Allen Kenney argues Big 12 coaches make up for that with their coaching acumen.
There are some notable underperforming teams in there – looking at you, Longhorns. For the most part, however, teams either played up to the potential of their talent or well above it. (Bear in mind that four programs had brand new coaching staffs in place last season, including two underperformers, KU and WVU.)
It’s only natural to compare that to the SEC, the land where recruiting just means more.
How did that compare with the Mecca of college football last season?
Lots of underachieving once you get past the big dogs.
True, but there were a fair number of those big dogs — five in the SP+ top ten, compared with one Big 12 team. Based on the above, Allen reaches the conclusion that, “You could argue that the trend towards doing more with less speaks to the quality of coaching in the Big 12.” He goes on to propose the data shows the Big 12 has the best assemblage of coaching in the P5.
To which I say, eh, maybe, but so what? First of all, I can’t ignore the fact that four SEC coaches were shown the door this offseason. Given what it takes for a head coach to lose his job these days, that’s certainly an indication that some programs were not being managed at the highest level.
Whatever, though, because how can you fully evaluate the job a college head coach does when you exclude recruiting from the equation? Look no further than the Sugar Bowl — even if you are of a mind that Matt Rhule can coach rings around Kirby Smart, Baylor still came up well short against a Georgia squad missing a number of regular season starters that still had more than enough depth on the roster to spare.
There’s only so much scheme can make up for over the course of a season.