The Big Ten currently sits atop the college football world after Ohio State won the national championship, and it has the most intrigue heading into next season with Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh. All of the success of the Big Ten can be attributed to the numerous amazing coaches in the conference...but who's the best of the best?
14) Darrell Hazell, Purdue Boilermakers
Hazell’s is just 4-20 in his two seasons as the head man at Purdue, and he needs to show some major progression in 2015 if he wants to keep his job. Hazell had great success in his two seasons at Kent State, but that hasn't translated to the Boilermakers yet.
13) Kevin Wilson, Indiana Hoosiers
Wilson has yet to post a winning season in his four years with the Hoosiers, though they are making progress. It's tough to find wins in a division with Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State, and while Indiana has been competitive, Wilson needs to start showing results.
12) Tim Beckman, Illinois Fighting Illini
Beckman went just 6-18 during his first two years at Illinois, but he doubled his win total in 2014 with a 6-7 campaign that ended in a loss to Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Illini now need to take another step forward and post a winning record to Beckman to move up this list.
11) Randy Edsall, Maryland Terrapins
Edsall's stint at Maryland has been largely derailed by injuries, but he hasn't been able to make much progress at all with the Terps. Maryland found themselves ranked in the top 25 last year, but a lack of success against good teams really hurt them. Edsall needs to take Maryland to that next level soon or he may be looking for a job.
10) Kyle Flood, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Flood has led Rutgers to bowl games in all three of his seasons as Rutgers' head coach, including an 8-5 mark in 2014. He's clearly separated himself from the names below him on this list, but he needs to break through to the nine wins threshold to really make a name for himself.
9) Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Hawkeyes
Ferentz is the longest-tenured Big Ten coach, entering his 17th season as the head man for the Hawkeyes, but he hasn't had much success in recent years. Iowa hasn't won the Big Ten since 2004, haven't had more than eight wins since 2009, and haven't won a bowl game since 2010. All of that has put a damper on Ferentz's job security, and he needs to find a way to get Iowa back to being competitive in the conference sooner rather than later.
8 ) Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern was on the verge of becoming one of the Big Ten's top teams two years ago, but have since fallen into mediocrity. Fitzgerald's bunch went just 5-7 last season, and while he has had a lot of success at the toughest job in the conference, Wildcats fans are waiting for him to show progression instead of regression.
7) Paul Chryst, Wisconsin Badgers
Chyrst served as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator from 2005-2011 before leaving to become the head coach at Pitt. However, he’s been the epitome of mediocrity with the Panthers, coaching them to a 19-19 record during his three seasons there. While he hasn’t had a ton of success as a head coach, he now is back at Wisconsin, which has considerably more talent. He'll have a chance to move up the list if he does well in his first year in Madison.
6) Mike Riley, Nebraska Cornhuskers
Another coach entering his first year at a new school, Riley had some success at one of the nation's toughest jobs at Oregon State. Now that he has all of the resources of a big-time program, Nebraska should see some progression.
5) Jerry Kill, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Kill has absolutely resurrected Minnesota's program, nearly leading them to the Big Ten title game in just his fourth year on the job. The Gophers are now poised to take another step forward in 2015, and Kill is the biggest reason why.
4) James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions
Franklin struggled in the Big Ten in his first year while dealing with Penn State's depleted roster, but he still managed to lead the Nittany Lions to a bowl game. Now that he's had a year to implement his system and bring in some of his own players, Penn State should take another step forward in 2015.
3) Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines
Harbaugh could easily be No. 2 on this list, but we're putting him at No. 3 for now until we see what he can do at Michigan. He turned Stanford into one of the Pac-12's best teams before turning the San Francisco 49ers into perennial Super Bowl contenders, and many think it's only a matter of time until he turns Michigan into a national power again.
2) Mark Dantonio, Michigan State Spartans
Dantonio has turned the Michigan State program into one of the premier programs in the country. The Spartans are coming off of a Cotton Bowl victory, and many think they're not only a threat to win the Big Ten, but to win the national title in 2015.
1) Urban Meyer, Ohio State Buckeyes
The only member of this list to take three schools in three different conferences to a Top-5 finish, Meyer boasts a dizzying 142-26 overall record with three national championship rings – two from his time at Florida, and one at Ohio State.
Ohio State has a perfect 24-0 record in the Big Ten since Meyer came to Columbus in 2012, and that’s no accident – whether he’s on the recruiting trail, in the film room or pacing the sideline, Meyer has dominated the conference.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed