Top 10 Overrated Coaches for 2010

This compilation was pretty popular and created a lot of discussion last year, so I thought I’d bring it back again. Keep in mind that I’m not necessarily saying these guys are bad coaches (though in some cases it is true). I’m just highlighting the coaches who, in my opinion, do not currently live up to the hype:

1. Steve Spurrier–Look at early season previews and South Carolina is on the list of potential breakout teams…again. Hasn’t it been five or six years in a row now that the Gamecocks were supposed to be a big deal? No doubt, much of this is residual respect for Spurrier, an offensive guy who hasn’t had very good offenses for SC. The media loves him because he is a good quote and grimaces on the sideline, but what’s he done lately?

2. Les Miles–He is living proof that pretty much any coach can win a national title if given the right situation. His 2007 LSU team was loaded but still lost twice and needed some crazy circumstances to win it all. He’s a questionable game manager and seems to do less with more every year. His teams appear able to beat anyone, or lose to anyone. Yet, he is somehow considered an asset in the SEC coaching fraternity because he won that one title. Well, so did Phil Fulmer….and what’s he doing now?

3. Lane Kiffin–Rarely has more been written about someone who has done so little. His bio from USC’s website reads like a North Korean propaganda pamphlet: “First-year USC head football coach Lane Kiffin is regarded as one of the game’s brightest young coaches…He is known for his high football IQ, as well as for being a vibrant leader and a master recruiter.” Who, exactly, regards him as one of the game’s bright young coaches? I’ll reserve that title for guys like Chris Peterson, Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin, thanks.

4. Rich Rodriguez–Here’s a coach who used to be in the ‘underrated’ category. But his tenure so far at Michigan feels like it has been completely bungled. Did he suddenly forget how to coach, or did the Michigan ‘culture’ push back too hard when he came to Ann Arbor? Whatever the case, he may not get out of this one with his reputation intact.

5. Jim Tressel–Oh, calm down. I know he’s a solid coach who sometimes finds the groove and gets his team to elite levels. But that stubborn belief in his way of doing things–especially his lack of imagination on offense–has probably cost him a chance at one or two more national titles.

6. Pat Hill–His early-decade swagger about playing anyone, anywhere, anytime hasn’t resulted in this program actually winning many of those ‘prove it’ games. But Hill still gets credit for being a balls-out coach. Scheduling against elite teams and losing to them doesn’t mean a whole lot in my book.

7. Jeff Tedford–He’s done very well by Cal standards, but at one time the idea was that he was a genius who would be a thorn in the side of USC. Instead, his program has been passed up by Oregon as the Pac-10’s No. 2, with Oregon State and Stanford nipping at his heels for No. 3.  If only he could recruit and develop quarterbacks, he wouldn’t be in this situation.

8. Mark Richt–He seems like a nice guy, but Georgia fans must wonder how the Bulldogs could have the first pick in the draft (Matt Stafford) and the first running back taken (Knowshon Moreno) on the same team in 2007 and 2008 and come away without a national title. If he can’t win it all with those guys, when will he win it?

9. Ralph Friedgen–Things have been rough for the Terps since winning 31 games from 2001-2003. I’m not sure he would be so respected these days if he were thin…we seem to like our portly coaches, don’t we?

10. Joe Paterno–JoePa makes the list again only because he’s not really coaching this team anymore. He’s a figure head who gets most of the credit for the program’s success, but it is his assistants (primarily Tom Bradley) who get the job done.

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14 Responses to Top 10 Overrated Coaches for 2010

  1. Ed Newman May 27, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    Tressel can be frustrating for sure. He doesn’t use his elite players to their fullest potential. He relies too much on his D, even when it’s apparent that they aren’t up to the challenge. He can be too predictable. But at the same time he takes teams without NC talent and puts them in the NC discussion. And most of that is due to his philosophy and system. Although he doesn’t always get the most out of his 5* players, he turns a lot of 3* players into All Big Ten and All American studs. Just because he can’t seem to beat SEC teams doesn’t make him overrated. It just makes him a typical OSU coach.

    Mark Richt doesn’t belong on the list yet. That Stafford-Moreno team happened to have a weak defense and you just can’t hide that against elite SEC teams. He’s getting close to being deserving of this list though.

    I don’t know that anyone (except maybe USC) thinks that highly of Kiffin to call him overrated. He hasn’t done enough yet to have any rating at all. His one year at UT was not a disaster (on the field, at least).

    Totally agree on Miles, RRod, Ol Ball Coach, and The Fridge.

  2. slippy May 28, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    Friedgen would have been fired last year but the university couldn’t afford his buyout…similar situation in Colorado.

    I think the fact that Kiffin got hired at 2 big name schools tells you someone thinks he’s a good coach. God knows why.

    I think Rodriguez will prove this year which list he deserves to be on (verdict is still out in my book).

  3. Glen May 28, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Spurrier is a good pick. He apparently stopped giving a damn about ten years ago.

  4. Glen May 28, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, and Rodriguez just needs some time. He’s totally re-making that team, and he had to start out with a complete void of the kind of athletes he needs for his O.

    They will be better this year than they were last year, and so long as Michigan does not commit the kind of lunacy that some press folks seem to think they will (i.e., firing Rodriguez), by next year they should be pretty doggoned good.

  5. tony eubanks May 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    Mack “I’ll answer that for Chris” Brown should be on the list over Pat Hill. I know the team has had success but he is an idiot when it comes to coaching.(Remember the closing minute of 1st half in NC game?) Excellent recruiter as his classes rank at or near the top EVERY year, so why hasn’t success been reflected on the field annually. Totally overrated coach who is a more successful politician. As far as the rest of the list goes, I couldn’t agree more. Great job.

  6. Gern Blanski June 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    You lost me at Tressel. Yes he has a “stubborn” way of doing things.

    A lot of schools would be so lucky to be ovverated with a .817 winning %, a 9-1 record against OSU biggest rival, 6 conference titles, 7 BCS appearances, 3 NC game appearances, and 1 National Title.

    You made up your list without facts or logic. Just throwing some names on a wall.

    I am not an OSU fan by the way.

  7. Andy Wright June 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Way to get Feldman to stump for you, but I’m not impressed at all with this “analysis.” Your logic on Tressel is just absurd, Tedford is hamstrung by being at Cal and Georgia has battled injuries.

  8. Dickman June 5, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    This is a fun topic to debate. I will never understand how Stoops always gets a free pass while Tressel gets hammered. Too soon to call out Kiffin.

  9. Luke M June 5, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    All Les Miles has done in the 5 years since taking over for Saban is win 78% of his games, a conference title, 2 division titles and a 4-1 bowl record.

    His 51-14 record over that time is better than Saban’s 5 year record at LSU (48-16).

  10. ChloroxingTheGenePool June 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Tressell definitely belongs upon any list of overrated football coaches. To the point, he is dominating a weak conference, and has done little in big out of conference games or bowls since he ran out of Cooper’s recruits. When Michigan gets rid of Rodriguez, look for Harbaugh to head to Ann Arbor. And when that happens, the winning over Michigan will end. And when that happens, Tressell’s stint in Columbus will be over. And then Urban Meyer can take over and begin rebuilding the program.

  11. PAC 10 Pundit June 15, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    HP…you are a terrible reporter. Spurrier has guided USCe to its first ever 5 straight years of bowl eligibility and has the best winning % of any coach since USCe joined the SEC. I’m NOT saying that makes him a great coach. But the idea that he is the most over-rated coach could only be the conclusion of someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or has a significant bias…hmmm?

  12. TTK July 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Great article.
    I’m a DIE-HARD OSU fan/alumni…and believe or not – I actually agree with you on Tressel, but I would have him maybe in the top 30, not 5…he’s great 90% of the time, but 10% of the time his playcalling is counterintuitive. i.e.: Purdue 2009. Terrelle Pryor is NOT a pocket passer (yet, at least), they just kept forcing him to throw pocket-designed plays…instead of what has proven to work: ROLL-OUT/BOOTLEGS! Don’t make it harder than it is.

    I definitely agree with you on #1 – Spurrier. He’s supposed to be a “QB guru” but EVERY year he’s been at SC, even if it’s with highly-touted recruits — the QB play has been erratic, inconsistent, and mediocre at the very best.


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