Friday, June 20, 2008

Is There A Statistical Way to Rank College Coaches?

I was approached recently by a fellow blogger about a coaching ranking system using recruiting, player development, game day coaching, and program control as the criteria. Each category was assigned a different weight with recruiting given the most and program control the least. I find it very hard to rate coaches who have less than 2 years experience at a head job in the conference, but I went on past experience if I had to.

1. Recruiting (weight = x2)
The life blood of any program. Putting the best team on the field is the best way to give your team the chance to win. If the cupboards are always stocked with Parade All-Americans, it won’t be long before all the right breaks come your way and you’re knockin on the door. This is purely a subjective ranking, if you wanna take into account the fact that it’s harder to recruit at Vandy and Wake than it is as USC and FSU, that’s your prerogative. There is no wrong answer.

2. Player Development (weight = x1½)
What good is a 5-star recruit if he washes out of the program? Or doesn’t qualify? That could have been a roster spot for a hard working 3-star kid who wanted to prove himself. Does the coach have a rep of coaching players up into draft picks or is it a school where Signing Bonuses go to die? Recruits are keenly aware of this, and long term trends can either be a big drag or a nice boost to a recruiting base.

3. Gameday Coaching (weight = x1)
Sometimes is doesn’t matter who has the better team, someone is just gonna get flat out-coached. Weather it’s the perfect opening strategy or masterful halftime adjustments, what’s between a coach’s ears can make up for a lot of what may be missing between the hash marks. Game planning to fit both your own and your opponent’s personnel is key. It’s tough to make a career outta always bringing a knife to a gun fight player-wise, but if a team has the edge on the sidelines, it can usually chalk up an extra W or 2 per year. Being on the short end can just as easily mean another couple of L’s despite a talented roster.

4. Program Control (weight = x½)
Everyone wants to see their school’s players on Sportscenter, just not as a mugshot…Still winning is winning, and as long as the championships keep rolling in they can attend all the ‘super-special’ Dillard’s and Foot Locker sales they can stand. This only appears on here in so far as that no program wants the dreaded Death Penalty. If a school gets in enough hot water, it can be a Sword of Damocles that may scare off potential recruits.

Here is how I rated the ACC & SEC

1. Nick Saban

2. Urban Meyer
3. Mark Richt
4. Les Miles
5. Tommy Tubberville
6. Phil Fulmer
7. Bobby Petrino
8. Steve Spurrier
9. Houston Nutt
10. Rich Brooks
11. Sly Croom
12. Bobby Johnson
Most every coach in the SEC is a great recruiter... you have to be if you want your job for very long. I put Saban, Meyer, and Richt at the top because of what they have done over the last 3-4 seasons is up there with anyone in the country. I like Croom and Johnson as good recruiters, but they cannot bring in near the same level of talent as the rest of the SEC.

1. Sly Croom
2. Urban Meyer
3. Mark Richt
4. Tommy Tubberville
5. Nick Saban
6. Steve Spurrier
7. Les Miles
8. Rich Brooks
9. Bobby Petrino
10. Bobby Johnson
11. Houston Nutt
12. Phil Fulmer
For player development, I rate those who get the most of the players highest. I think Sly Croom has done an excellent job here taking MSU to a bowl last year. I don't necessarily think Fulmer is a bad developer, but some of his talent has not lived up to they hype and he is doesn't strike me as great instructor.

1. Steve Spurrier
2. Les Miles
3. Mark Richt
4. Urban Meyer
5. Bobby Petrino
6. Nick Saban
7. Tommy Tubberville
8. Phil Fulmer
9. Sly Croom
10. Rich Brooks
11. Bobby Johnson
12. Houston Nutt
If I have two weeks to prepare for a tough opponent, the guy I want is still Steve Spurrier. He did last year against Georgia in a game they had no business winning. Houston Nutt royally screwed up that QB position two years ago in Arkansas.

1. Sly Croom
2. Bobby Johnson
3. Bobby Petrino
4. Rich Brooks
5. Tommy Tubberville
6. Nick Saban
7. Houston Nutt
8. Mark Richt
9. Les Miles
10. Urban Meyer
11. Steve Spurrier
12. Phil Fulmer
Honestly, I don't think any coach in the SEC can keep their players off their police blotter, but some are worse than others. South Carolina and Tennessee get the lower end due their recent run ins with the law.


1. Randy Shannon
2. Bobby Bowden
3. Tommy Bowden
4. Frank Beamer
5. Butch Davis
6. Al Groh
7. Paul Johnson
8. Jeff Jagodzinski
9. Jim Grobe
10. Tom Obrien
11. Ralph Freidgen
12. David Cutcliffe
I ranked Shannon #1 based on the two classes he has brought in so far. Bobby at #2 is more so because of his past but he can still recruit. Butch Davis #5 is mostly from his Miami days.

1. Jim Grobe
2. Paul Johnson
3. David Cutcliffe
4. Jeff Jagodzinksi
5. Frank Beamer
6. Ralph Friedgen
7. Tom Obrien
8. Bobby Bowden
9. Butch Davis
10. Tommy Bowden
11. Al Groh
12. Randy Shannon
Grobe winning the ACC is nothing short of a miracle. Paul Johnson took Navy took to 5 straight bowls…at Navy.

1. Paul Johnson
2. Jim Grobe
3. David Cutcliffe
4. Frank Beamer
5. Bobby Bowden
6. Jeff Jagodzinski
7. Ralph Friedgen
8. Butch Davis
9. Tom Obrien
10. Al Groh
11. Tommy Bowden
12. Randy Shannon
I think the top 3 are some of the best offensive minds in college football and you don't want to face them on their good day. They just lack talent sometimes.

1. Jeff Jagodzinski
2. Paul Johnson
3. Jim Grobe
4. Randy Shannon
5. David Cutcliffe
6. Frank Beamer (edit)
7. Tom Obrien
8. Ralph Freidgen
9. Tommy Bowden
10. Butch Davis
11. Al Groh
12. Bobby Bowden
I don't think any program is way on or off kilter here so this was the toughest to rank.

Let me know what you think of my rankings!

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