Top Ten Football Coaches in the Big 12 Conference
The Sporting News released their rankings for all 125 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches and ranked Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban as the best coach in the country.
I decided to rank the Big 12 coaches in a simple, but easy to understand criteria for their standing in my list. The criteria is performance at their current school, past performance at a previous school, and the condition of the program when taking over as Head Coach.
The coach at the top of our list has a great case to be considered one of the greatest coaches in the past thirty years. Bill Snyder built one of the worst programs in the history of College Football into a perennial winner year in and year out. Snyder has won two Big 12 Championships (2003, 2012) and has nine seasons of ten wins or more in the past twenty years.
Bob Stoops is the most successful coach in Big 12 Football history and has won the most titles in conference history (7). Stoops won a national title in 2000 and competed in three other title games.
Mike Gundy took over the Oklahoma State program in 2005 from Les Miles and built the program from average to Big 12 Champions in 2011 and three consecutive Bowl wins.
Gary Patterson took over a Horned Frog program that went 10-2 and emerged from being one of the worst teams in College Football in 1997 to a potential BCS buster in 2000 with Ladanian Tomlinson. Patterson built TCU into one of the best mid-major programs with eight seasons of at least ten wins and two BCS Bowl appearances while going through four different conferences.
Art Briles took over the Baylor Football program in late 2007 where the Bears were the laughing stock of the Big 12. Briles revived the Houston Cougars from a winless season to four bowl seasons in five seasons. Briles built the Baylor program up with phenom and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Baylor has gone to three straight bowl games, winning two of them.
Mack Brown came to the Texas program in 1997 to bring the program back from mediocrity after the lackluster John Mackovick era. Brown won the 2005 National Championship and four BCS Bowls. Brown and the Longhorns have fallen on hard times the past three seasons missing a bowl in 2010 and struggling in 2011 and 2012.
Dana Holgorsen is 17-9 in two seasons at West Virginia with a Big East Championship and Orange Bowl victory over Clemson. The Mountaineers started 5-0 before falling to 7-6 in 2012. Holgo has a big rebuilding job this season replacing Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
Paul Rhoads took over an Iowa State program in 2009 that went a combined 5-19 under Gene Chizik who bolted for Auburn. The Cyclones have been to three bowls in four seasons and have upset wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma State.
Charlie Weis spent five seasons at Notre Dame with three bowl appearances, two of them in the BCS, but was fired after going 3-9, 7-6, and 6-6 in his final three seasons. Weis spent a season with the Chiefs as their offensive coordinator and the next year in the same position with the Florida Gators before taking over the Kansas job in 2011 and going 1-11 in his first year. Can the injection of JUCO recruits turn around the Jayhawks fortunes? Weis is banking on it.
The reason behind Kingsbury at 10th on the list of the best Big 12 Coaches is simple: Kliff hasn't coached a game yet as a head coach. Yes, his game planning at Texas A&M in 2012 was brilliant and Johnny Manziel certainly helps. The Aggies led the SEC in rushing this past year and with the running back position at Tech having the most talented skill position look for the Red Raiders to run the ball a lot more this next season. 2013 could be a big year for the Red Raiders coming off an 8-5 season.