In most cases, pretty darn worthless it turns out. The Count of Wall Street Journal fame has run the numbers of the coaches at the major football schools. Rather than looking at won-loss records or conference championships, the Count analyzes exactly how well each coach did against opposing teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at game time. This eliminates stacking of the records against lower division opponents, perennial doormats and the intra-conference weak sisters.
Who is the best college football coach? Not surprisingly, it is the coach of defending National Champions Ohio State – Urban Meyer with a .707 mark. The highly regarded Nick Saban is a piker by comparison with a .597 career average against quality competition. So who is number two? Jimbo Fisher at Florida State has racked up a .666 winning percentage in his 18 games against ranked competition. But really, the oft-maligned Bob Stoops is likely the better coach – coming in batting .649 when going against the big boys in 77 games.
In Texas Gary Patterson at TCU is at the top of the heap with .559 winning percentage in 34 such contests. A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is a respectable second with a .500 mark in his 20 top tier tests. UT’s Charlie Strong (3-6) and Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury (2-7) don’t have enough games (at least 15) to make Red’s list – but neither is trending in the right direction. And you have to wonder at UT’s hiring of Strong when he had an all-time 2-1 record in games against real teams before joining the Longhorns.
Who looks really bad? Wunderkind Mike Leach is a pathetic .236 in 55 games against ranked competition and is fading fast having gone 1-11 at Washington State. Kansas State’s legendary Bill Snyder is more legend than reality with a .278 record in 79 games. Flavor of the Month Art Briles is on similar ground at .286 with all 10 of his wins over Top 25 opponents coming at Baylor. And at the bottom of the heap is Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre who has yet to get on base (.000 in 15 games).
Who is coming on strong? Mark Richt at Georgia racks up considerable numbers by virtue of playing in the SEC and is looking respectable at .535 in 71 games against the Beasts of the Southeast and others. David Shaw sports an impressive .625 mark in his 24 games – all at Stanford. The only other coaches above the .500 mark are Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Les Miles (LSU), Brian Kelly (Notre Mama). Jim Mora (UCLA) and Steve Spurrier (S. Carolina).