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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!

  • #2
    Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

    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?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

      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!

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

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

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

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

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ranking the coaches - Big Ten

                              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

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • RamsFan16
                                Iowa, we're on to you
                                by RamsFan16
                                Iowa, we're on to you
                                Hawkeyes too good to hoodwink nation once again
                                Posted: Wednesday August 3, 2005 10:26AM; Updated: Wednesday August 3, 2005 12:40PM

                                CHICAGO -- For three straight seasons, the Iowa Hawkeyes have won at least 10 games and finished in the top 10 of the final polls, each time after the preseason pollsters declared, in a nutshell, "There's no way can they do it again."

                                No more.

                                Various preview magazines and Web sites (including this one), apparently tired of being duped, have definitively declared the 2005 Hawkeyes to be a preseason top 10 team, in many cases ranking them ahead of Big Ten stalwarts Ohio State and/or Michigan (against whom Iowa has gone 3-2 and shared two of the past three league titles). Hawkeyes receiver Ed Hinkel is a tad perplexed about the timing of such predictions. "If anything, we should probably be lower than we have been in the past," the fifth-year senior said Tuesday at Big Ten media days. "I don't think we're as far ahead now as we've been in the past."

                                Nice try, Ed, but you're not going to be pulling another fast one on us this year. Four new starters on the defensive line, two of whom have to replace All-Americans Matt Roth and Jonathan Babineaux? No proven running back? Injuries and inexperience at safety? Boo hoo. After watching Iowa go 10-2 last season despite losing two of its first four games, including an embarrassing 44-7 blowout at Arizona State, and despite losing a staggering four running backs to season-ending injuries and finishing 116th (out of 117) in the country in rushing offense, it's clear by now that no hurdle is too great for a Kirk Ferentz-coached team to overcome.

                                In fact, each of the past three years has followed virtually the same script in Iowa City. Following a breakthrough, 11-2 season in 2002, the Hawkeyes had to replace Heisman runner-up quarterback Brad Banks, All-America tight end Dallas Clark and four starters off a powerful offensive line. What did they do in 2003? Go conservative on offense, make big plays on defense and special teams and beat Florida in the Outback Bowl to complete a 10-3 season.

                                Last year, same story. Seven new starters on offense, no more Robert Gallery pancaking helpless defensive linemen, no more Bob Sanders making big plays in the secondary. And that was before all the running back injuries. Yet after struggling early, Iowa managed to finish the season on an eight-game winning streak, as first-year QB Drew Tate capped an All-Big Ten season with a game-winning, 56-yard touchdown pass to beat LSU as time expired in the Capital One Bowl.

                                "I really don't know how we did it," Hinkel said of last year's improbable season. "One of our mottos we have posted all over our [football] complex is 'Find A Way.' That's what we did. It wasn't pretty; we weren't really a stats team. The only stat that...
                                -08-10-2005, 06:49 PM
                              • DJRamFan
                                Big 12 preview: No end in sight for North's woes
                                by DJRamFan
                                By Dennis Dodd
                                CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
                                Tell Dennis your opinion!





                                The Big 12 North isn't a division, it's a kennel.

                                You know, a place where all the mutts go.

                                The division's six teams fell just short of making it into Letterman's monologue last year. Colorado was the "champion" and lost by 39 points to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. In inter-divisional play, the North won only three of 19 games against the loaded South. Conference officials are still determining whether those even count. All three were against Baylor.

                                Big 12
                                Predicted Finish
                                North
                                1. Colorado
                                2. Iowa State
                                3. Nebraska
                                4. Kansas State
                                5. Missouri
                                6. Kansas
                                South
                                1. Texas
                                2. Oklahoma
                                3. Texas A&M
                                4. Texas Tech
                                5. Oklahoma State
                                6. Baylor
                                Off. player of year:
                                Vince Young, Texas
                                Def. player of year:
                                Rodrique Wright, Texas
                                Coach of the year:
                                Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
                                Once again, the conference's title game (Dec. 3 in Houston), is expected to be a formality. Texas or Oklahoma will wipe the floor with the North's Last Comic Standing.

                                It wasn't always this way. The league debuted 10 years ago with most of the power concentrated in the North. Nebraska was in the midst of winning three national championships in four years. Kansas won 10 games in 1995. Kansas State was an emerging national power. But while you were in the kitchen getting a sandwich, Big 12 North football became the island of misfit boys.

                                Actually, it took a little longer than that. In the pillow fight that was the Big 12 North race last year, all Iowa State had to do was beat floundering Missouri -- which had lost to Troy -- to win its first race of any kind since tying for the Missouri Valley in 1912. After 92 years, a tap-in right?

                                No, just another case of the yips. Missouri won in overtime, leaving the field feeling somewhat better about a 5-6 train wreck of a season in which its hothead coach needed some anger management and a new offensive coordinator. How dare media ask why Gary Pinkel's offense was able to turn Brad Smith from brilliant scrambling Heisman contender to pocket piñata?

                                Once again, all six teams in the North have a chance to win the division going into 2005. That's kind of the problem. Colorado won it last year as much as the other five didn't.


                                Gary Barnett and the Buffs are the best team in a bad Big 12 North division. (Getty Images)
                                Can the Big 12 North bounce back? The short answer is "no" which, for now, is also the long-term answer. Blame it on Tom Osborne. When T.O. hung it up in December 1997, in retrospect, that sent Nebraska and the North...
                                -08-18-2005, 08:49 PM
                              • DJRamFan
                                Pac-10 preview: Former power Washington begins rebuilding
                                by DJRamFan
                                By Dennis Dodd
                                CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
                                Tell Dennis your opinion!





                                Something to do over beers as the season draws near: Put together a list of the top 10 football factories. You know, the schools that get their very identity from football excellence.

                                Most likely Washington will be in there somewhere.

                                Pac-10
                                Predicted Finish
                                1. Southern Cal
                                2. Arizona State
                                3. California
                                4. Washington State
                                5. UCLA
                                6. Oregon
                                7. Oregon State
                                8. Arizona
                                8. Washington
                                8. Stanford
                                Off. player of year:
                                Reggie Bush, USC
                                Def. player of year:
                                Spencer Havner, UCLA
                                Coach of the year:
                                Pete Carroll, USC
                                What happened to this once-proud program could fill a courtroom. In fact, it has. The unfortunate Rick Neuheisel saga dragged U-Dub down to a point that Tyrone Willingham became the program's third coach in 18 months.

                                The top story in the Pac-10 is Southern California chasing its third consecutive national championship. Right below it might be the plight of Washington. When was the last time the Huskies were picked last in the preseason as they were by media earlier this month?

                                Not surprising, really, when Washington finished 1-10 and winless in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1973 last season. But, still, Washington? The school of Don James, great quarterbacks, Rose Bowls?

                                Fortunately, the Huskies lucked out when Willingham was available. They won't be down for long in a conference that -- pre-USC dynasty -- was fluid (Washington won 11 games as recently as 2000). With less than two months to recruit after being fired, Willingham assembled a serviceable (if small at 13 players) recruiting class.


                                Tyrone Willingham is in Seattle to turn around a Washington program that went 1-10 in 2004. (AP)
                                The Huskies won't be going to any Rose Bowls anytime soon. The fact that four quarterbacks are still in the mix says something about the existing talent. Athletic Isaiah Stanback is thought to be the frontrunner after completing only 34 percent of his passes last year.

                                But the Huskies will be better because they can't get any worse. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer assembled the nation's best defense against the run last year at Notre Dame. The entire front seven return, which, in this case, could be as bad as it is optimistic.

                                The coaching changes, the Neuheisel distraction, the Keith Gilbertson disaster -- it all had a cumulative effect. Washington committed a staggering 42 turnovers last year. That's the second-most in I-A this decade (only Army in 2003 had more).

                                The climb back begins with the luck of the former Irish. Willingham needed a job and Washington provided the opening...
                                -08-17-2005, 08:42 PM
                              • DJRamFan
                                Gundy, Stillwater run deep with optimism for OSU football
                                by DJRamFan
                                Feb. 14, 2005
                                By Dennis Dodd
                                SportsLine.com Senior Writer
                                Tell Dennis your opinion!


                                STILLWATER, Okla. -- This is what a couple of victories over Oklahoma will get you ...


                                Interest from a millionaire donor.
                                Interest in your coach.
                                Interest in getting better?
                                Oklahoma State is in the business of answering that question -- again. It's a common one in Stillwater, where rookie Mike Gundy is the fourth coach since crippling NCAA sanctions tore OSU football apart in 1988.


                                QB Donovan Woods will have the spotlight next year. (Getty Images)
                                Its perpetual starting point is being the other program in the state, seldom dealing from a position of strength. On its own campus, Eddie Sutton consistently fields a top 10 basketball program. OSU football constantly fights for recruits, attention and victories against that national power 90 minutes down the road.

                                Ah, that's where the Cowboys can claim some progress. Quick, name the only school to beat Oklahoma more than once since the beginning of the 2000 season.

                                Yep, Oklahoma State, which has won two of the past four meetings and five of the past 10.

                                "Our staff, in my honest opinion, does a great job of game-planning them," said Gundy, who ascended from offensive coordinator to replace Les Miles on Jan. 3. "We challenge them. We go after them. Some teams go out there and say, 'Let's get this over with.' Our players go right after them."

                                Sooners everywhere have about eight months to let those words soak in. Until then, I-A's youngest coach (Gundy is 37) is brash enough to keep crowing. Miles wasn't shy about the subject while leading the program out of a decade-long malaise before departing for LSU. While his record wasn't spectacular (28-21), his organizational skills and game-planning were outstanding.

                                Ask Oklahoma. A going-nowhere Cowboys team beat the No. 4 Sooners in Norman 16-13 in 2001, Miles' first season. They did it again the next year, winning 38-28 against a team ranked No. 3.

                                Based largely on those two results, LSU swept in and hired Miles, the only coach to guide Oklahoma State to three consecutive bowls. Also based on those victories, Oklahoma State quickly replaced him with Gundy. Millionaire T. Boone Pickens was already on board, having given a combined $200 million to the school and athletic department.

                                Mike Gundy file
                                A brief history of Oklahoma State's new coach:
                                Birthdate: Aug. 12, 1967 (youngest I-A coach)
                                Wife: Kristen
                                Children: Gavin, Gunnar, Gage
                                School: Oklahoma State
                                Playing experience: Four-year starter at quarterback, 1986-89; still holds school career passing record (7,997 yards)
                                Coaching experience: assistant Oklahoma State, 1990-1995; Baylor, 1996; Maryland,...
                                -02-18-2005, 08:48 AM
                              • DJRamFan
                                Rose's dream is Big Ten vs. Pac-10 AND title game
                                by DJRamFan
                                Aug. 5, 2005
                                By Dennis Dodd
                                CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
                                Tell Dennis your opinion!





                                CHICAGO -- There's a unique opportunity for the Pac-10 and Big Ten in 2005. For the second time in BCS history, the Rose Bowl is the site of the national championship game after this season. Assuming that USC is the prohibitive No. 1 favorite going in, that puts the pressure on the Big Ten to make it a 1-2 natural matchup for the national championship.


                                Heisman winner Matt Leinart is expected to lead USC to a Rose Bowl berth. (Getty Images)
                                That's something that hasn't happened in 37 years.

                                It seems amazing the last time the Rose Bowl's anchor teams met while ranked 1-2 in the Associated Poll was Jan. 1, 1969. Ohio State beat USC 27-16. A "rematch" of sorts could be looming, although considering the strength of the Big Ten, Ohio State is in for a battle to win the league. Michigan was named the favorite this week at the Big Ten preseason media days.

                                "Anyone going in against USC would be the underdog," Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "That would be a little bit of motivation, I think."

                                Only twice in history have the 1-2 teams in the AP poll from those conferences met in Pasadena (the other year was 1963). That shows how much fans of both leagues care about such an occurrence. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has said in the past he valued a Rose Bowl berth over a national championship shot.

                                But this year, the stars are aligning for a Big Ten vs. Pac-10 championship game in the shadow of the San Gabriels on Jan. 4. No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 10 Iowa all start the season ranked in the top 10 in the coaches poll. USC, which brings a 22-game winning streak into the season, is led by Heisman winner Matt Leinart.

                                "We definitely want to get there no matter who we're playing, but we'd definitely like to get a shot at USC," Michigan running back Michael Hart said. "Whoever wins the Big Ten this year and goes undefeated, they have no choice but to put you in the national championship game because the Big Ten is so strong this year."

                                There is some recent history. Michigan was the victim 20 months ago when the USC started its championship run with a 28-14 victory over the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl.

                                To say Carr is obsessing over that game might be too strong, but he does remember it. Michigan was trailing only 7-0 in the second quarter when John Navarre's pass hit Braylon Edwards' heel. USC's Lofa Tatupu intercepted and ran it back to the Michigan 3. USC scored easily to make it 14-0.

                                "They got a hell of a break when the ball hit Braylon in the heel," Carr said. "We never got back in it. If you look at the teams (they beat), they get them down, they kill...
                                -08-08-2005, 07:18 AM
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