Going into the 2018 season, how to the Big Ten coaches stack up? Here’s the preseason ranking of all the head men.
Preview 2018: Ranking The Big Ten Coaches
Who do you want as your head coach for right now, and who are the best guys going at each program?
Of course, it’s easy to go by record, but it’s just as much about trends, where the teams are going, and where the buzz is at for each of the rulers of their respective worlds.
These aren’t Hot Seat Rankings – those are coming later. These are the rankings based loosely on what the head coaches have done, and mostly about what they’re about to do.
Think of it this way. If all things were equal in terms of program, talent, facilities, etc., and you were to hold a head coaching draft …
14. Tom Allen, Indiana
It’s not that he’s a bad head coach, bit in his first season at the helm, his team went 5-7 despite having the defensive pieces to get to a bowl game. It might have been tough to replace Kevin Wilson, at least in terms of production, but Allen has to come up with a six-win season.
– Preview 2018: Rebuild And Make It Better
13. Chris Ash, Rutgers
Yeah, he’s 6-18 in his first two seasons, but the recruiting hasn’t been bad, and he’s got a good enough team returning got make an honest push for a bowl game. This was going to be a teardown rehab job, and at least Rutgers looks like it’s going in the right direction.
– Preview 2018: Here Comes The Turn
12. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
It took three years for Fleck to turn Western Michigan from a total disaster to a MAC Champion that went to the Cotton Bowl, but he got the team bowling in his second season in Kalamazoo. The first recruiting class was just okay, and this year, Minnesota has to start being better because of the coaching.
– Preview 2018: The Payoff Is Coming
11. D.J. Durkin, Maryland
All he needs is a little bit of luck. He’s done an amazing job of recruiting in his short time, but the ridiculous array of quarterback injuries cost his team after an amazing opening weekend win over Texas. The talent level is improving, and he has a bowl appearance. But no matter what, he needs a winning season.
– Preview 2018: Overdue For A Break
10. Lovie Smith, Illinois
Of course he’s a phenomenal head coach, but the college production has to come. At 5-19 in his first two seasons, he needs the youth movement of last season starts to pay off. Illinois is going through the pains of a rebuild, but if this goes according to plan, this could be the year the Lovie era starts to work.
– Preview 2018: Youth Movement Needs To Work
9. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Do you want the consistent production or do you want the shot for the stars with a Brohm, Fleck or Frost? For the long haul, it’s the latter, but Ferentz is only two years removed from coming within a defensive stop of the College Football Playoff. Even so, two straight eight-win seasons are fine, but has Iowa maxed out? Whatever – Kirk Ferentz is the type of person and coach you want for your program.
– Preview 2018: This Needs To Be The Year
8. Jeff Brohm, Purdue
And he’s not the Tennessee or Florida State head coach right now, why? Four years as a college head coach, four winning seasons, four bowl wins, two conference championships. The offensive head coach won at Purdue with a great defense, but now he has to keep it all going.
– Preview 2018: Great. Do It Again
7. Scott Frost, Nebraska
He might just fly up this list in a big, big hurry next year. He’s the hot coach with the hot offense coming off the hot season, but there’s a chance he caught lightning in a bottle at UCF. Can it translate to Nebraska? Yeah, but it should take a season or so. That’s okay – it took a year for it all to kick in with the Knights, too.
– Preview 2018: It’s On, But Be Patient
6. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Everyone can’t stop crying and whining about how Harbaugh can’t beat Ohio State, is struggling against Michigan State, and has yet to finish better than third in the Big Ten East. But it’s easy to forget just how mediocre Michigan was before he got there – going 28-11 with three big bowl appearances is hardly a bad run. But yeah, it’s time for more.
– Preview 2018: Eventually, This Will Happen