Head Coach Rankings: How Good Were All 76 This Bowl Season?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Rankings: How Good Were All 76 This Bowl Season?

Bowls College Football Playoff

Head Coach Rankings: How Good Were All 76 This Bowl Season?


Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season Top 20

20. PJ Fleck, Minnesota

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Minnesota 18, West Virginia 6
It might not have been anything scintillating, but Fleck knew what his team could do, it pitched a terrific game defensively, and his team was well prepared in a somewhat dominant win that was stronger than the final score. Fleck’s team was more than ready for this.

19. Ryan Day, Ohio State

Rose Bowl Game
Ohio State 48, Utah 45
Yeah, Day and the coaching staff had a whole lot more talent to work with than the other side did, but they also had to overcome a few key opt-outs, a wee bit of apathy, and a really, really fired up Utah squad on the other side to win a classic.

18. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Kentucky 20, Iowa 17
Kentucky couldn’t run the ball, the offense stalled too much until the end, and the team found a way. That’s what Kentucky does under this coaching staff. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the team wins.

17. Mike Locksley, Maryland

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Maryland 54, Virginia Tech 10
Who cares that it was a shadow of Virginia Tech’s former self? It was a bowl game, Maryland got there, and Locksley’s team played and executed like it really, really wanted to make a statement. Three penalties, no turnovers, 54 points – it was almost a perfectly clean performance.

16. Blake Anderson, Utah State

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl
Utah State 24, Oregon State 13
The team didn’t play all that well. It struggled to keep things moving, it turned it over three times, it couldn’t run, and … the Mountain West champ beat the Pac-12 team by 11. It was a big statement win to close out Anderson’s first season.

15. Gus Malzahn, UCF

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
UCF 29, Florida 17
Even if it was a full force Florida team, UCF might have had this. It came out jacked to beat the big school up North for the first time ever, and it pulled it off with a strong running game, a great defense, and Malzahn and the staff putting together a terrific plan to get it done.

14. Sam Pittman, Arkansas

Outback Bowl
Arkansas 24, Penn State 10
It was ugly, it was sloppy, it was uneven, and it was a 14-point win over a talented Penn State team that might have been missing some parts, but had enough to pull this off. The Hog defense shut down and shut out the Penn State offense in the second half.

13. Dave Aranda, Baylor

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Baylor 21, Ole Miss 7
The Baylor defense held down the high-powered Rebel attack and closed down hard once Matt Corral went out. Aranda did wonders with a relatively limited – compared to Ole Miss – offensive team.

12. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Cheez-It Bowl
Clemson 20, Iowa State 13
Swinney was seemingly losing all of his coaches, a slew of key players, and it wasn’t a College Football Playoff season, and … the defense held Iowa State to 270 yards and didn’t give up a touchdown until the fourth quarter. A bowl win doesn’t care how it got done.

11. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

Playstation Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State 37, Notre Dame 35
No, his team didn’t come out hot with the great defense getting torched for the first 29 minutes, but the coaching staff certainly figured out how to adjust at halftime. The Cowboys rolled in the second half, Notre Dame couldn’t stop the slide, and they pulled off a terrific win.

Bowl Season Coaching Rankings 
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-76

NEXT: Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season Top 10


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