Who is the best coach in college football today?

November 23, 2010

Petersen wins lottery

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

Naming the best active coach in college football is a good way to start a bar fight. So, I'm going to throw my top-name ping-pong balls into a hopper and randomly pick Boise State coach Chris Petersen.

The longevity/division balls are Division III legend John Gagliardi of St. John's in Minnesota, who is the all-time winningest coach with 478 victories. Then I'm tossing in Joe Paterno of Penn State and two of the best active coaches up to August: Urban Meyer (Florida) and Mack Brown (Texas), who since have combined for 10 losses. Then I'm throwing in the best current coaches: Petersen, Nick Saban (Alabama), Gene Chizik (Auburn), Jim Tressel (Ohio State) and Gary Patterson (TCU).

Then I'm reaching into the hopper and, lookie here, it's Coach Pete. Boise State was good before Petersen arrived, but he has gone 59-4 and upgraded a former JC from a gadget, trick-play program into a powerhouse.

cdufresne@tribune.com

Saban wins this process

Andrew Carter

Orlando Sentinel

You can make good arguments for the likes of Bob Stoops and Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer and Mack Brown. And clearly those coaches have separated themselves. It'd be difficult to argue with anyone, though, who insists the best coach in the country is Nick Saban.

He certainly is not the most personable guy, and his controlling nature never will make him a media favorite.

But in less than four seasons, Saban has made a previously mediocre program at Alabama into one of the best in the nation. If he remains in Tuscaloosa — and who knows how long he will? — the Crimson Tide more often than not will enter the season in the national title conversation. Saban's oft-talked about "process" leads to clear results.

acarter@tribune.com

More cowbell for Tressel

Mark Wogenrich

The Morning Call

Bruce Dickinson put on his pants one leg at a time. Except, once his pants were on, he made gold records.

I'm reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit (needs more cowbell, right Christopher Walken?) when people deride Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. He puts on his vest, then wins Big Ten titles.

Tressel on Saturday can lead the Buckeyes to a share of their sixth consecutive conference championship, not to mention a 9-1 record against Michigan.

Of course, Ohio State's financial advantages are significant. Still, Tressel handles the pressure of doing a lot more with a lot more with calm aplomb.

A win over Michigan would give Tressel his eighth 10-win season in 10 years at Ohio State. He's headed to a BCS bowl for the eighth time.

He's on an extremely short list of coaches who conceivably could win more games than Joe Paterno.

Give the vest more cowbell.

mwogenrich@tribune.com

Tressel just wins, baby

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

A year ago, Pete Carroll would have gotten my vote. But then, like Reggie Bush, he took the money and ran.

So my nod goes to Jim Tressel. A victory over Michigan on Saturday will give Ohio State at least a piece of the Big Ten title for a sixth consecutive season. That has been accomplished only once before, by the Woody Hayes-led Buckeyes from 1972-77.

Based on that, you might think Ohio State is an easy job. And it's true the Buckeyes lose top in-state recruits to Ohio U and Cincinnati as often as Tressel wears a baseball cap. But Tressel's predecessor, John Cooper, won or shared just three conference titles in 13 seasons.

Tressel, a master of adjusting his offense to match his personnel, will make it 7-for-10 on Saturday.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

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