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Who’s the Coach of the Year?

Gua Malzahn AP

There’s been a lot of great coaching jobs in 2013. Here’s a look at the top five contenders for national Coach of the Year honors:

1. Gus Malzahn, Auburn — At 9-1, the Tigers have already won as many games this season as they lost last season, when they finished 3-9. Malzahn has turned Auburn around in his first year on the Plains despite starting a junior college transfer at quarterback and a bevy of freshmen on defense. Few thought it was possible, but when the Tigers take on Alabama, it will likely be for the SEC West title.

2. David Cutcliffe, Duke — The Blue Devils will be going to a bowl game for their second-consecutive season, the first time that’s happened in school history. And, at 7-2, Duke has a chance to win nine games for the first time since 1941. It’s a remarkable job by Cutcliffe, who has won more games in his six seasons at Duke than the previous coaches before him won in 13.

3. Art Briles, Baylor — Before the season, there were some who thought Baylor was a dark horse contender for the Big 12 title. Hardly anyone thought the Bears would be ranked fourth in the nation heading into the second week of November. That’s the highest ranking for Baylor since 1953. The offense is one of the most prolific in the history of college football and Briles is its mastermind. If he gets through the season unscathed, he might be at the top of this list.

4. Gary Pinkel, Missouri — Missouri was picked by the media to finish next to last in the SEC East, but the Tigers are the favorite in that division heading into the home stretch of the season. The Tigers have done much of this despite playing a backup redshirt freshman quarterback. Less than two seasons after switching over from the Big 12, Pinkel has made sure that Mizzou is no afterthought in the SEC.

5. Urban Meyer, Ohio State — Winning 21 games in a row has to count for something. Ohio State came into the season with inexperience in its front seven on defense and then faced adversity when quarterback Braxton Miller went down for three games with an injury. But Meyer overcame those challenges and has his team playing at a very high level. There’s a good chance the Buckeyes end the season on a 25-game win streak.

Honorable mention: Curtis Johnson, Tulane; Nick Saban, Alabama; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State; George O’Leary, UCF; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois

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31 Responses to “Who’s the Coach of the Year?”
  1. noleitup says: Nov 10, 2013 7:14 PM

    Hate to be a homer but that jimbo guy just replaced a bunch of coaches and crap of load of nfl talent including a 1st round qb. Im not saying he should win coy but at least throw him a mention.

  2. jimmy53 says: Nov 10, 2013 7:19 PM

    Not having Jimbo in this groups is a fallacy.

  3. afrancis55 says: Nov 10, 2013 7:28 PM

    Meyer shouldn’t win it just because he’s got a 20 game win streak vs cupcakes.

    Why should Pinkel win it because he’s finally doing his job?

    Baylor could very well lose the remainder of their games, so let’s see if Briles can get em through.

    Cut life maybe, but the ACC is weak so it’s not that hard to win in that conference anyway.

    The obvious answer is Malzahn. For him to turnaround a 3 win team in the toughest conference AND toughest division of college football in one year is unreal.

  4. afrancis55 says: Nov 10, 2013 7:30 PM

    *Cutcliffe, not cut life

  5. 1ncrev says: Nov 10, 2013 7:30 PM

    Cutcliffe, hands down. Coach Cut has changed he football culture at DUKE.

  6. ruggyup says: Nov 10, 2013 7:32 PM

    At the very least, it’s a must to include Jimbo Fisher for consideration! Automatically moves ahead of Cutcliffe and Meyer.

  7. Deb says: Nov 10, 2013 7:33 PM

    Oh how it hurts a Bama fan to say this … if I were voting today: Malzahn.

    But I really think the vote should be taken in January.

  8. 1990tiger says: Nov 10, 2013 7:48 PM

    “…when the Tigers take on Alabama, it will likely be for the SEC East title.”

    That should be SEC WEST title.

  9. soundsofsuccess7 says: Nov 10, 2013 7:48 PM

    Ed Orgeron!!

    Seriously though this guy has been huge in USC turning it around. Mention worthy I think.

  10. bgkytiger says: Nov 10, 2013 7:55 PM

    Malzahn…The homer in me says says Pinkel, but he trusts his players and his system. Auburn is still trotting a lot of 4-5 star recruits onto that field every week, however many of those not having been Malzahn’s guys, I give him the nod.

  11. fmlizard says: Nov 10, 2013 7:59 PM

    How about a shared award between Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys of Minnesota? Very solid improvement and they have done so under tough circumstances few other coaches have had to deal with.

    They turned around a mess into a NYD bowl team in 3 years.

  12. raysfan1 says: Nov 10, 2013 8:16 PM

    I think Orgeron, Kill, and Jimbo Fisher, and Mark Dantonio all belong on the honorable mention list.

    I think if Mizzou miraculously wins the SEC, he wins. I’d vote Briles though (if I had a vote).

  13. burm61 says: Nov 10, 2013 8:21 PM

    Like Bruce Arians last year in the NFL, I think the interim coach at Minnesota should be considered especially if they win out.

  14. manik56 says: Nov 10, 2013 8:24 PM

    Ohio State HC’s are not allowed to win coach of the year awards. I think Congress passed a law during the end of the Carter administration.

  15. normtide says: Nov 10, 2013 8:32 PM

    I think Pinkle. AD big a turn around as Auburn, but Auburn has5 times the talent. But its early, lets see.

  16. jmb795 says: Nov 10, 2013 8:35 PM

    Jimbo lost 11 to NFL draft, replaced most of his coaches and started a RS freshman QB. Oh, and stands a good chance of going undefeated. What am I missing?

  17. andyreidisfat says: Nov 10, 2013 8:51 PM

    I think it’s the Fresno state head coach if they finish with out a loss. While everyone keeps mentioning what some of the bigger teams lost, they never mention the top 10 classes they have had the last few years. Fresno state is a team that gets maybe one or two 4 star players and is still undefeated. They have the most under rated qb in the nation and they have been able to change the way they play 180 since pat hill left. If Fresno loses then the guy from Baylor because they just have a nutty offense

  18. normtide says: Nov 10, 2013 8:53 PM

    Bama fans could say we have a coach looking at 3 straight titles and 4 in 5 years. But its other factors. FSU fans, your having a great year, but its expected. In fact last year was a let down. There is a reason Jimbo and Nick don’t lead the list. Its expected of them

  19. cubano76 says: Nov 10, 2013 9:08 PM

    No Randy Edsall? C’mon…..

  20. Deb says: Nov 10, 2013 9:17 PM

    @normtide …

    The reason I’d like to wait until January is to see how Malzahn and Pinkle finish. It’s between those two for me right now because I tend to favor coaches that turn around struggling programs. But I’d also like to see if FSU takes it all. Winning the title–especially against the Tide–would be have to put Jimbo in contention. Otherwise, as you said, this level of success is just expected from Fisher and Saban.

  21. drubyy1993 says: Nov 10, 2013 9:19 PM

    Meyer? This shits a joke ohio state is a 8-4 team in the sec at best

  22. lurch61 says: Nov 10, 2013 9:25 PM

    Why not David Shaw? He has quietly kept Stanford in contention for three years straight, having had no previous head coaching experience. Oh and did forget to mention knocking Oregon out of National Title contention for two years straight! No one else has beat Oregon two years in succession.

  23. bowwserr says: Nov 10, 2013 9:37 PM

    Like it or not, Mack Brown has an argument. 1-2, then win 6 in a row with sole possession of first place….it could be said. And this is coming from a Texas fan that DOESN’T want him back.

  24. 8to80texansblog says: Nov 10, 2013 10:21 PM

    Is it possible in 23 comments no one has said Art Briles?

    To put what he has done in relative terms. Imagine if Vanderbilt was 9-0 with a beatdown of Alabama under their belt….

    Franklin would be the hands down favorite to win.

    (I’m not saying that OU is on the same plane as Bama right now, but OU has been the historical leader of the Big XII)

    Baylor over their tenure in the Big XII has been that same type of perennial doormat for teams like OU, Texas, and Nebraska to use as an extra bye week. Briles has completely changed the culture there and has the Bears on the doorstep of a national title.

    If the Bears finish undefeated, Briles HAS to be the coach of the year.

  25. bballnut50 says: Nov 10, 2013 10:54 PM

    speaking as a Gopher fan of 40+ ys, not even close, Jerry Kill and his staff are heads and shoulders above any coaching job on this list, I will compare Minnesota to Duke and say it is harder to win here then there….trust me, the twin cites are filled with big time haters of the Minnesota Gophers (not just the press) who work behind the scenes constantly to sabotage any rebuilding efforts here over the years, but more then anything the neglect by the administration of the “U” has been the biggest culprit…

  26. wisbadgfan says: Nov 10, 2013 11:24 PM

    I am not a Texas fan, but I agree with bowwserr and also say the Mack Brown deserves a lot of consideration.

    Everybody had him buried after a bad start—everyone from the media to the alumni had Mack Brown on the way to retirement.

    He made some changes, and has his guys on a pretty impressive run.

    I am impressed with coaches who face adversity and calamity, and turn things around. My vote is for Mack Brown.

  27. phillyphannnn83 says: Nov 11, 2013 12:52 AM

    Here’s one vote for O’Leary. Raise your hand if you pegged #17 UCF as a Top 25 team before the season started…Anyone? Anyone?

  28. waynefontes says: Nov 11, 2013 7:20 AM

    fmlizard says:
    Nov 10, 2013 7:59 PM
    How about a shared award between Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys of Minnesota? Very solid improvement and they have done so under tough circumstances few other coaches have had to deal with.

    They turned around a mess into a NYD bowl team in 3 years.

    I would have no argument with that choice.

    Several worthy names, but think about what David Cutcliffe has done at Duke.

    Duke is going to back-to-back bowls for the first time in school history.

    Think about that – not BCS bowls, not New Years Day bowls, just bowls. Back-to-back for the first time ever.

    Fisher, Malzahn and Orgeron are great choices and they have all done great jobs.

    But think about the history and talent pools they get to deal with. Then think about Duke. Or Minnesota. Or Baylor.

    Cutcliffe is the coach of the year. Kill/Claeys IS right up there. Briles is up there as well.

    It’s easy to rebound when you have tradition. It means so much more to build up a program.

  29. dublindemonszfl says: Nov 11, 2013 9:17 AM

    Jerry Kill, clear cut #1. Seriously, he has to be the winner, he is turning around a history of losing. The Gophers might not be on any to 10 list, but they will be. Wait, they will be and it’s because of Jerry Kill and his staff. Just coach baby!

  30. detroit20iron says: Nov 11, 2013 10:53 PM

    I am pleased coach DeRuyter had a mention. He completely turned around the program since Pat Hill left. His first year they win a share of the MWC title and doing even better this year. #bulldogborn #bulldogbred

  31. 8to80texansblog says: Nov 13, 2013 4:47 PM


    Miss Tim DeRuyter in College Station. He was a great defensive coach.

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