The college football coaching carosuel is upon us. It’s time to pick up the microscope and dive into how every single college football coach performed this year. Unfortunately for us, it’s a more diffcult process than you think. Sure, you can look at wins and losses and judge how a coach performed that season and come away with a pretty good overall opinion.

For example, you can look at a team like Arkansas who were trying to incorporate a new head coach this season. I had the Razorbacks pegged as a 7-win team before the season started. They finished 2-10 overall and were one of the most disappointing teams in college football and when you break out the microscope, you can REALLY see just how bad of a job Chad Morris did this year.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have a team like Syracuse. I had Syracuse as a 3-win team this year and they were shockingly one of the best teams in the ACC. Why? Because Dino Babers had a major effect on his team this year and it showed on the field. That’s what it’s all about right? COACH EFFECT!

Dave Bartoo “The College Football Matrix” has put together a “coach effect grading system” that I found to be pretty foolproof the last few years. It’s a very intelligent way to break down exactly how much effect a coach has on his team every single game and he has perfected it tremendously. Every year we get a new coach who’s sitting on the wrong side of his coach effect rankings who looks like a dead man walking (former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich was consistently on top of Bartoo’s rankings for example).

Coach effect is a stat that should be more popular amongst football fans, but it’s also not without it’s flaws. When you look at the list this year, guys like Dino Babers, Kyle Whittingham, & Bronco Mendenhall sit atop ahead of guys like Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, etc. That doesn’t mean those guys are better coaches than the guys they are ranked ahead of, it just means they have more of an effect on the games this season. Babers & Whittingham are working with less talented players than guys like Saban and Swinney are so coach effect plays way more of an important role when breaking down exactly how good a coach did with what he has on his plate.

Get it? Does it all make sense now? I hope so.

So anyway, I went ahead and ranked every single coach by conference according to the coach effect they had on their teams this year. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone to see teams that underperformed this season to have coaches near the bottom of the rankings.

If you’re a college football team that has an opening, I would highly recommend hiring one of the guys who currently sit at the top of this list though.



  1. Mark Stoops (Kentucky Wildcats)
  2. Derek Mason (Vanderbilt Commodores)
  3. Barry Odom (Missouri Tigers)
  4. Dan Mullen (Florida Gators)
  5. Ed Orgeron (LSU Tigers)
  6. Kirby Smart (Georgia Bulldogs)
  7. Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State Bulldogs)
  8. Nick Saban (Alabama Crimson Tide)
  9. Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M Aggies)
  10. Will Muschamp (South Carolina Gamecocks)
  11. Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee Volunteers)
  12. Matt Luke (Ole Miss Rebels)
  13. Gus Malzahn (Auburn Tigers)
  14. Chad Morris (Arkansas Razorbacks)

BIG 10

  1. Jeff Brohm (Purdue Boilermakers)
  2. Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern Wildcats)
  3. Jim Harbaugh (Michigan Wolverines)
  4. Tom Allen (Indiana Hoosiers)
  5. P.J. Fleck (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
  6. James Franklin (Penn State Nittany Lions)
  7. Lovie Smith (Illinois Fighting Illini)
  8. Matt Canada (Maryland Terrapins)
  9. Mark D’antonio (Michigan State Spartans)
  10. Urban Meyer (Ohio State Buckeyes)
  11. Paul Chryst (Wisconsin Badgers)
  12. Chris Ash (Rutgers Scarlet Knights)
  13. Kirk Ferentz (Iowa Hawkeyes)
  14. Scott Frost (Nebraska Cornhuskers)

PAC 12

  1. Kyle Whittingham (Utah Utes)
  2. Justin Wilcox (California Golden Bears)
  3. Mike Leach (Washington State Cougars)
  4. Mike MacIntyre (Colorado Buffaloes)
  5. David Shaw (Stanford Cardinal)
  6. Jonathan Smith (Oregon State Beavers)
  7. Chris Petersen (Washington Huskies)
  8. Kevin Sumlin (Arizona Wildcats)
  9. Herm Edwards (Arizona State Sun Devils)
  10. Clay Helton (USC Trojans)
  11. Mario Cristobal (Oregon Ducks)
  12. Chip Kelly (UCLA Bruins)

BIG 12

  1. Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia Mountaineers)
  2. Matt Campbell (Iowa State Cyclones)
  3. Paul Beatty (Kansas Jayhawks)
  4. Bill Snyder (Kansas State Wildcats)
  5. Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech Red Raiders)
  6. Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma Sooners)
  7. Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State Cowboys)
  8. Matt Rhule (Baylor Bears)
  9. Gary Patterson (TCU Horned Frogs)
  10. Tom Herman (Texas Longhorns)


  1. Dino Babers (Syracuse Orange)
  2. Steve Addazio (Boston College Eagles)
  3. Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia Cavaliers)
  4. David Cutcliffe (Duke Blue Devils)
  5. Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets)
  6. Dabo Swinney (Clemson Tigers)
  7. Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh Panthers)
  8. Dave Clawson (Wake Forest Demon Deacons)
  9. Dave Doeren (N.C. State Wolfpack)
  10. Justin Fuentes (Virginia Tech Hokies)
  11. Willie Taggart (Florida State Seminoles)
  12. Mark Richt (Miami Hurricanes)
  13. Bobby Petrino (Lousiville Cardinals)
  14. Larry Fedora (North Carolina Tar Heels)


  1. Jeff Monken (Army Black Knights)
  2. Brian Kelly (Notre Dame Fighting Irish)
  3. Mark Whipple (UMass Minutemen)
  4. Doug Martin (New Mexico State Aggies)
  5. Kalani Sitake (BYU Cougars)


  1. Willie Fritz (Tulane Green Wave)
  2. Josh Heupel (UCF Knights)
  3. Geoff Collins (Temple Owls)
  4. Charlie Strong (USF Bulls)
  5. Sonny Dykes (SMU Mustangs)
  6. Ken Niumatalolo (Navy Midshipmen)
  7. Scottie Montgomery (East Carolina Pirates)
  8. Major Applewhite (Houston Cougars)
  9. Luke Fickell (Cincinnati Bearcats)
  10. Randy Edsall (UConn Huskies)
  11. Phillip Montgomery (Tulsa Golden Hurricane)
  12. Mike Norvell (Memphis Tigers)


  1. Jay Norvell (Nevada Wolfpack)
  2. Craig Bohl (Wyoming Cowboys)
  3. Troy Calhoun (Air Force Falcons)
  4. Matt Wells (Utah State Aggies)
  5. Jeff Tedford (Fresno State Bulldogs)
  6. Bob Davie (New Mexico Lobos)
  7. Rocky Long (San Diego State Aztecs)
  8. Brian Harsin (Boise State Broncos)
  9. Tony Sanchez (UNLV Rebels)
  10. Nick Rolovich (Hawaii Warriors)
  11. Brian Brennan (San Jose State Spartans)
  12. Mike Bobo (Colorado State Rams)


  1. Jeff Leipold (Buffalo Bulls)
  2. Chris Creighton (Eastern Michigan Eagles)
  3. Terry Bowden (Akron Zips)
  4. Frank Solich (Ohio Bobcats)
  5. Rod Carey (Northern Illinois Huskies)
  6. Chuck Martin (Miami Redhawks)
  7. Sean Lewis (Kent State Golden Flashes)
  8. Mike Neu (Ball State Cardinals)
  9. Jason Candle (Toledo Rockets)
  10. Mike Jinks (Bowling Green Falcons)
  11. Tim Lester (Western Michigan Broncos)
  12. John Bonamego (Central Michigan Chippewas)


  1. Brad Lambert (Charlotte 49ers)
  2. Butch Davis (FIU Panthers)
  3. Bill Clark (UAB Blazers)
  4. Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders)
  5. Bobby Wilder (Old Dominion Monarchs)
  6. Skip Holtz (Louisiana Tech Bulldogs)
  7. Seth Littrell (North Texas Mean Green)
  8. Dana Dimel (UTEP Miners)
  9. Doc Holliday (Marshall Thundering Herd)
  10. Mike Bloomgren (Rice Owls)
  11. Frank Wilson (UTSA Roadrunners)
  12. Lane Kiffin (FAU Owls)
  13. Jay Hopson (Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles)
  14. Mike Sanford (WKU Hilltoppers)


  1. Matt Viator (ULM Warhawks)
  2. Neal Brown (Troy Trojans)
  3. Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State Mountaineers)
  4. Billy Napier (ULL Ragin Cajuns)
  5. Steve Campbell (South Alabama Jaguars)
  6. Blake Anderson (Arkansas State Red Wolves)
  7. Shawn Elliott (Georgia State Panthers)
  8. Everett Withers (Texas State Bobcats)
  9. Tyson Summers (Georgia Southern Eagles)