Ranking coaches, Nos. 1 to 124
May, 10, 2012
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com
Boyd Ivey/Icon SMIUtah's Kyle Whittingham is 6-1 in bowl games, including a Sugar Bowl win over Nick Saban.Again, we love lists. We love rankings.
The Sporting News goes all out with its latest: Ranking all FBS coaches from Nos. 1 to 124. From No. 1 Nick Saban -- no argument -- to UMass' Charley Molnar in last place.
How does the Pac-12 rate? Oregon's Chip Kelly rates No. 6 overall and first in the conference -- no argument -- and 11 of the 12 rank among the top 75. Colorado's Jon Embree is rated No. 106, but, of course, that's entirely based on him being a first-time head coach in just his second year taking over a major rebuilding project.
The Pac-12 coaches go like this:
6. Chip Kelly, Oregon
17. Mike Leach, Washington State
20. Lane Kiffin, USC
21. Kyle Whittingham, Utah
30. Steve Sarkisian, Washington
32. David Shaw, Stanford
39. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
55. Mike Riley, Oregon State
57. Jeff Tedford, California
68. Jim Mora, UCLA
75. Todd Graham, Arizona State
106. Jon Embree, Colorado.
Kevin and I ranked the Pac-12 coaches a few weeks back -- you can see our lists here.
Such lists are, obviously, subjective and highly fluid. You can bet any such ranking of coaches will look substantially different in mid-January. So I'm not going to quibble much with TSN's list, even if I did slap my forehead a few times.
Not too much.
Whittingham and Rodriguez are too low.
For one, it's cloudy how BYU's Bronco Mendenhall, ranked 15th, is ahead of Whittingham. They have nearly identical records in seven years and Whittingham is 4-3 against Mendenhall. He also has a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama -- and Saban -- and is 6-1 in bowl games. And, er, did anyone at TSN see last year's Holy War in Provo?
As for Rodriguez, too much is made of his Michigan tenure, a mismatch from the beginning where everything was stacked against him. And it's not only his success at West Virginia, which included four Big East titles and two Coach of the Year awards, that should push him into the top 25. It's also what he did at Glenville State -- practically (re)inventing the spread option offense -- and as the offensive coordinator at Tulane and Clemson.
As for the Pac-12 in general, TSN notes its average ranking of coaches is 43.8, which ranks third behind the Big 12 (27.2) and SEC (43.8).