Another best coaching list, with a twist

PFF’s top 20 coaches list tries a different angle:

These college football head coach rankings are a shoutout to the underdog and the unwanted, a chance to recognize those who might not be in the national spotlight but deserve their moment for clawing their programs up from the depths and steering it toward a new, compelling future.

It’s always difficult to examine coaches through the prism of wins, losses and efficiency rankings. After all, coaches who win a seemingly endless number of games aren’t necessarily good, and those who lose games aren’t necessarily bad.

The opportunity to win games was the biggest factor here. Flying above or below program expectations was the most important point when putting this list together.

Funnily enough, Saban and Swinney top the list.  But check out number three:

3. Kirby Smart, Georgia

Imagine a world in which Kirby Smart is a two-time national champion, one where his team did not blow a 10-point lead to Alabama in the fourth quarter of the 2018 championship game and then a 14-point third-quarter lead in the SEC Championship the following year.

It’s a future that Dawg fans can only dream of because Smart is still only a one-time SEC champion and zero-time national champion. It’s unfair, but it’s hard to hold two fluke comebacks against him — not that he’s totally off the hook for those two Bama losses — but he has surpassed Mark Richt’s 74% win rate with his 79% win rate in six years.

Georgia’s defense had fallen to 13th in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play in the two years before Kirby’s arrival, but he’s since straightened that out. The program ranks sixth in the same metric in the five years since he became head coach.

Gee, no mention of Justin Fields there.  I’m not sure how seriously we should take that.

By the way, Dan Mullen pops up at number five, and there’s actually some valid reasoning behind it.

It’s hard to truly describe the offensive mess that Florida found itself in before Dan Mullen arrived in Gainesville. From 2014 to 2017, the Gators offense ranked 120th in EPA per play — that is not just bad, it is horrendous.

Mullen had them up to 29th in Year 1 and 30th in Year 2, and then they exploded with an 11th-place finish in 2020. Considering those advancements were mostly made with other coaches’ recruiting classes, those numbers are as impressive as it gets. We also shouldn’t forget his sterling 60% win rate as head coach of Mississippi State, where he took over a program that had only gone 21-38 in the five previous years under Sylvester Croom.

For all his flaws — and we’ve certainly documented plenty of them here — the dude has a seriously decent offensive mind.  Just not decent enough to overcome said flaws.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

14 responses to “Another best coaching list, with a twist

  1. Down Island Way

    For all his flaws — believe you are being way to hard on the FU hc, let’s see, there was that time……then that time when…….oh, that time ……oh, fuck it, i got nuthin’ offensively to say about that corch wannabe, other than…#FTMF

    Liked by 6 people

  2. No doubt Dopey did some good things in Starkville. He still lost to South Alabama. He didn’t dominate the Egg Bowl. Hell, he got them to #1 in the initial CFP rankings before they fell off the cliff.

    He’s still an awful recruiter. He’s a world-class doofus – think Jeoff Collins with a worse haircut.

    We need to go to Jacksonville with the intent of beating the brakes off the Handbags. #FTMF

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HirsuteDawg

    Georgia fans have themselves in a box. They will not be happy with beating their rivals more times than they are beaten. They will not be happy with the opportunity to see good well coached football and top athletic players on a regular basis. They will not be happy with smacking Auburn or Florida down on a beautiful fall Saturday. They will only be happy if they are number 1 – which is a rare and precious thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bluto, I am picking up what you are laying down. Sideshow does have an offensive mind, but it’s becoming increasingly more clear that he is a 1 trick pony…not a good recruiter, not a good head coach, not a defensive minded coach, can’t manage his dipshit foibles…he is fortunate that the national sports press loves FU…but that can turn on a dime. If Kirby was only viewed as a defensive minded coach and nothing else; the pr would be horrendous and nonstop and probably he would be unemployed. UGA is fortunate to have a hc that works overtime in recruiting, roster management, hiring good assistants, adapting his offenses and defenses to changes in the game. I’d keep Kirby where he is, and gladly leave dipshit in Hogtown.


  5. akascuba

    He is an excellent OC. As a head coach at FU he has been an underachiever. Given a better than average roster in a weak division he can win 9-10 games. FU should be in the top five recruiting schools annually with a better head coach. Going 1-3 against your main rival is not top rated it’s barely above the Jim Harbaugh level. Long may his tenure be at FU.


    Liked by 1 person

    • siskey

      How would you rank the eras of the SEC East? I think that the early 90s were obviously strong as it relates to Florida and Tennessee but the rest of the Division was weak. The mid-90s were more of the same but we were better. In the early 2000s, it was basically just us, mid-2000s us and Florida, etc. Just curious because it seems like we won’t get credit for winning this division but in some respects, i.e. depth, the team at the top, it may be as good as ever.


  6. Ran A

    Yep, he should be a OC in the NFL and that’s where I expect Mullen to be within 3 years, likely for his old boss in Jax. Contract or not contract. Nice to see Kirby get some prope, but you get the sense that Kirby is a little sick of the shade the media tends to throw his way. Nobody wants that Natty more than Kirby.


  7. drunkenmonken

    “Considering those advances were mostly made with other coaches’ recruiting classes, those numbers are as impressive as it gets”. Wanna bet that last year is as good as they get? I don’t believe Danny the douchebag has the tools or the desire to recruit at the level it takes to win consistently. Can anyone name any all star linemen he brought to Starkevegas? The only lineman I remember at all is the center with long blonde hair that was a cheap shot artist. Mullen is an excellent oc but if Frank’s doesn’t get hurt no one ever hears of Kyle trask.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. stoopnagle

    I’m not going to discount what he achieved at Mississippi State nor how he resurrected Florida. He’s a goofball and I don’t like him; but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    Also, I always laugh a bit inside when I hear Kirby can’t coach or develop talent. Because I’m pretty sure you can’t stay on Nick Saban’s staff for a year let alone a decade at three different stops if you can’t coach and develop players.

    IDK, maybe ask Major Applewhite.


  9. 123 Fake St

    Coach O didn’t crack the top 20.


  10. Migraine Boy

    That “imagine a world” start is flawed logic, to me, as “not blowing second half leads” is…kinda a big part of a coach’s job.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. archiecreek

    Watch the Rose Bowl game and tell me Kirby can’t coach.
    The halftime adjustments were outstanding.
    Overtime adjustments were outstanding.
    Conversely, look at Riley, who is supposed to be a coaching GENIUS…
    I hope he bought a lot of puppy chow, ’cause…


  12. Hobnail_Boot

    We didn’t play in the 2018 title game.

    I will die on this hill.