5. Dan Mullen, Florida
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Florida 41, Michigan 15
Now that’s how you end a first year at a superpower program. Michigan was supposed to be ready to make a big, giant statement that it really was that good despite the Ohio State game. Instead, it got boat raced by a powerful Gator ground game that ripped off yards in chunks. No turnover, 50% on third downs, 101 more total yards – this was everything Florida fans could’ve asked for.
– 5 Thoughts on the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
4. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
Virginia 28, South Carolina 0
There was a whole lot on the line. Mendenhall’s Cavalier team didn’t get off the bus against Navy in last year’s Military Bowl, making it four bowl losses in a row for him going back to his BYU days. Virginia pitched a defensive gem, the offense hung on to the ball for seemingly the whole game, and the program came up with a potential breakthrough moment.
– 5 Thoughts on the Belk Bowl
3. Jeff Monken, Army
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army 70, Houston 14
It can’t be overstated – Monken is doing this without the recruits and the talent other programs have. The Black Knights get it done with brilliant coaching, the right schemes, and players who execute flawlessly. There was a turnover against Houston. Other than that, 7-for-7 on third downs, 507 rushing yards, 592 yards of total offense, and a embarrassingly dominant 70-14 win.
– 5 Thoughts on the Armed Forces Bowl
2. Tom Herman, Texas
Texas 28, Georgia 21
Yeah, Georgia wasn’t the Georgia of the regular season, and it might have played a bit down after not getting into the College Football Playoff, but so what? The opportunity was there to kick an amazing team’s butt, and Herman’s Longhorns did just that with energy, energy, and more energy.
The offense wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t turn the ball over and dominated the clock, the defense held the Dawgs to under 300 yards, and Herman is now 3-0 all-time in bowls.
– 5 Thoughts on the Sugar Bowl
1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Cotton Bowl & College Football Playoff National Championship
Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3 & Clemson 44, Alabama 16
It took a half for Swinney’s Clemson squad to take out Notre Dame in the Cotton, and then came one of the all-time stunners in college football history. Credit Swinney and his staff – most notably, defensive coordinator Brent Venables – from taking the national championship over from the start and rolling from there.
Alabama looked painfully and woefully unprepared as it managed to go the final 44 minutes without a point against the killer Tiger D. Swinney’s team beat Nick Saban’s team 44-16. That’s talent, but it takes a magical coaching job to do that.
– 5 Thoughts on the CFP National Championship
– 5 Thoughts on the Cotton Bowl