2018 Final Ranking Of All 130 Head Coaches: How Good Were Their Seasons?

2018 Final Ranking Of All 130 Head Coaches: How Good Were Their Seasons?

Coach Hot Seat

2018 Final Ranking Of All 130 Head Coaches: How Good Were Their Seasons?


50. Lance Leipold, Buffalo

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 39
2018 Record: 10-4

If it’s possible to have a horribly disappointing season and win ten games, Leipold did it. He had the best team in the MAC, and it gagged away the conference title game against Northern Illinois and struggled late in the bowl loss to Troy to finish losing three of its last four games.

49. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 63
2018 Record: 8-6

There was a disappointing disaster of a performance against Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl, and not holding on against UAB in the Conference USA title game hurt, but his Blue Raiders got there.

48. Billy Napier, Louisiana

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 7-7

In his first year, he got the Ragin’ Cajuns to the Sun Belt Championship Game. There was an unforgivable home loss to Coastal Carolina, but whatever – they pushed Appalachian State hard in the title game.

47. PJ Fleck, Minnesota

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 90
2018 Record: 7-6

The season was going nowhere, the offense lost star RB Rodney Smith, and the team was 3-5 and got rim-rocked by Illinois 55-31. Not only did Fleck’s club beat – and dominate – Wisconsin or the first time since 2003 to become bowl eligible, but it destroyed Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl.

46. Kirby Smart, Georgia

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 11
2018 Record: 11-3

Yeah, his team was one of the four best in college football, even if it didn’t play like it in the Sugar Bowl loss to Texas. For good and – this season – for bad, Georgia is either in the College Football Playoff now under Smart, or it isn’t. It wasn’t, and that’s all that matters.

45. Rod Carey, Northern Illinois

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 71
2018 Record: 8-6

He won the MAC title. He can’t get his teams to show up for bowl games, and losing three of the last four games wasn’t pretty, but his NIU team came up with a huge second half to beat Buffalo for a championship. That was enough to get him the Temple gig.

44. David Cutcliffe, Duke

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 64
2018 Record: 8-5

Yeah, Duke rolled Northwestern and Baylor on the road early on, and it beat Miami and won the rivalry game against North Carolina before taking down Temple in the Independence Bowl. That’s all nice – it’s Duke – but if Daniel Jones really is a first round NFL quarterback talent, you don’t put up 14 points against a miserable Virginia Tech defense and get rocked 59-7 by Wake Forest.

43. Steve Addazio, Boston College

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 25
2018 Record: 7-5

It all ended with a crashing thud – losing three straight before the SERVPRO First Responders Bowl quit on itself and BC didn’t get to play Boise State – but it was still a decent 7-2 run before losing to Clemson. At least Addazio’s team created enough excitement to get GameDay to Chestnut Hill.

42. Jay Norvell, Nevada

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 102
2018 Record: 8-5

And there it is. After putting the pieces in place in his first season, the offense didn’t crank it up with the Air Raid attack not rocking and rolling, but Nevada went bowling again, and won it. The loss to UNLV matters to the program, but winning five of the last six games was a strong step forward.

41. James Franklin, Penn State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 15
2018 Record: 9-4

Penn State is supposed to be in the Big Ten championship chase, and that didn’t happen with the losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. Winning nine games was nice, but losing to the other big boys in the East, and with the loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, it was as disappointing a nine-win season as it gets.

40. Justin Wilcox, Cal

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 56
2018 Record: 7-6

At the end of the day, Wilcox got Cal to a bowl game. The Cheez-It loss to TCU might have been the ugliest thing in the history of recorded sport, but the Bears got there. Now he needs to find some semblance of an offense after it scored 17 points or fewer in seven of the last nine games.

39. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 22
2018 Record: 8-5

With – arguably – the best coaching performance of the bowl season with a 28-0 stomping over South Carolina in the Belk, Virginia put together another nice year as it keeps moving forward and improving. However, the loss to Virginia Tech – a bad Virginia Tech – and the home loss to Pitt that the Cavs had to have soured things. On the plus side, the bar is set higher now.

38. Dave Doeren, NC State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 70
2018 Record: 9-4

If last year’s team slightly underachieved considering all the talent, this year’s squad overachieved without Bradley Chubb and a slew of key parts, and with no running game. It was a quietly strong nine-win run that won’t get any credit or love after getting the doors blown off by Texas A&M in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

37. David Shaw, Stanford

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 32
2018 Record: 9-4

He didn’t get Stanford back to the Pac-12 Championship, but his team quietly came up with a nice nine-win season. Remember that he had to adapt and adjust with Bryce Love not healthy, the Cardinal rallied back after a rough midseason to win four straight including a bowl win over Pitt. It wasn’t pretty, but 9-4 is 9-4.

36. Turner Gill, Liberty

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 6-6

Liberty finished with six wins in its first year in the FBS – that’s good no matter what. If the Flames went 3-9, would that have been a shocker? There were some real wins – beating Troy was stunning – as Gill put the pieces in place for the Hugh Freeze era.

35. Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 93
2018 Record: 10-3

After taking over midway through last season and breathing life into the team, he came up with a fantastic 2018. They might have lost to ULM and Troy to miss out on playing for the Sun Belt title, but the other loss was at Clemson. Winning ten games with a bowl victory was fantastic.

34. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 8-5

He didn’t win the bowl game. His first season was terrific – and defense was amazing – considering the goal was to keep it all going after Dan Mullen left for Florida, but Mullen was great in bowl games. Yeah, Moorhead got the win over Ole Miss, and the victories over Texas A&M and Auburn were great, but the Bulldogs closed 5-5 … and lost to a lesser Iowa team in the Outback Bowl.

33. Matt Canada, Maryland

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 5-7

Thrown into a horrible situation, his team rose up in the opener to beat Texas, and it came within a completed pass of beating Ohio State. There were several clunkers, and the team lost five of the last six games to miss out on a bowl, but all things considered, he did a fantastic job.

32. Neal Brown, Troy

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 20
2018 Record: 10-3

It was another great season, there was a road win over Nebraska, and the bowl win was nice, but the Trojans didn’t play for the Sun Belt title. Brown might have been good enough to go get the West Virginia job, but his offense was inconsistent late, and the team needed to beat Appalachian State in the regular season finale, and didn’t.

31. Butch Davis, FIU

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 41
2018 Record: 9-4

Davis not only kept is all going, but he made the program even stronger and better with a bowl win. His team got rocked by Florida Atlantic, and it missed out on playing for the Conference USA title with a loss at home to Marshall, but it was still another strong coaching performance.

30. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 54
2018 Record: 10-3

It’s totally not fair, but it’s the deal as the Michigan head man. His team rolled Michigan State, destroyed Penn State, and was a dominant 10-1 with a brick wall of a defense on the way to the Big Ten title and College Football Pla … oops. Ohio State 62, Michigan 39. Florida 41, Michigan 15. That’s what everyone will remember.

29. Mike Norvell, Memphis

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 34
2018 Record: 8-6

He lost a slew of the stars from his 2017 team, and yet he still got it back to the Conference USA Championship. The offense was still amazing – especially on the ground – battling hard in two losses to UCF and a bowl firefight to Wake Forest.

28. Herm Edwards, Arizona State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 7-6

Remember, the Sun Devils were supposed to sputter and cough against a rough-looking schedule. It might have been a down year in the Pac-12 South, but whatever. Edwards set a great tone, beat Arizona, and got ASU to a bowl. Compared to UCLA and Arizona, he had an amazing year.

27. Matt Campbell, Iowa State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 7
2018 Record: 8-5

Having a good 2017 was amazing, but this year showed the staying power. The season started out 1-3, Campbell made the move to a new quarterback – Brock Purdy – and kaboom. This isn’t damning with faint praise to say it’s Iowa State. It’s not supposed to be a player in the Big 12, and Campbell has turned it into one.

26. Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 42
2018 Record: 11-2

His Mountaineers couldn’t hold down Penn State late, and couldn’t stop the Georgia Southern option. That was it in a Sun Belt championship season. There weren’t any amazing wins, but there was little to no drama, too, with a defense that allowed fewer than 20 points in all 11 wins. Now he’s off to Louisville.

NEXT: 2018 Coach Season Rankings: No. 11-25


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