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?


10. Dino Babers, Syracuse

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 86
2018 Record: 10-3

He was just one … fourth … down … stop from beating Clemson for the second year in a row. Even with that loss, Babers made Syracuse football matter again with a ten-win season and a dominant bowl victory over West Virginia. With the attacking defensive style and fun offense, who doesn’t want to play for him?

9. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 5
2018 Record: 12-2

He never got the defense to work. If the Sooners could’ve figured out a way to be a bit more consistent and a bit better on D, they win the national title. For all the possible complaints, though, he won another Big 12 title, he cranked out another Heisman-winning quarterback, and he got back to another College Football Playoff. That’s a pretty good season no matter what.

8. Jeff Tedford, Fresno State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 4
2018 Record: 12-2

Do you remember just how bad this program was two years ago? Now it won 12 games, took down Boise State for the Mountain West title – at Boise State – and beat Arizona State in a bowl game. Throw in the blowout win over UCLA, and the dominance throughout the season, and Tedford had a special 2018.

7. Ed Orgeron, LSU

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 45
2018 Record: 10-3

Orgeron went from being all but fired by everyone writing a preseason Coaches Hot Seat list, to finding a quarterback in Joe Burrow, to shocking Miami in the opener, to beating Auburn at Auburn, to stunning Georgia in a 20-point win, to the totally acceptable loss to Texas A&M on the road in the overtime marathon, to losing most of his defense, to stopping the UCF winning streak in the Fiesta Bowl. He more than proved he could coach up this program.

6. Dan Mullen, Florida

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 23
2018 Record: 10-3

There was a loss to Kentucky for the first time in over 30 years. Other than that, Florida football became relevant again – and fun. Mullen’s first season turned out to be a wild success, getting blowout wins over Tennessee and Florida State on the road, slipping past LSU, and destroying Michigan in the Peach Bowl.

5. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 27
2018 Record: 12-1

The world kept waiting for the piano to fall on Notre Dame’s head, but in game after game, it never did until after Kelly got the school to its first College Football Playoff. The early quarterback change from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book changed the offense, and the team was mentally tough enough to fight through a run of five regular season games away from South Bend in the final seven.

4. Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 21
2018 Record: 9-5

Good luck figuring out how Northwestern won nine games. The Wildcats started out 1-3 with an embarrassing loss to Akron as part of the rough run, but they pulled off an all-timer of a comeback to beat Nebraska, stomped on Wisconsin, and survived at Iowa to win the Big Ten West. Forget the final score – just getting to the Big Ten Championship was special. Beating Utah in the Holiday Bowl sealed the season.

3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 6
2018 Record: 15-0

44-16. It’ll get lost in the history of the 2018 season, but that Alabama team was far, far better than it showed in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Swinney had his squad playing at a whole other level of brilliance to stop what might have been Nick Saban’s best team.

The 15-0 season was nice, but come on – the ACC was awful. Even so, after surviving Syracuse, Swinney’s squad never took a moment off with ten straight ho-hum blowout wins. And why?

The defense was amazing, the young offensive stars took off, and the early season call of Trevor Lawrence over Kelly Bryant at quarterback – remember, that came after a 28-point win over Georgia Tech – couldn’t have worked out better.
Okay, so Clemson was the CFN preseason No. 1 team, and the talent was there for Swinney. But the talent was there for Alabama, too.

2. Jeff Monken, Army

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 1
2018 Record: 11-2

Last year was fantastic, but this year’s team was even more unbelievable.

It has to keep being said over and over and over again – Monken and Army are doing this with a team full of players who would have a hard time seeing the light of day on most Power Five teams. The system keeps on rolling.

It wasn’t just the second double-digit win season in a row; it was one of the program’s best years in its storied history. Beating Navy is always great, pushing Oklahoma to the brink was amazing, and hanging 70 points up on Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl was breathtaking.

For the second year in a row, he did way more with way less than any coach in college football.

1. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 75
2018 Record: 10-3

Kentucky might have gone bowling last year, but absolutely no one outside of the biggest blue die-hards could’ve seen what was coming.

No, it wasn’t an SEC Championship season, but with a limited offense, killer defense, and a gameplan with no margin for error, Stoops put together a masterpiece.

Ten wins, a victory over Florida for the first time since 1986, a 46-point blowout over Louisville, and a Citrus Bowl win over Penn State – it was a special coaching job.


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