NCAA Football 2019 Big 10 Coach Rankings
The Big 10 has probably the biggest coaching gap in all the power five conferences. The coaches here really are in both ends of the spectrum. There are some interesting names to breakdown in this conference, as well as some others that won’t make it until the end of the season. With that in mind, let’s take a look and breakdown every coach and where they rank.
There are few things as incredible as the fact that Chris Ash is still employed as head coach of a power five conference college football team (but maybe not for long). He has just three Big 10 wins in the last two seasons and last year Rutgers had an unbelievable 1-11 record. There is not even one site ranking Ash any better than dead last in all power five conferences. How in the world does Chris Ash still have a job as head coach? Is just one of those mysteries of life.
Mike Locksley still doesn’t know how it feels like to have a winning record in college football (not even close) as his all-time record as a head coach stands at 3-31 which is pretty impressive considering he was even in the conversation of being Maryland Head Coach again (in 2015 was the interim Head Coach, finishing with a record of 1-5). He had a brief time of success during the last couple of years when he was an assistant at Alabama, even becoming the Offensive Coordinator under Nick Saban. Maryland is definitely hoping Locksley will turn his record around during his second chance with the team but only time will tell if will be able to live the experience of a winning record.
Tom Allen is the first coach in our ranking with a halfway decent record so far: He is 10-15 with two straight 5-7 seasons. Just before Allen’s arrival to Indiana, the Hoosiers under Kevin Wilson were contributing to the NFL with some interesting names like Jordan Howard, Tevin Coleman or Jason Spriggs, but now Indiana has an underwhelming pool of talent in his roster and Allen may be asked to do too much to get this program to a winning record.
It doesn’t really feel like all the efforts Lovie Smith have done to improve the talent level and turn Illinois program around have paid off after an overall record of 9-27 with the Illini. The longtime Bears Head Coach could be in the hot seat if the wins don’t start to come in bunches this year, so look out for the Illini performance this year because Lovie Smith is not the type of coach that gives up facing tough situations.
Ryan Day is really a tough evaluation at this point. The lack of Head Coaching experience is the main reason why he is ranking low, but he has all the upside in the world to be ranked among the best coaches in the conference, considering all the talent available he will have this next season. If he fails to meet the expectation of Ohio State, he certainly will be in the hot seat next year, but if the Buckeyes finish as expected, he will be in the conversation for one of the best coaches in the Big 10.
Fleck enters in his third season as Minnesota’s Head coach after he arrived high praised for his previous job at Western Michigan where he turned that program around. He definitely has improved the Golden Gophers team in his two seasons there, going from a 5-7 record to last’s year 7-6 but he still has to do a major improvement in his conference record that stands at 5-13. This Year Fleck’s team could get hot and get some unexpected victories that improve their status in the Big 10.
Jeff Brohm seems to be in good track to be successful with the Boilermakers soon. So far, he has accomplished a respectable record of 13-13 during his first two seasons, including a marquee win (actually, that was a beatdown more than a win) over the Buckeyes 49-20 last year. Brohm needs to take the chance to solidify his program and make it a successful one this season and Purdue seems confident to make it.
Frost entered to Nebraska last year as a highly regarded Head Coach after being responsible for the latest success of UCF. He ended last season with a bad record, but he managed to win four of his last six games and finish 4-8. The record itself is nothing encouraging but Frost is a very good coach with proven experience of improving college programs and achieving success so probably this season the Huskers will be getting on track to a successful run.
Paul Chryst enters his fifth season as the Badgers Head Coach with great sustained success. His school record is impressive and shows very well his skills to manage a successful football program and develop the young talent into next level talent. However, he’s coming from a “down year” after going 8-5 last season and not ending even ranked, Chryst will certainly be looking to get back into double digits wins and maybe get a run at the conference championship.
Pat Fitzgerald has the second longest tenure of a Head coach in the Big 10 conference and has amazed a lot of success with Northwestern University during his tenure. He won last season Big 10 West Title after the Wildcats finished 9-5and 8-1 in the Big 10, although, Fitzgerald’s Wildcats got crushed against Ohio State in the championship game and that wasn’t any surprise, the gap of talent between the two teams was on full display. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald has proved that he is a great Head Coach capable to manage and run a successful football program and help develop his players that even was considered this offseason as a candidate for some head coaching vacancies in the NFL.
Ferentz has the longest tenure of Head coaching in the whole Big 10 by at least 7 seasons and that just by itself, it’s super impressive. Kirk Ferentz has built one of the most successful programs in whole college football, continuingly developing players into NFL draft picks. His Big 10 record is an impressive 91-72 and has won a total of 152 games at Iowa which is even more impressive. He is entering into his twenty-first season as the Hawkeyes Head Coach looking to get his third Big 10 Title and the first since 2015 but he needs to bounce back from last season record of 9-4 if he wants to contend for big things this season.
Jim Harbaugh is one of the most relevant names in today’s college football. Since his arrival, he has managed to revitalize a program that was losing relevance, but he has started to give importance back to Michigan. He has three straight seasons with double-digit wins and Michigan team haven’t even reached his ceiling yet and the one thing that will define Harbaugh’s legacy in college football and in Michigan is his ability to beat Ohio State and win Big 10 titles with Urban Mayer out of the way.
Mark Dantonio has achieved way too much the past twelve seasons to not being ranked this high. He is one of just a few coaches who could win the Big 10 during Urban Meyer’s era and all the success and wins Michigan State has stacked, had been without a lot of five stars recruits. Dantonio makes a fantastic job managing successfully and sustainably a college football program developing lesser-known talent into playmakers rising stars. He had a down year last season finishing with a 7-6 record. If someone in the Big 10 is capable of bounce back from a down year to a very successful season, is Dantonio. The Spartans have won conference titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015, including a College Football Playoff appearance where they were crushed by Alabama, but only two Big 10 schools have ever been selected to the Playoffs, being the Spartans one of them.
This is one heck of a success story in college football. After inheriting the disaster of Joe Paterno’s legacy-killer abuse scandal that we won’t be talking about here and the unexpected departure of Bill O’Brien, James Franklin has managed to revamp Penn State’s program to unexpected success. After an obvious slow start, the Nittany Lions have a record of 31-9 the last three seasons including the 9-4 of last season and one conference Title in 2016. With Urban Meyer’s era over, the crown of the Big 10 is there for the taking and the man in the front line to take it is named James Franklin.