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    Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Ranking the coaches - Big Ten
    Analyzing the coaching situations in each conference

    By Richard Cirminiello

    Best Coach – Kirk Ferentz, Iowa and Jim Tressel, Ohio State – Ferentz and Tressel are two of the game’s best teachers and a pair of coaches that have elevated their programs to new heights in the last five years. Ferentz is a steady leader and a Bill Belichick disciple, who’s quickly earning a reputation as one of the five college coaches in America. Absolutely no one does a better job of taking average high school players and molding them into NFL-ready athletes. Tressel’s five-year record in Columbus speaks for itself. He’s already 50-13 with three Fiesta Bowl victories, one national championship and a 4-1 mark against rival Michigan. He’s brought the swagger back to Ohio State that had been waning in the two years before his arrival.

    Most Underrated – Randy Walker, Northwestern – Realizing that all things in sports are relative, Walker has quietly done a very solid job at Northwestern, a school with a limited tradition of success on the gridiron. In a seven-year span, the ‘Cats have been surprisingly competitive in the Big Ten and have played in as many bowl games—three—as they had in the previous half century. Despite lacking the talent and depth of all other league programs, Walker’s been able to parlay a fine-tuned spread offense and an old-school work ethic that matches his own into a remarkable 14-10 Big Ten record over the last three years.

    Most Overrated – Glen Mason, Minnesota – Mason has done a nice job making Minnesota a perennial bowl team, but could we be giving him a little too much credit these days? The Gophers have long bulked up on weak out of conference opponents and have yet to get over the mediocrity hump the way Iowa has in recent years. In nine seasons under Mason, Minnesota is 29-7 in September and just 26-40 in October and November, when Texas State and Troy are no longer on the schedule. In some circles, Lloyd Carr is still living off Michigan’s 1997 National Championship. The Wolverines lose at least one game a year they shouldn’t and are too deep to drop three games a year like it’s a bodily function.

    Coach on the Hot Seat – Lloyd Carr, Michigan – Honest, this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to last year’s once-in-a-generation five-loss season. Of course, it didn’t help matters, but there’s been a growing discontent about Carr for years, stemming from six straight seasons of at least three losses, three consecutive bowl defeats and a 1-4 mark against Jim Tressel. Ask Tressel’s predecessor John Cooper how taking it on the chin in the Ohio State-Michigan series can impact job security. Across state, back-to-back five-win seasons, including last year’s second-half collapse, has knocked the bloom off John L. Smith’s rose. He needs to get Michigan State back into the post-season this year.

    Bucking for a Promotion – Randy Walker, Northwestern – In seven years, Walker has beaten every Big Ten team at least once. Imagine what he could do without the academic and talent restraints he faces at Northwestern? He instills a strong sense of discipline in his kids and has made a living out of transforming under-the-radar recruit, such as LB Tim McGarigle and QB Brett Basanez, into integral parts of a winning program. Kirk Ferentz could have his pick of a dozen or so different jobs if he set his sights on leaving Iowa.

    Best Offensive Coordinator –Dave Baldwin, Michigan State – If the Michigan State defense was as effective as the Michigan State offense, the Spartans would be contending for Pasadena every fall. Baldwin does a real nice job of the spreading the field, opening up lanes for the backs and allowing his playmakers to roam free in open space. His offense has averaged 30 points a game in each of the last two seasons and last year’s unit ranked in the Big Ten’s top 3 in both rushing and passing offense.

    Best Defensive Coordinator – Brock Spack, Purdue – At defensive coordinator, the Big Ten has a deep bench, so feel free to anoint Penn State’s Tom Bradley or Iowa’s Norm Parker without being out of line. Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema did well to team up veteran Mike Hankwitz with up-and-coming Dave Doeren as co-coordinators, and after Jim Heacock debuted so well at Ohio State, it’ll be fun to see how he handles wholesale turnover on his two-deep. For now, however, this is still Spack’s honor to lose. Yeah, even after last year’s defensive collapse by the Boilermakers. Consider it a rare blip for a coach that year-in and year-out takes athletic defenders and transforms them into one of the Big Ten’s stingiest units.

    Not only is Kirk Ferentz one of the best coachs in the Big 10 but he is one of the if not the best in the NCAA!

    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Quote Originally Posted by RamsFan16
    Not only is Kirk Ferentz one of the best coachs in the Big 10 but he is one of the if not the best in the NCAA!
    Your kidding right?

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Quote Originally Posted by rams_fan81
    Your kidding right?
    No I'm not kidding. Why would I? What Kirk has done the the Iowa football program is unbelievable!
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    16 is right, Ferentz is one of the best coaches college football. They always say it's hard to replace a legend, and Ferentz replaced a legend in Hayden Fry and hasn't missed a beat.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Thanks txramsfan. Texas's coach ain't bad either but I have to see Ferentz is better
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Well 16, when Mack Brown took over the Texas job, the UT Football program was in shambles. He righted the ship and won a National Championship and has a mega recruiting class coming to the 40 acres.

    When Ferentz wins a National Championship, THEN compare him to Brown. Until then, he isn't in Mack Brown's class.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Yea but Texas has always had a solid team. Iowa hasn't.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Texas was a dog when Mack Brown took over, as was North Carolina. He developed both schools into contenders while he was there. Ferentz rode Fry's coattails into a great situation and to his credit kept the ship afloat. However, you better start beating Iowa State or Ferentz will be out the door.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    Texas was a dog when Mack Brown took over, as was North Carolina. He developed both schools into contenders while he was there. Ferentz rode Fry's coattails into a great situation and to his credit kept the ship afloat. However, you better start beating Iowa State or Ferentz will be out the door.
    Yea. But Mack Brown always gets 5* prospects while Ferentz doesn't, Ferentz develops them


    No way in heck does Ferentz get fired for not beating Iowa State.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Why do you think Mack gets those prospects? It isn't the 40 acres only because Mack got studs at North Carolina also.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    No. But Texas is a bigger school that is IN TEXAS the biggest football state in the world.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Along with:

    Texas A&M
    Texas Tech
    TCU
    baylor
    houston

    and not to mention this school coming in recruiting:

    Oklahoma

    Give me a break 16. Ferentz is good, but even you as a youngin have to admit Mack Brown is better. If not, GO TO YOUR ROOM.


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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Randy Walker at Northwestern does wonders. That guy is going somewhere else soon. I'd like to see him in the SEC and see what he really can do.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Damn, that was too sad to see Randy Walker die. He was a great coach. BTW, I hope LLoyd Carr gets canned.

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    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoda
    Damn, that was too sad to see Randy Walker die. He was a great coach. BTW, I hope LLoyd Carr gets canned.
    Why, don't you like Lloyd Carr? I love Kirk Ferentz
    RamsFan16

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