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?

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

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25. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 130
2018 Record: 9-4

That’s almost exactly what you wanted to see out of Fisher’s first season. His Aggies almost beat Clemson, pulled off a thriller against LSU, and destroyed NC State in the TaxSlayer Bowl. His team showed signs of what appears to be coming up.

24. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 85
2018 Record: 7-7

Blow off the tough bowl loss to Stanford and the blowout loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship – Pitt got to the ACC Championship. It was a 7-7 year, the Panthers got annihilated by Penn State and UCF, but Narduzzi got a Coastal title. Nothing else matters.

23. Mike Leach, Washington State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 50
2018 Record: 11-2

With the nightmare of the Tyler Hillinski tragedy always top-of-mind, Leach’s team came up with an inspired season. It might have fallen short, but with a retread quarterback in Gardner Minshew, the offense was as high-flying as ever, the defense was great, and in the end, it took a snowstorm – and a great effort from Washington – to keep the Cougars out of the Pac-12 Championship.

22. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 53
2018 Record: 9-4

The team was really, really, really close to doing something amazing. Three of the four losses were by six points or fewer, and the Wisconsin game was close until a late garbage time score. With the win over a much stronger Mississippi State team in the Outback, Ferentz and his team quietly had a strong season.

21. Nick Saban, Alabama

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 10
2018 Record: 14-1

Alabama didn’t win the national championship even though it had the one of the most talented, deepest, rested teams in college football history. At this point, when you’re Nick Saban and you don’t win a national title – and lost it 44-16 with this team – the season is a disaster.

20. Chris Petersen, Washington

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 48
2018 Record: 10-4

His Washington team was supposed to make the College Football Playoff, but it had to settle for a second Pac-12 title in three years and a trip to the Rose Bowl. It’s hard to argue with the overall, top-line resumé results, but … losing to Auburn and to Ohio State once again showed how Washington needs to still do more to be among the true elite.

19. Bill Clark, UAB

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 8
2018 Record: 11-3
2017 was great, and then he did it all one better with a Conference USA championship and Boca Raton Bowl win over Northern Illinois. Yeah, the Blazers fattened up on the weak and the sad, but whatever … the school wasn’t playing football two years ago.

18. Matt Wells, Utah State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 74
2018 Record: 11-2

Okay, so the Aggies beat a fat load of no one – the best win was North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl, which Wells didn’t even coach in – but it was a good enough run to get him the Texas Tech gig. The offense was a blast all season long.

17. Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 105
2018 Record: 11-2

It was supposed to take a year to get up to speed, and then it all kicked in. The Bearcats rolled to 11 wins, blew out UCLA, and took down Virginia Tech in a bowl game. He showed just how good this program can potentially be.

16. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 111
2018 Record: 6-7

So what if it was a losing season? The guy took Vanderbilt – Vanderbilt – bowling. The season appeared to be done after losing six games in eight, but Mason got the win over Ole Miss, and then dominated Tennessee. The team showed up in the Texas Bowl loss to Baylor with a fun, exciting offense.

15. Matt Rhule, Baylor

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 129
2018 Record: 7-6

What, he’s not the New York Jets’ head coach now? He took Baylor from 1-11 to a winning season, pulling off a victory over Texas Tech just to get to the Texas Bowl, and then he won it over Vanderbilt. It was an inconsistent year, but it was a six-win improvement.

14. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 14
2018 Record: 13-1

For all the horrible things that happened in the offseason, the early suspension, and with the inexcusable loss to Purdue, Ohio State won 13 games. It won a Big Ten championship, a Rose Bowl, and ripped out Michigan’s beating heart and stomped all over it. By almost any reasonable measure, it was a great season – but Ohio State didn’t win the national championship or even get to the College Football Playoff.

13. Josh Heupel, UCF

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Record: 12-1

No pressure or anything, newbie. All Heupel had to do was deal with the expectations of a program coming off an unbeaten run. Even with all the slings and arrows coming from the rest of the world – UCF’s social media trolling wrote the check that Heupel had to cash – he went 12-0 in the regular season with an American Athletic Conference title. Remember, he did it without a bunch of the players who made 2017 so special, including – at the end – QB McKenzie Milton.

12. Tom Herman, Texas

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 116
2018 Record: 10-4

No, that wasn’t the same Georgia team that rolled through most of the season, but whatever. Texas just won a second straight bowl under Herman. It beat Oklahoma, and it doesn’t matter that it lost the rematch – it got to the Big 12 Championship. Now the Longhorns are a thing again.

11. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 76
2018 Record: 9-5

It was a down year for the Pac-12 South, and Whittingham showed he was human in the post-season with a bowl loss. But he also lost his starting backfield of QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss, and his Utes still got to the Pac-12 Championship for the first time. Losing to Washington and then in the Holiday Bowl to Northwestern wasn’t good, but this team could’ve gone into the tank, and instead it stepped it up.

NEXT: 2018 Coach Season Rankings: The Top Ten

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