College Football Head Coaches: Ranking All 130 Seasons 2019

College Football Head Coaches: Ranking All 130 Seasons 2019

Coach Hot Seat

College Football Head Coaches: Ranking All 130 Seasons 2019


10. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 75
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 1
2019 Record: 8-5

The guy lost his heart-and-soul guys – Benny Snell and Josh Allen – from the great 2018 team. He lost starting quarterback Terry Wilson almost right out of the gate, had to reconfigure things after having issues getting the offense going, and his team still rolled up an eight-win season with five wins in the last six games with a wide receiver playing quarterback as, effectively, a running back. His team overcame the in-season adversity and blew out rival Louisville, won the Belk Bowl over Virginia Tech.

9. Ryan Day, Ohio State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2019 Record: 13-1

Granted, he had more talent to work with than just about anyone else, but give him credit for seemlessly doing a masterful job of taking over for one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football. There were some mistakes in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson, but was there the slightest blip over the first 13 games? Not really.

Did he blowout Michigan? Did he win the Big Ten Championship and get to the College Football Playoff? He did everything an Ohio State head coach is supposed to do except win the national title. However, he looked like a head man who’ll change that up soon.

8. Troy Calhoun, Air Force

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 89
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 89
2019 Record: 11-2

After two straight losing seasons … boom. His Air Force team was able to put it all together with a brilliant season that beat Colorado on the road, rolled past Hawaii on the road, and was strong enough to come up with an 11-win season with a ten-point Cheez-It Bowl win over Washington State. This was Air Force football at its best, and all without the recruiting talent of most of several other teams on the slate.

7. Scott Satterfield, Louisville

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 42 (with Appalachian State)
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 26 (with Appalachian State)
2019 Record: 8-5

Just when it seemed like the Louisville program was going to need years to be overhauled, in came Satterfield and everything changed. There were a few rocky moments, and it’s still going to take a little bit to be any sort of a challenger to Clemson’s throne in the ACC world, but it was a fun rebound year. The offense looked great, the team got to eight wins, and it pulled off a Music Bowl win over Mississippi State.

6. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 57
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 108
2019 Record: 11-2

It can’t be repeated enough – the service academies are operating without anywhere near the talent level or the depth of the other FBS programs. Navy had plenty of great players, but there weren’t a whole lot of guys who’d start at other places.

After a rough 2018, Niumatalolo and his staff geared it back up, figured out that Malcolm Perry should be at quarterback and should run over and over and over again, and it all came together with an 11-win season, a win over Army, and a victory over a Kansas State team that should’ve been able to stop the Midshipmen, but couldn’t.

5. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 6
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 3
2019 Record: 14-1

It took an LSU team that ended up with – arguably – the greatest season in college football history to take down Dabo’s defending national champion. To be fair, Clemson played a whole lot of fluff without a really good win on the way to the ACC Championship, but his team got better and better as the year went on, it was laser-focused, and it got by a fantastic Ohio State team to get to the national title game.

Remember, he did it in a wee bit of a rebuilding year, replacing just about everyone off a historically great defensive front.

4. Sean Lewis, Kent State

2017 Final Coach Ranking: Not Ranked
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 91
2019 Record: 7-6

Anyone can coach at one of the big schools. What did Lewis pulled off was miraculous. After a 3-6 start and the season falling into the abyss, he and his staff pushed every right button in one of college football’s best comeback wins of the season. His Golden Flashes pushed past Buffalo in a 30-27 thriller, won the final two games to get bowl eligible, and took down future NFL starting QB Jordan Love and Utah State in the Frisco Bowl for the first bowl win in the program’s history.

3. PJ Fleck, Minnesota

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 90
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 47
2019 Record: 11-2

Granted, it’s not like the Gophers dealt with anything scary in non-conference play, and Illinois and Georgia Southern were the only opponents in the first nine games to go bowling, but it was Minnesota’s greatest season in over 50 years.

Fleck’s team came through to give Penn State one of its two losses, was in the playoff and Big Ten title chase down to the last week, and even with losses to Iowa and Wisconsin, everything ended up great with a shocking Outback Bowl win over Auburn.

2. Matt Rhule, Baylor

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 129
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 15
2019 Record: 11-3

Baylor was supposed to be good, but to get within an overtime of going to the College Football Playoff? Rhule made it pay off with a massive deal to be the Carolina Panther head coach – and Baylor did just fine getting LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda – as he turned the program around with a special 11-win season.

Granted, there wasn’t an adjustment needed to hold off Oklahoma in the first meeting – a 34-31 Sooner win – but the Bears went to the Big 12 Championship and the Sugar Bowl. He had a huge season.

1. Ed Orgeron, LSU

2017 Final Coach Ranking: 45
2018 Final Coach Ranking: 7
2019 Record: 15-0

His assistants might have received most of the credit, but Orgeron is an elite recruiter, phenomenal line coach, and was a perfect figurehead for one of the greatest seasons of all-time.

It wasn’t just a 15-0 national championship season; it was a dominant one with road wins at Alabama and Texas, and victories over Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, Georgia, Oklahoma, and of course, for the whole ball of wax against Clemson. Orgeron was the tone-setter … “Geaux Tigers.”

2019 Roundup: 5 Things We Learned
Final Grades For Every Team
Biggest Surprises, Disappointments
Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season
Bowl Grades For Ever Team, Conference
– CFN Final Rankings Opinion | Season
2020 First-Guess Top 25


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