The Big Ten is home to some of the best coaches in college football, but not every coach is among the elite. We're here to separate the best from the worst by power ranking all of the coaches in the conference. This ranking is based on both their current resume and what they could do in the coming years. Basically, there is a bit of projection involved, which is why the newest coaches aren't necessarily at the bottom. Here is how all 14 coaches stack up against each other:
14) Chris Ash, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Ash had great tutelage under Urban Meyer, but his first season as head coach at Rutgers....left much to be desired. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10, including 0-9 in Big Ten play.
13) Tom Allen, Indiana Hoosiers
Allen is taking over as head coach after the Hoosiers fired Kevin Wilson, his first career head coaching job. However, in his first year as Indiana's defensive coordinator in 2016, he took them from 120th in total defense to 35th.
12) Tracy Claeys, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Claeys led Minnesota to an 8-4 record in his first full season as head coach, but when your team decided boycotting all football activities, it seems like you don't have total control of your team. How Minnesota performs next year will tell us a lot about Claeys' ability.
11) Jeff Brohm, Purdue Boilermakers
Brohm is coming to Purdue after a successful stint at Western Kentucky. Turning Purdue around is an extremely tough task, yet back-to-back Conference USA titles are enough to put him at 11 on our list.
10) D.J. Durkin, Maryland Terrapins
Durkin led Maryland to a 6-6 mark and a berth in the Quick Lane Bowl in his first year at the helm, and the future is looking bright in College Park thanks to his excellent recruiting efforts.
9) Paul Chryst, Wisconsin Badgers
After going 19-19 in three years at Pitt, Chryst has led Wisconsin to two straight 10-3 seasons, keeping the program among the conference's elite.
8) Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Wildcats
Fitzgerald doesn't always have a lot to work with at Northwestern, though that hasn't stopped him from creating a well-respected program. He also always finds a way to get the most out of his players, going 76–62 in 11 seasons at the school.
7) Mike Riley, Nebraska Cornhuskers
After a disappointing 6-7 mark in his first season in Lincoln, Riley led the Huskers to a 9-3 mark this season and appears to have this program on the come up with a top 30 recruiting class.
6) Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Hawkeyes
Ferentz just led Iowa to a 8-4 record in his 18th season at Iowa, in which he has accumulated a 135–91 record. He has also led the Hawkeyes to five top-10 finishes in his tenure.
5) Lovie Smith, Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois' 3-9 record wasn't great, nor was their 2-7 conference record. That being said, Smith is one of the most prestigious coaches in all of football thanks to his illustrious NFL career. Illinois is a tough job, but we need another season or two to judge how much he has adapted to the college game.
4) James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions
Funny how quickly things can change. Earlier this season, Franklin was on the hot seat - then he led Penn State to the Big Ten championship. After finding success at Vanderbilt, Franklin has shown there is some meat behind his 49-29 record.
3) Mark Dantonio, Michigan State Spartans
This past 3-9 season aside, Dantonio is one of the coaching giants in the sport. The Spartans have won at least 11 games in five of the last seven seasons, and three Big Ten titles. He'll have this program back at the top of the national rankings in no time.
2) Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines
Harbaugh is one of the top three coaches in the entire sport, but he'll have to settle for No. 2 in the conference. He has plenty of accolades from guiding Stanford to an Orange Bowl victory, leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl and now immediately turning the Michigan program around, going 20-5 in two seasons. However, he will not be in the top spot until he wins a championship.
1) Urban Meyer, Ohio State Buckeyes
While the debate in the Big Ten is between Meyer and Harbaugh might be thin, but Meyer can realistically challenge Nick Saban as the best coach in college football. After winning the Fiesta Bowl at Utah and two national championships at Florida, he is 61-5 in five seasons at Ohio State, including an eye-popping 39-2 in Big Ten play. Throw in another championship and another College Football Playoff berth this season, and Meyer is clearly the best coach in the conference.Back to the Big Ten Newsfeed
Related Topics: DJ Durkin, NCAA Football, Big Ten Football, Mike Riley, Jim Harbaugh, Paul Chryst, James Franklin, Kirk Ferentz, Chris Ash, Tracy Cleays, Lovie Smith, Pat Fitzgerald, Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio, Jeff Brohm