record 34 games from 2003-2005. Carroll not only excels coaching on the sidelines, but is also a master recruiter. USC’s recruiting classes annually rank amongst the Top 5 in the nation.

#3 Mack Brown – Head Coach, University of Texas
For some reason this guy doesn’t get the credit he deserves on the national level. I just don’t understand it. Sure, he has arguably the #1 job in the college game and has a recruiting edge over just about every school, but plenty of guys have gone to top programs and couldn’t get the job done. Brown gets it done, as his superb 115-26 overall record at Texas proves. Brown is 10-3 in bowl games at Texas and won the national championship in the 2005 season against a USC team that hadn’t lost in 34 games. Brown’s record in BCS bowl is a perfect 3-0. The guy might be the most under appreciated coach in all of College Football and deserves to be recognized as one of the best in the game.

#4 Nick Saban – Head Coach, University of Alabama
This guy comes from the Bill Belichick mold, which basically means he is all about winning and can care less about anything or anyone else. I, for one, love it. Saban’s career record is 105-50 and doesn’t compare to Meyer or Carroll’s eye-popping records, but there’s more to it than just numbers when it comes to Saban. Saban took over a Michigan St program in 1995 that hadn’t had a winning season since 1990 and proceeded to lead them to 5 seasons of .500 or better, including a 9-2 record in his last season in East Lansing before taking the LSU job. In five years at LSU, Saban won two SEC championships and a national title in 2003. Now Saban is back in the college game at Alabama after a brief disappointing stint in the NFL with the Dolphins. Saban already has the Tide back in the national spotlight, as the Tide climbed all the way to #1 last season for the 1st time in the regular season since 1981 before faltering down the stretch. It’s only a matter of time before Saban is back at the podium accepting another BCS Championship.

#5 Frank Beamer – Head Coach, Virginia Tech University
Some may argue with my selection of Beamer as being one of the Top 5 head coaches in the nation, but I stand behind it vehemently. Sure, Beamer does not own a national title and is just 7-9 in bowl games, but he coaches at Virginia freaking Tech people. Does anyone remember anything about Virginia Tech football before Beamer came to town? Ok, Bruce Smith played for the Hokies before Beamer-ball arrived and that’s about it. Beamer has transformed Blacksburg into the home of one of the nation’s most consistent football powers. Beamer’s Hokies have gone 176-89-2 overall in his tenure and have won 10 or more games in 10 of the last 14 seasons(including the last 5). Beamer’s best team was his 1999 Hokie unit, who behind the play of QB Michael Vick, gave national champion FSU all they could handle in the national championship game(Sugar Bowl). It’s one thing to take a no-name school and win for 4-5 years, but it’s another to do it for 15 plus years. T
hat’s what Beamer has done at Virginia Tech.

Honorable Mention:
Chris Peterson(Boise St), Les Miles(LSU), Bobby Petrino(Arkansas), Mark Richt(Georgia), Mike Leach(Texas Tech), Mike Bellotti(Oregon)

Overrated List:
Bob Stoops(Oklahoma), Steve Spurrier(South Carolina), Rich Rodriguez(Michigan), Jim Tressel(Ohio State), Jim Tedford(California), Charlies Weis(Notre Dame)

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