NCAA Football 2019 Big 12 Coach Rankings
The new blood of college football coaching lives in the Big 12 for a few years. Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma are the main references of young ascending coaches and with some big-name coaches retiring like Bill Snyder from Kansas State and Bob Stoops from Oklahoma a couple of years ago the way is open for this young bright head coaches to lead in the Big 12. Although only two coaches in this conference can be considered as top tier coaches in the power five conferences, there are some interesting and very talented coaches that are worthy to take a look and breakdown:
Chris Klieman doesn’t exactly fit the definition of young ascending Head Coach, but he is new to power five conference football after his tenure at North Dakota State, where he was very successful with the Bison. The newcomer has a lot of work to do replace the retired Bill Snyder, who left a huge legacy at Kansas State but last year ended with a very disappointing record of 5-7 overall and a 3-6 Big 12 record. Klieman is a very good coach and the great job he did with the Bison should help him build his own legacy and stamp his style with the Wildcats but the beginning of his tenure most likely will be rough, especially considering the level of competition of his rivals, that’s why he is considered to be at the bottom of the list.
Another first-year Head Coach with a big challenge ahead that and with big shoes to fill. The newcomer from Utah State had a 44-34 (.560) record and his offense averaged more points per game in 2018 than everyone except Oklahoma, so Matt Wells credentials speak for themselves, being a great hire as the new Texas Tech Head Coach. His record alone and the track of success Wells had, put him in a better position as a newcomer in this ranking.
Neal Brown already proved his talent and capability as a Head Coach putting Troy at the peak of his success. Now he has the chance to do the same with a program in a power five conference, which is by far, the biggest challenge of his career. He is a good fit for the Mountaineers and most likely he will be given time to develop his culture and his style in the program so the expectations for his first year at West Virginia will be reasonable. Expectations for success would have to start at year 3 for Brown’s performance to be properly judged.
Another newcomer Head Coach in the Big 12 that is hard to rank because we haven’t seen him perform in this conference, but he has been very successful in other programs. Les Miles is different than the previous three coaches ranked, he has an all-time 142-55 record and has won a National Championship in 2007 with the LSU Tigers, playing at probably, the hardest conference to play at in college football. Miles has a lot to do with the Jayhawks to turn around this program, which has just 18 wins this decade. If he succeeds with Kansas, he will prove his past success wasn’t only because he was at LSU.
After the end of the Art Briles era, Baylor suffered a major drop in all aspects of the program. Matt Ruhle came from Temple with a lot of success and accomplishments and took a Baylor team with a 7-6 record to a disastrous 1-11 record, the worst outcome of his career. He managed to bounce back and ended last season with a record of 7-6 including a victory over Vanderbilt at the Texas Bowl. Rhule had a heck of a jump from year 1 to year 2 and entering year 3 he will be looking to solidify his program and build the success he achieved at Temple.
Matt Campbell is one of the hottest names among coaches in the Big 12. He was considered for the Ohio State job and even some NFL teams head coaching vacancies, but he ultimately decided to stay with the Cyclones and this year he likely will be looking to dethrone Oklahoma for the Big 12 championship. Campbell has accomplished a good amount of success in a short period of time so in year 4 he has to solidify his program with a shot at a championship and show his ability to achieve sustained success.
Tom Herman probably deserves more credit than what he’s been given for these past seasons with the Longhorns. He took a program that was losing relevance not only in the Big 12 but along college football and brought it back to contention this past season, finishing with an impressive 10-4 record with wins over USC, TCU, Oklahoma and a Bowl game win against Georgia. This season Texas is one of the favorites to dethrone Oklahoma at the top of the Big 12 and have another 10 plus wins season. Although if the Longhorns fall short from the expectations of this season, Herman will dramatically drop from the rankings.
Ok, here is where the cream of the crop of Big 12 coaches starts. Gundy has the second longest tenure as Head Coach in the Big 12 and has a great track of success along his 14 seasons but he enters his 15th season with the pressure of improving last year’s 7-6 record and contends for the Big 12 championship competing against Iowa State, Texas and TCU to dethrone Oklahoma. Last year they won against Texas, Boise State and almost beat the Sooners, ending the season with a big-time win over Missouri at the Liberty Bowl. This season they will count on redshirt sophomore QB Spencer Sanders to lead the Cowboys to contention to win the Big 12.
The longest-tenured Head Coach in the Big 12, Patterson is already a legend for TCU. His record during his time in TCU speaks for itself and is nothing short of amazing at 167-63 and an all-time Big 12 record of 107-42 which is by far the best of the conference. If it wasn’t for the recent success of Riley and the Sooners, Gary Patterson would probably be reigning over the Big 12. That being said, the Horned Frogs need major improvement from last year’s 7-6 record if Patterson wants to continue his success track and finish his coaching career at TCU. Expect Patterson to contend once again for the Big 12 title as he is still considered one of the most respected defensive minds in college football and in a conference that thrives on offense.
No surprises here with Lincoln Riley being at the top of the ranking in the Big 12 as well as a top five ranked coach in all college football. The success achieved in his first two seasons as the Sooners Head Coach is unbelievable having an all-time record of 24-4, two consecutive College Football playoffs appearances, two Heisman Trophy winners and first overall NFL picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Wow. It’s hard to debate Riley’s status as the best Head Coach of the Big 12 and this year he will need to continue succeeding against some great programs with great Head Coaches that are desperately willing to beat him for the conference championship.