Daily Ask CFN: Is Dabo Swinney A Top Five Head Coach?
The Daily Ask CFN Question: Is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney a top five head coach now?
Welcome to the offseason feature of the Daily Ask CFN. Please shoot over your questions to @PeteFiutak and I’ll try to crank up at least one a day.
To kick it all off, I’ll dive into a series of questions being asked on just about every radio appearance I’ve been doing over the last few days, beginning with …
With Clemson’s national championship win over Alabama, where does Dabo Swinney rank among the current head coaches?
One radio host argued that Swinney should now be put in the No. 2 spot behind Nick Saban – mainly because he beat Urban Meyer in their last two head-to-head meetings.
That’s not all that crazy.
If you’re going by a ranking of who the top college football head coaches are right now in terms of overall resume, though, you’d have to go 1. Nick Saban, 2. Urban Meyer, 3. Bob Stoops, 4. Dabo Swinney, 5. Jimbo Fisher.
At this point, if you don’t have a national title, you need not apply. Those are the only five who have one at the FCS level.
But that’s ranked on longevity, and Stoops has the better overall body of work than Swinney and Fisher. Stoops’ national title came a million years ago, winning in the 2000 season, but he came close several times, and the ten Big 12 titles easily puts him in the No. 3 spot.
But based the last few years, Swinney has done more over the and deserves to be No. 3 on the list with the two straight national title appearances and that national title. It’s still hard, though, to put him above Urban, but a case could be made considering Ohio State has just one Big Ten championship in the last three years and Clemson just walloped the Buckeyes. So with that in mind …
What-have-you-done-for-me-lately? The rankings over the last five years probably are about the same, but make it Saban, Meyer, Swinney, Fisher, and then it gets sort of interesting.
Stoops has two straight Big 12 titles, three in the last five years, and a College Football Playoff appearance in 2015, and he has a Sugar Bowl win after the 2013 season. Does the 8-5 dip in 2014 knock him out of the top five?
Nah. The resume is still better than Mark Dantonio’s and David Shaw’s.
But this is about Dabo. Right now, he’s hotter and more interesting than Jim Harbaugh. He’s more accomplished than Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen and Bobby Petrino – three of the if-all-things-talent-wise-were-equal coaches – and he’s got the national championship, and Saban doesn’t.
If you want to make him No. 2 on the list going into 2017, fine. Go for it. It’s all based on opinion and perception, obviously.
At the very least, Swinney is in the discussion among the elite head coaches, going an incredible 70-13 over the last six years with three ACC titles, four Atlantic titles, and six post-season wins in the last seven games – counting last year’s national championship loss to Alabama.
No matter where you want to rank coaches, he’s right there. In this type of discussion, being in the team photo is all that matters.
Again, shoot over your questions to @PeteFiutak