Our friends at CollegeFootballNews have put together a ranking of the Big Ten’s head coaches. Did they get it right?
Urban Meyer’s numbers as Ohio State’s head coach are astonishing.
Through six seasons in Columbus, Meyer is 47-3 in the Big Ten, has a National Championship, has two Big Ten Championships, has four consecutive top six finishes, and has double digit wins in all six years.
And, he’s done all of that with the very real possibility of finding his pet dog hanging from a tree in his front yard if he comes up short in any way.
There really isn’t any disputing Urban Meyer’s accomplishments.
However, it’s not like he had to put on a hazmat suit when he first entered the football facility at Ohio State.
There are around ten programs in the nation that are practically ready-made for greatness when a head coach with a pulse arrives.
Ohio State is one of those programs.
Think of this way – if John Cooper could have won just two or three of the 76 games he lost to UMAA, he’d have a statue of himself just outside of the pawn shop with the really good rings and watches on High Street.
In nine seasons, Earle Bruce went 81-26-1 as the head coach of the Buckeyes.
Bruce finished with a Big Ten record of 57-17 which led to four Big Ten Championships
Nobody is ever going to confuse John Cooper and/or Earle Bruce for Bear Bryant or Nick Saban.
Speaking of Nick Saban, we’re all too familiar with the fact that Saban spent five maddeningly strange years as Michigan State’s head coach.
Saban’s record, as a friendly reminder, over that five-year stretch was 34-24-1 without a sniff of a Big Ten Championship.
Saban’s Big Ten record was 23-16-1.
Saban’s numbers while in East Lansing were as pedestrian as this person’s professional prospects appear to be presently:
On a piece of paper, there just isn’t any disputing that Mark Dantonio has done what Nick Saban was incapable of doing.
Are there all sorts of nuanced differences between the eras, the state of the program when each man arrived in East Lansing, and the state of the programs around the Big Ten?
However, at some point, the facts become the facts.
There is only one thing that Mark Dantonio has not done with the Michigan State football program – and that’s win the National Championship.
And Michigan State is most definitely not one of the ten college football programs that is ready-made for success when a coach arrives.
When Mark Dantonio arrived in East Lansing, he needed to wear a Level A hazmat suit manufactured by Northrup Grumman.
Am I saying that Mark Dantonio belongs in the top spot when ranking the Big Ten head coaches?
No – I’ll go ahead and acknowledge that Urban Meyer deserves that top spot without much grumbling.
But Mark Dantonio has made Meyer eat awful, cold pizza and he’s made Meyer trot off of his own field cold and soaking wet after orchestrating one of the all-time masterpieces that concluded with Michigan State Geigering the entire state of Ohio.
Paul Chryst and James Franklin are just behind the velvet rope with a lot of potential to burst into the club over the next few years.
While we’d like to get to a point where the piousness of Pat Fitzgerald begins to turn into anything else (we’ll take sanctimony, condescension – anything really), we must acknowledge that the man manages to win lots of football games while playing his home games at a high school facility that runs out of hot dogs for the patrons midway through the first quarter.
Kirk Ferentz has our respect – but the bread is starting to get a little stale.
In three years as UMAA’s J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach, Jim Harbaugh’s numbers fall short of Earle Bruce’s first three years at Ohio State. Look it up – this is a fact. I could go on but I don’t feel like it.
All in all, we’re comfortable with the way CollegeFootallNews has ranked the Big Ten’s head coaches.
If Coach D would have been anywhere other than #2, we’d have announced the ranking as fraudulent.
Thankfully, the ranking is not fraudulent and is, in fact, pretty spot on and fun to breeze through.
Take a look for yourself –