The Most Overrated Coaches

(Note: This list does NOT mean these coaches all suck…for the most part)

1.  Steve Spurrier, South Carolina–Clearly, Spurrier is past his prime.  His offense hasn’t worked well in almost a decade and the South Carolina program is stuck in neutral.  Still that doesn’t prevent the media from fawning over him every year.  If I hear the term ‘ol’ ball coach’ one more time…

2. Jim Tressel, Ohio State–Is any coach more stubborn about his system and way of doing things?  Sure, he is successful to a point, but he gets a ton of talent every year and lately has found a way to get pummeled in the big games.  It’s almost as if he is satisfied to lose, as long as it is his way.

3.  Les Miles, LSU–He recruits well and his roster is always stocked with future NFL players, but he generally makes some baffling decisions as a game coach and with regards to personnel.  His teams seem to be woefully unprepared at times.

4.  Joe Paterno, Penn State–He wouldn’t be here except for the fact that HE’S NOT REALLY COACHING THE TEAM ANYMORE.  Great career, great program builder, but Tom Bradley basically runs this team now.

5. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee–Okay, he hasn’t coached game yet.  But the fact that he got hired is confounding and clearly the result of some unfounded hype proferred on his behalf.

6. Mark Richt, Georgia–Nice man.  Program is very good.  But will he ever win big when he’s supposed to (like 2008)? 

7. Jeff Tedford, Cal–Looked like a genius early in his career at Cal.  But he hasn’t gotten his program over the hump, which leads one to point out that early in his career he inherited Kyle Boller and then stumbled upon Aaron Rodgers.   The great QB developer hasn’t developed a good one since and has even bungled his QB situation at times. 

8. Bobby Bowden, FSU–Yeah, the cat’s been out of the bag for some time on this one.  But he still garners accolades here and there based almost entirely on what he did 15 years ago.  What other coach gives interviews during BCS title games?

9. Dennis Erickson, ASU–Was a time when he was one of the best around, if not THE best.  But he’s another coach working past his prime, though he still is considered an elite head man by some.  I think the magic is gone and he won’t be long for Tempe.

10.  Mike Stoops, Arizona–This is the coach who is always predicted to have a breakout season and then it never happens.  Last year’s Arizona team had about as good a set-up as possible for Stoops and he still went 8-5!

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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73 Responses to The Most Overrated Coaches

  1. godawg May 29, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    Where’s Bobby Petrino?

  2. Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    You have Hall of Fame coaches on this list because they haven’t won a championship within the past 10 years.

    If not Hall of Fame, most of the coaches you include have won multiple conference championships.

    You include Lane Kifflin who have never even coached a college game.

    …and yet, you exclude Charlie Weiss?

    Are you serious?

  3. Old Ducker May 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    In order for Weis to make an overrated list, someone would have to rate him highly, LOL

    Love it that Kiffy made the cut…I’m REALLY looking forward to that Florida game in ’09, and this from a guy who finds SEC football generally boring, classics such as last year’s Auburn vs. Miss State notwithstanding…

  4. Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    You are either 15 or damm fool. Paterno, Bowden, and Spurrier all built there programs into multiple decade long powerhouses. 15 years ago? FSU was a power house in the early 200o’s.

  5. shadrach May 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Richt’s teams are either 1 or 2 in wins since he became the HC at UGA. Good grief, how could he be overrated? More likely he’s underrated. The MNC hangs over him, it’s not the sole litmus test.

    Pretty weak list outside 1, 2 and 3.

  6. Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    “Pretty weak list outside 1, 2 and 3.

    Ha, ha, ha. I agree with you shadrach that Richt doesn’t deserve to be on this list, but the fact that you think his 1,2,3 are valid doesn’t help you defend your case.

    #1 #2, and #3 don’t have the MNC hanging over them, so I don’t think you should consider them overrated if Richt isn’t also.

  7. Jim May 30, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    This is list is retarded. Coach Richt definitely shoul not be on there. He has one of the best road records every year in the toughest conference in the nation and he has posted 10+ wins a year constantly. yeah, the MNC is still one of the few things he needs to achieve, he`ll get there. You left off Charlie Wies and Pete Carroll, If ND has another non BCS season which would baffle me considering the creampuff schedue they have this year, old Charlie will be back to the NFL. Pete Carroll`s teams are the media darlings every year untl they drop one to a weak conference foe as they seem to have been doing the past couple of years but supposedly they dominate year in and year out with what to show for it?

  8. HC May 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Spurrier’s 2001 offense was one of his best. He wasn’t in college football again until 2005, and he hasn’t had a QB worth a crap to run it in four years in Columbia. That equates to “hasn’t worked well in nearly a decade”? That’s completely inane. By the way, exactly who has ever had Mike Stoops “rated”?

  9. FredBoone May 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    This is the kind of list you get when you have a person that knows pretty much nothing about football making them.

    Well, that’s not all true. He knows how to market a football player to get votes for an award. Which I mean isn’t the kid pretty much doing his own marketing on the field?, but that not here nor there.

    HP. Every time you try to write something that has to do with football, actual football, outside of stats for an overrated award, you look like an idiot.

  10. dan french May 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    You’re like the rest of the biased uninformed folks out there…..Lets pick on Lane Kiffin already…just cause he doesn’t back down and has some guts…for god sakes, give the guy a break before he even coaches his first game…give him 3 to 4 years then make your biased comments !

  11. FredBoone May 30, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    Damn forgot to sum it up….

    Therefore, if you have a thought about college football other than about an overrated award and its voters, please for credibility sake, keep it to yourself.

    Like how you posted the Sagarin ratings each week that had the Pac10 #1. Then the final one came out with the SEC #1, as expected, and you looked like a big dumbass and epically failed trying to spin it.

  12. sunnyjim June 1, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    People have expected Les Miles to accomplish little, yet he has accomplished much. How does that make him “Overrated”? Crazy.

    His “baffling” moves have been successful, he wins 80% of his games and owns a crystal football.

    He has been called “reckless”, but he keeps winning because AUDACITY is something entirely different and it’s what champions are made of.

  13. Heismanpundit June 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Are you referring to his audacious decision to stick with Jarrett Lee instead of going with Jordan Jefferson at QB? How did that work out for Miles?

  14. fuku June 1, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Better add Houston Nutt. Too many sportswriters hale him as the 2nd coming, but he’s never actually closed the deal on anything. No SEC champs, No BCS bowls, and look at the talent he’s had…Mcfadden, and Jones in the same backfield?? Once Orgeron’s players are gone, he’s fooked.

  15. Gen. Stoopnagle June 3, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    First, to defend Mark Richt, his team routinely (notwithstanding last year’s notable exception) finished higher in the final polls than in pre-season polls. Second in defense of Mark Richt, most reputable(?) ratings of SEC coaches have him below Meyer, Saban, Miles, formerly Tubberville, and even at times Houston Nutt (who deserves number one here with a bullet!) Add in that he’s got a winning or even record against all of them but one, I’d say Richt is UNDER-RATED. But, I’m a Georgia guy, so of course I feel that way.

    Also, any overrated list that doesn’t include the Rt. Rev. Nutt and Charlie Weis is not a list to be taken seriously. It’s already been said, but it’s worth repeating.

    I’d also throw in Bob Stoops. Since beating FSU in the Orange for a national title, it’s been a rough haul outside of beating up on everyone in the Big 12 but Texas. I think OU’s record in BCS bowl games speaks for itself.

  16. Section28 June 3, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    The fact that Charlie Weis isn’t number one, or even on the list, renders it ignorant and laughable!

  17. Doogie June 3, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    This list is terrible. You took some of the most respected coaches in the game and tried to spit on their life work. You should be ashamed of yourself. First of all it is obvious that you don’t like the SEC and you targeted them. I can agree with you on 2,5,7,9,and 10 but Spurrier is a great offensive mind and is one of the greatest recruiters in the game. Miles has really making a name for himself in college football. He has never lost a bowl game at LSU and he hasn’t been in any powder puffs other than ND against the man that should without a doubt be #1 on this list. Not to mention Les won a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP two years ago! Paterno is a coach that has truly made the game into what it is today. I can’t stand the Big Ten but no one can deny what he has done for the sport. Richt is not only a great man but he is an outstanding football coach. Everyone knows if he is on your schedule you have a dog fight on your hands. Bowden is just an amazing coach. His record says it all. Just because Paterno and Bowden may be past their prime does not mean they are bad football coaches. They lead the way for these younger guys we have now. I’m sorry to tell buddy but you have no clue what you are talking about. It is obvious that you normal write about ice curling but since it is out of season your boss had you write a piece on something that you do not follow. Don’t worry I don’t blame you for your ignorance I blame your boss for making you go outside your element. P.S. It was pretty good that you know Spurrier was the ole ball coach though congrats.

  18. callsu June 3, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    So let me just throw out a few statistics here about a coach:
    42-11 record.
    4-0 bowl game record with wins against miami, notre dame, ohio state and georgia tech.
    Only coach at school to ever beat Auburn, Florida and Alabama in the same year and he has done that 2 times.
    He has gotten to the SECCG 2 times winning it 1 time.
    He has WON a national championship 2 years ago.
    He is 14-6 in games decided by 7 points or less.
    He has 9 wins against coaches that have won a national chapmpionship.
    He is the first coach in the sec to lead his team to the SECCG in his first year.
    He is undefeated in non-conference games.

    This coach is Les Miles and he made your top 5? Really? He takes chances, big deal! Those chances are the reason we made it to the NC game. He has 1 season where his team doesn’t win 10 games and you put him as your number 3 most overrated coach? Are you from alabama or something? I mean come on! What about bob stoops who hasn’t won a bowl game in 4 years and has only won 1 since 2002. Your list isn’t really that good, and putting les miles in there just proves my point.

  19. smarterthanheismanpundit June 3, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Les Miles number 3? What a joke. I guess a coach that in 4 years has 3 top 5’s plus a national championship is overrated. That is just stupid and probably why no one has ever heard of this web site.

  20. bfniii June 3, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    the notion that les miles makes “baffling” decisions boils down to one thing; the 5 fourth downs against fla in ’07. yet, each one was absolutely justified in the new nfl type thinking about going for it more often than not depending on the circumstances. in that regard, miles is ahead of the curve and the blogger just hasn’t caught on.

    his teams never seem unprepared. check his stats coming off a loss. he rarely, if ever, loses two games in a row. lsu’s problem this past year was the d-co’s who were a stop-gap until he could get someone like chavis. miles has proven to be one of the best in america at making great hires. the defense is still loaded and now has a great staff. expect lsu to improve markedly in ’09 defensively.

    as far as the comment about sticking with jarret lee instead of going with jordan jeffereson – jefferson was a true freshman. he wasn’t ready whereas lee had been in the program. plus, bloggers aren’t in practice everyday like the coaches are. apparently, lee is very good in practice whereas someone else might be the opposite; bad in practice good in games.

    to put miles on this list, much less as high as 3, instead of stoops, weiss, mack brown, carroll, etc, destroys the credibility of the list

  21. bfniii June 3, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    another reason why people perceive that miles makes bad decisions is the auburn ’07 game when he called for a pass instead of lining up to kick. go back and watch the sequence again. the clock operator didn’t stop the clock until the ref had signaled touchdown. there were actually at least 4 seconds on the clock AFTER the play was over. still enough time to line up a kick. the play was called with plenty of time but there was a problem getting the ball snapped. yet, people think miles is stupid when they just don’t know the facts

  22. Steven June 3, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    Find me a few lists where Miles is in the top 10 before you spout off that he is overrated. If he isn’t rated on any of those lists, how can he be overrated?

  23. callsu June 3, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    bfniii, i completely agree with you. I think it is amazing that 4 SEC coaches made the list, including 1 that has yet to coach, and 0 big 12 coaches made that same list. I really don’t understand how you can even have 1 sec coach on a most overrated list becuase if you look at which conference has the most bcs championship game wins it’s ours by a long shot. We are also the only big conference that has yet to lose in one of those games and most of our wins have been completely dominated by our team. This writer obviously has a slight against the sec and it’s obvious with which conference he left out and what obvious coaches he left out. ANd i think i would put pete carroll right below bob stoops. He has proven unable to get a team full of 5 star talent to the big game. And he consistently loses to teams he shuold beat.

  24. Tom Loker June 3, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    You really did not put much time or thought into this list my friend. If you did you would realize that Ohio State’s recruiting really hasn’t picked up steam until recently and Jim has largely finished each year at roughly the level where he has recruited overall if not a bit above.

    I know it is easier to listen to ESPN writers gush about the SEC and how superior a conference it is while trashing the Big Ten since the Big Ten has it’s own network while the SEC signed a huge deal with ESPN but please do a bit of research before posting a list such as this. One would think you would take the time to post statistics and actual facts to back up your blind assumptions and opinions.

  25. PantherHawk June 3, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Where is Tim “punky” Brewster?? By virtue of the fact this clown even has a job above towel boy renders him in the top 10 of overratedness!!!!!!!!!

  26. Gilligan June 3, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Why is Charlie Weiss not mentioned in this list? The guy received a multi-year extension for losing a close game to USC and produce some of the worse ND teams in history and at the same time predicted that ND would have a schematic advantage over its opponents.
    I know fans will disagree with this item but I agree that Les Miles is overrated. People forget that his championship team had 2 losses and Georgia was probably more deserving of the title shot. Les also won with Saban’s players and last year was the first time that most of the LSU players on the roster were recruited by Miles and his staff and they had a losing SEC record. The reason Les has a great non-conference record is because they play a soft regular season non-conference schedule.

  27. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    So I guess that JoePa hasn’t done much for PSU or college football as a whole?

    PSU has consistantly had one of the highest graduation rates in the country over his four decade tenure,a strong regular season, and an even stronger post-season winning percentage.

    Dollar for dollar, as compared to today’s big-time coach’s salaries, PSU continues to get a solid return on their “over-rated” coach.

  28. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    agree…i guess charlie weis isn’t even good enough to make this list..LOL.
    but where’s bob stoops?
    him and tressel are on same boat.
    can’t win big games.

  29. callsu June 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    Anonymous, wow is all i can say about your excuse for having miles in this list. If that is your argument than we should also include meyer. That argument is completely ridiculous for a few reasons, one, miles has done more in his first 4 years than saban did the whole time he was at LSU. Miles had 3 years in a row of only losing 2 games, saban only did that 1 time. Miles beat auburn, florida and alabama in the same year twice, saban never did that. Miles is undefeated in non-conference games and in bowl games, saban lost to uab and lost bowl games. To say that miles won with saban’s players is stupid. Also your argument that georgia deserved to go is just as dumb. Really? Georgia who didn’t even make it to their conference championship game deserved to make it over someone that did and won it? Georgia who lost to 2 teams that we beat deserved to make it? That doesn’t make sense. It wasn’t LSU’s fault that every other good team lost 2 games, so quit using that excuse. They made the game and won it, for that reason alone miles deserves not to be on this list. I also think that Tressell does deserve to be on this list. The big 10 is one of the weakest conferences and they have been skull drug in their last 2 championship games. The only reason he has 1 national championship trophy is because of a bogus pass interference call 5 seconds after the play was over. Ohio State consistently loses to the big schools out of their conference year-in and year-out unlike miles who beats them.

  30. Nikki June 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    I think Nick Saban should be on the list. He has lost games to ULM and a formidable Utah team. Alabama should have been prepared to play Utah in the Sugar bowl, and I don’t want excuses that Alabama didn’t want to play Utah.

  31. Enrique June 3, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    About Ohio State’s Jim Tressel,

    I don’t know about you but a person that changes in mid season from a traditional I formation offense to a spread offense with Pryor in the helm does not seem stuburn to me.

    True, he likes ball control offenses. Both seriously did the offense under Boekman looked any different than the offense under Troy Smith? The answer is clearly yes.

    Tresell weakness is not stuborness, if anything is unrealistic expectations from the fans and media. Compare his recruiting position compared to how the team did. The secound problems that he has is that Ohio State’s players look to polished in the draft. (I am not kidding this was a minus on a bunch of OSU players. The third is that he has a hard time adjusting his game plan in the middle of the game.

  32. Enrique June 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm #


    About OSU’s pass interference call. I agree that it was a bad call and it was controversial. However, there was a facemask in that call. (objectively looking at the video) whether or not it was supposed to be call it is a close call.

    However, everyone quickly forgets that the refs gave Miami a chance to go to overtime. For as much complaining that I hear about that call, everyone fails to accept that really Ohio State won that game in REGULATION by three points.

    Do yourself a favor look at the game yourself and look at the last OSU offensive, it was ruled out of bounds when really the WR was in bounds. Hence OSU should have gotten a new set of downs and there should have not been enought time for Miami to kick the tying FG.

    But since ESPN fails to comment on that, I guess it did not happen.

  33. HP June 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    Regarding Miles: The main reason I had him on this list was the breathless fawning that took place over whether he was going to go to Michigan. The media acted like he was a great coach in covering that story and that Michigan really was going to hit the jackpot. Yes, he won a national title, but so did Phil Fulmer and Lloyd Carr at their powerhouse schools. Miles’ only title was with a two loss team that had to be bumped from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final poll. Without that gift, he’s a coach who doesn’t do a whole lot with a ton of talent.

    As for Tressel: Please tell me what special game plans he had in place against Florida and LSU to give him a chance to win a national title. He did nothing. All he did was play Tressel Ball. And he lost twice. First time, understandable. Second time, shame on him.

  34. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    This guy has a brain the size of a peanut. I think he put these guys on this weak excuse for a list so someone would actually visit this website. First time I’ve been on this site and it will be the last. It’s sad people like this guy have a job or still has his fingers to type this garbage.

  35. mark June 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    This is pure BS if anyone should be on this list itis ole pete carroll. USC hss for the last 6 years had the best recruting classeste best players and what the crap has its coach done nothing. It cant even get thru and lame pac-10 conference without a loss.Put him in the SEC and lets see what happens.

  36. callsu June 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    wait so one of the main reasons you put les miles on this list is because michigan wanted him and he was getting a lot of press? And did you not read all of the accomplishments i have listed for miles? And if you are talking about underachieving with good talent, then why isn’t pete carroll or bob stoops on this list. If that is what you were looking at, those 2 coaches top the list with doing less than expected with the talent they have. And once again, the 2 loss thing is completely ridiculous, they proved all year that they were the best team and it wasn’t their fault that everyone else also lost 2 games. I really can’t believe that your argument was about him going to michigan. He has 3 years in a row put that team in the top 5 at the end of the year. He has been to 2 bcs games and if it weren’t for them losing to georgia in the seccg would have been to 3. He plays in the toughest conference and still won 10 games 3 years in a row. Your argument just isn’t sound sorry to tell you. If you are going to make a list like this, you need to go into more of an explanation than you did. And just to let you know, i completely agree about jim tressell, although he isn’t my number 1, bob stoops is followed closely behind by pete carroll.

  37. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    If JoPa doesn’t coach anymore than how can he be an overrated COACH. He is the best coach in the history of the game as of this point, Tressel has led OSU to like 4 straight BCS games, Les Miles in consistant every year at LSU…. Rich Rod isn’t on here neither is Charlie Weis. This guy is a fool

  38. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Put USC in the SEC and see what happens?

    If the last seven years indicate anything it’s that they would run the table.

    As for this list…garbage, absolute trash.

  39. tigerguy June 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Les Miles just can’t get a fair shake from any direction. There are no media types anywhere compiling a list of the best coaches in CFB that include Miles. Even when compiling a list of the best SEC coaches Miles gets relegated to middle-of-the-pack status. Yet the genius who wrote this article says Miles is overrated? Wow. In my opinion, Miles needs to actually be rated highly by even a few people before someone says he’s overrated. Poorly written article that was poorly researched.

  40. Anonymous June 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    The big 10 is one of the weakest conferences and they have been skull drug in their last 2 championship games. The only reason he has 1 national championship trophy is because of a bogus pass interference call 5 seconds after the play was over. Ohio State consistently loses to the big schools out of their conference year-in and year-out unlike miles who beats them.

    Is there anything more annoying than an ignorant SEC fan(redundant, I know). Ohio State was barely getting any calls all game. They won that game fair and square. POS like you just look to get a rise out of Buckeye fans. Congrats on your undefeated seasons. Err, wait, you have none.

  41. Gilligan June 3, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Why should Pete Carroll be on this list considering he is 6-1 in BCS games? Don’t fans find it kind of strange that PAC 10 teams are the only teams that put up a fight against USC and the non-conference foes lose in a blow out? Could it be that the PAC 10 is a better conference than advertised?
    I would NOT add Nick Saban in this list b/c he’s won at MSU and LSU was garbage prior to his arrival. I mean aside from Alabama fans, who predicted a trip to the Sugar Bowl? Before fans jump on this comment I would like to inform everyone that I am a USC Trojan fan but I call it as I see it.
    I might recommend adding Rich Rodriguez to this list if he doesn’t start winning at UM b/c WVU started winning when Miami, VT and BC left the Big East.

  42. Dino June 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Okay let’s get this straight. Les Miles is
    4-0 in his last 4 BCS games and Bob Stoops
    is 0-4 in his last 4 BCS games and somehow
    Les Miles is overrated while Bob Stoops is
    not. Tell that to a man with no hands and
    he’ll slap the crap out of you.

  43. Dino June 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    Forgot to add that until USC beats an SEC
    champion for the BCS title Pete Carrol has
    not reached the top of the mountain, and he
    probably knows that himself.

  44. michael johnson June 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    im sorry i do not see how the hell u left craig krenzil off this list from iowa


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