Head Coach Rankings: How Good Were All 76 This Bowl Season?

Head coach rankings from the 2021-2022 bowl season: who did the best jobs, and who struggled?

Which head coaches did the best jobs this bowl season, and which ones struggled? Here are all 76 head coaches this 2021-2022 bowl season ranked from who rocked and who didn’t.

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Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season

Which head coaches and their staffs did the best jobs this bowl season, and which ones had a rough run?

Very, very loosely based on what the expectations were for each team, talent level, betting lines – at least a little bit – and which teams played above their heads and which ones sputtered, here’s our ranking of the jobs done by all 76 head coaches in the post-season.

Two key notes. 1) There isn’t any extra love or punishment for one bad decision – like a fourth down try that didn’t work, and 2) the interim head coaches were randomly thrown in here, but they all deserve a break from the scrutiny.

CFN Final Rankings | National Championship 5 Thoughts
Ranking Every Bowl | National Championship Game Notes
Bowl Season Coaching Rankings 
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-76

76. Mack Brown, North Carolina

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
South Carolina 38, North Carolina 21
Brown’s double-digit favorite team didn’t have it …18-0. That was the score after the first quarter, and the Tar Heels couldn’t adjust to stop the run and get off the field. This was a good South Carolina team, but it wasn’t 543 yards of total offense good.

75. Deion Sanders, Jackson State

Cricket Celebration Bowl
South Carolina State 31, Jackson State 10
With all the momentum in the world after a big recruiting coup, and with all the national buzz and attention, Sanders’ Tiger team was a total dud. Amazing all year long, the Tigers weren’t even close, finishing with fewer than 200 yards of total offense, eight penalties, and three turnovers in an ugly loss.

74. Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army 24, Missouri 22
Of course Missouri would’ve been a whole lot better had star RB Tyler Badie played, but the call of Brady Cook at quarterback almost worked. It was a great game against a well-coached team, but this is an SEC team with SEC talent that lost to a service academy. That’s not okay.

73. Jake Dickert, Washington State

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Central Michigan 24, Washington State 21
Washington State got to play a random MAC team to fill in after Miami tapped out. Maybe the Cougars weren’t focused, maybe they let their guard down, maybe a few missing parts made a difference as the team didn’t wake up until it was too late. Central Michigan turned it over twice, got flagged 11 times, and it still won after getting up 21-0 in the first half.

72. Mike Leach, Mississippi State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl,
Texas Tech 34, Mississippi State 7
Yeah, there were a whole lot of key opt-out losses – to be fair, the offensive tackle situation was a problem – but you’re an SEC team, Mississippi State. You don’t lose to Texas Tech 34-7 with the offense sputtering that poorly. You can’t have a brand that’s all about offense, and then struggle that much will plenty of time to prepare.

71. Scott Satterfield, Louisville

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Air Force 31, Louisville 28
The Cardinals had the offensive explosion, it had the Power Five/ACC talent, and it couldn’t hold up to the Air Force passing game? The offense worked well and it still wasn’t enough because the Air Force coaching staff’s game plan got the job done. Satterfield really needed this win, and he didn’t get it.

Bowl Season Coaching Rankings 
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-76

NEXT: Head Coach Rankings: Bowl Season Top 70

Notre Dame Coaching Candidates: There’s No Option Too Crazy

Who are the 5 top candidates to take over the Notre Dame head coaching job? No option is off the table.

Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the Irish job?

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Welcome to Notre Dame. Now do what the other guy couldn’t – win a national championship.

The Notre Dame head coaching gig is one of those jobs.

It’s like being the manager of the Yankees, or the head basketball coach at UCLA or Kentucky or North Carolina, or the host of The Tonight Show.

It’s the job that every coach would at least think about for a moment or three – even if it’s not realistic to take.

Every coach.

It’s the job that every coach knows would’ve made a teary-eyed Dad go (in full Ned Beatty voice), “Hey, you guys … my son’s going to coach at Notre Dame!”

No, Notre Dame hasn’t been able to land the biggest of coaching whales over the last several years for a variety of reasons – arrogance, low-ball offers, recruiting concerns – and it’s absolutely more about the name of the place than the reality of the program compared to other powerhouses, but it’s still Notre Dame.

And as Brian Kelly showed, you really can win and win big there.

Maybe it fills a lifelong dream for some coach to be the guy who restores the national championship glory. Maybe it’s a guy who grew up whistling the Notre Dame fight song.

Or maybe it’s because it appeals to the ego among the most egotistical guys on the planet.

It’s one of those jobs that has so much prestige and so much Notre Dameyness that there’s no coaching candidate who’s too wacky of a call.

Really, would you be totally shocked if Dabo Swinney was announced as the next Notre Dame head coach?

Honestly, if Mike Tomlin wanted the job, would you be any more stunned than you were when Lincoln Riley took his talents to USC instead of the NFL?

Urban Meyer could absolutely leave movies and go back to TV with the right offer.

My running actually-happened-anecdote that every giant program thinks it can get a Harbaugh, any Harbaugh, actually fits here.

If we lived in a right and just world, Lane Kiffin would take his train up to South Bend.

Or it could be Josh Heupel. Or it could be Bob Stoops. Or it could be Mark Stoops.

Really, does 70-year-old Pete Carroll seem like a guy who’s all that keen on spending the next few years rebuilding the Seattle Seahawks?

So by the time you’re reading this, some big name from somewhere that you’d never suspect will probably be the hot rumor.

However, knowing that the school could try going for an A-lister to keep up the arms race – (cough) USC (cough) – here are the five most likely main candidates for Notre Dame head coaching job.

NEXT: 5 Top Notre Dame Head Coaching Candidates

Lincoln Riley to USC, Billy Napier to Florida. GAME … ON …

USC hired Lincoln Riley and Florida hired Billy Napier, filling two of the big head coaching openings.

Lincoln Riley to take the open Oklahoma job, and Billy Napier will go to Florida. Now for both programs it’s Game On.

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Lincoln Riley takes USC head coaching job, Billy Napier to take the Florida job

Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings

Two of the biggest college football head coaching questions were answered, but that just opens up more big jobs.

Forget Fight On at USC. It’s Game On with Lincoln Riley now about to be the highest-profile – and by a mile, the highest paid – head football coach in the city of Los Angeles.

The fan base wanted an A-lister of A-lister, and it just got it.

Here’s the guy who’s about to bring the high-octane offense, the resumé with four Big 12 championships in five seasons, four top six finishes, two Heisman Trophy winners and a finalist in Jalen Hurts, and three College Football Playoff appearances.

Now USC is a thing again. Not just because it’s USC, and not just because it’s supposed to be a Power Five conference. Now this ups the game in a huge way for recruiting, the overall profile of the football program, the conference, and what the Pac-12 is about to be.

It also says one very important thing – the prime SEC jobs aren’t quite what everyone thinks they are.

Of course the LSU job is huge, and of course the pressure is going to be National Title or Bust at USC, but the expectations are at a whole other level of insane in the SEC – you can never, ever, ever lose.

Who wants to beat their head against the SEC West wall when you can live life in the Pac-12 South?

Billy Napier wants to give it a try in the SEC East.

The Louisiana head coach was on every Next Coach Up list as the rising offensive coordinator coaching star at Arizona State before the head coaching job went to Herm Edwards.

Napier needed a head coaching job first, he guided Louisiana into a steadily-winning power in the Sun Belt with a national profile, and it became a question of just how big the jump up would be.

But now he has to win right away.

There’s not going to be any sort of a grace period at Florida.

Maybe a 9-3ish season is okay in Year One as long as the team looks like it’s about to be built up into a super-power again, but then it’s SEC Championship or Bust.

Dan Mullen got the team to the SEC title game. Jim McElwain got Florida there a few times. Napier now goes from battling with Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina for the Sun Belt title to needing to beat Georgia. Now.

Louisiana is a solid job at a program that’s a great stepping-stone gig. It’s going to attract a high-profile riser like Napier was. And now the Oklahoma gig is an A-list job opening, too.

It’s Oklahoma. It’s going to be in the SEC. It’s now as big of an opening – if not even stronger – than anything else that’s currently available.

It’ll have its pick of top coaches who’ll want to step into a turn-key situation and keep it all going.

But for now, Florida and USC have two of the best and hottest coaches in the game at two of the best and hottest programs when it comes to powerhouse potential.

Again, Game On.

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Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings

College Football Coaches Hot Seat Top 10 Ranking After Week 11

Which college football coaches are on the hot seat? Which ones have to win now, or else, after Week 11?

Which coaches are on the hottest seats and under the most pressure after Week 11 of the college football season?

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

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Week 11 Roundup
Rankings AP | Coaches | CFN 1-130 Rankings
Week 12 Early Line Predictions | Heisman Race
College Football Playoff Chase, Who’s Alive?
Bowl Projections | Week 11 Scoreboard, Predictions
Big Game Reactions: Baylor, Mich, Ole Miss, more
Coach Hot Seat Top 10 | Bowl Bubble: Who’s In, Out

Washington head coach Jimmy Lake was just sacked.

Washington State’s Nick Rolovich was fired a few weeks ago under far different circumstances, Texas Tech was done with Matt Wells, USC’s Clay Helton has already been hired by Georgia Southern, TCU’s Gary Patterson was unceremoniously let go after a brilliant run, and Ed Orgeron went from owning the college football universe two years ago to playing out the string at LSU.

UConn, UMass, and Akron are starting over, too.

There’s zero patience at this point for college football head coaches who are struggling – heaven forbid if you lose a big November game if you’re already on a hot seat.

Here are ten that might not necessarily be fired with a loss or two, but the alumni and base won’t be pleased.

College Football Coaches Hot Seat Top 10

5. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech

It seems like he hasn’t left the hot seat over the last four seasons, and then, all of a sudden, he’s fine. This might be different.

After a losing season in 2020, the 3-1 start seemed promising with a strong defense and an offense that could just get by. A close loss to Notre Dame didn’t seem like that big a deal, but is was the start of a 2-3 run.

Now at 5-5, losing at Miami would put the pressure on to another level, and look out if Virginia Tech does the unthinkable and loses to Virginia for the second time in three seasons.

4. David Shaw, Stanford

The five-game losing streak has been beyond brutal. Stanford had a nice-looking team coming into the season, it was 3-2 following a shocking win over Oregon, and then it all fell apart to lock in a second losing season in three years. Losing to Cal this weekend would be a big problem.

3. David Cutcliffe, Duke

The guy’s an offensive coaching legend who’s been at Duke since 2008. He took the team to an ACC Championship appearance – yeah, Duke – in 2013, and everything was going fine through 2018.

Since starting out 4-2 in 2019, Duke has gone 6-21 and is now on a six-game losing streak following a 3-1 start. The Blue Devils haven’t been closer than 25 points five of their last six games

2. Rod Carey, Temple

He’s a good guy head coach who can’t get this thing going. After a great run at Illinois and a good start at Temple going 8-5, the Owls have gone 4-13 since then.

Things seemed promising with a 3-2 start and a win over Memphis, but since then the Owls have gone 0-5 by a combined score of 217-35. The O hasn’t scored more than one touchdown in four of the last five games.

1. Butch Davis, FIU

After a terrific start going 23-16 in his first three seasons with three bowl appearances, everything got ugly in a hurry in a winless 2020. Fine, 2020 was 2020 – free passes all around – but this year’s team can’t get off the ground going 1-9 with the lone win coming against LIU.

The Golden Panthers lost 50-10 to a Middle Tennessee team without its starting quarterback, extending the streak to games without a win over an FBS team to 16. The last win over an FBS team was to Miami back in late November of 2019.

NEXT: 5 Coaches Who Won’t Get Fired, But Need A Win

Ed Orgeron, LSU To Part Ways After Season, 5 Possible Coaching Candidates

Ed Orgeron and LSU will part ways after the 2021 season. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the job?

Ed Orgeron and LSU will part ways after the 2021 season. Who are 5 possible candidates to take over the job?

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Ed Orgeron to leave LSU after the season. Good luck, new guy – just recreate the 2019 magic.

There was just no way to possibly follow up the mega-platinum hit album that took America by storm.

Ed Orgeron has always been a phenomenal recruiter and peerless line coach, and he got the job done at LSU. In a division with the Alabama machine never, ever slowing down, and in a conference that’s never, ever slowing down, LSU was able to hold its own.

It always gets lost among the expectations, but you can be phenomenal in the SEC and still not win much of anything. LSU was great under Orgeron, building up over his first three seasons before the epic 15-0 2019 season that ranks among the greatest of all-time.

But the program got hit with the perfect punch.

The 2019 team and coaching staff were gutted, the covid year kicked in and 2020 was rough in every way possible, and 2021 was supposed to be the real rebuilding year.

Everyone still seems tired after the 2019 season, and there were other issues including … uhhhhhh …

It’s been an emotional and intense going-to-be six seasons, Orgeron will always be a legend and made man around the program, and with the impending doom coming – at Ole Miss, at Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M, to go along with a date against ULM – the two sides cut to the chase.

So what’s next? Where does LSU go from here?

The job is one of the biggest and most prestigious in all of football, but 1) it’ll take a guy who has to deal with a fan base that’s old enough to remember 2019, 2) Alabama isn’t going away, 3) the rest of the SEC isn’t going away, and 4) 10-2 isn’t good enough.

So what kind of a powerhouse head coach could possibly handle the gig? Here are five – and more – coaches who should at least get an exploratory phone call from LSU athletic director Scott Woodward.

Let’s start with three big names that will be floated out there, but won’t happen …

5A. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M head coach

Why Jimbo Fisher will be the next head coach at LSU: He’s got the national championship win on the top line of the resumé. He’s one of the few head coaches in college football who got the trophy in the case and is also still at the top of his game, even if Texas A&M has been a bit of a disappointment. He’s the guy who punches his SEC weight with the rest of the league.

Why Jimbo Fisher won’t be the next head coach at LSU: Call this all a negotiating ploy to make an already insanely great deal even better. However, A&M is locked in to Fisher’s massive contract to the tune of close to $100 million after an extension. He’s very, very pricey, even for LSU.

5B. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss head coach

Why Lane Kiffin will be the next head coach at LSU: The guy wins. He was underappreciated at USC – he got the team just as it was getting hit with the Reggie Bush sanctions – and he quickly made Ole Miss a thing. He’s a brilliant offensive coach. Period.

Why he won’t be the next head coach at LSU: He’s Lane Kiffin. Period.

Again, Fisher and Kiffin will be thrown out there – because big-time programs like it when everyone thinks they can go get anyone they want. That also goes for …

5C. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach

Why Mike Gundy will be the next head coach at LSU: The move of Les Miles from Oklahoma State to LSU several years ago worked out just fine for a long time – at least on the field.

Things have been way-too-quiet about Gundy and moving from his alma mater, but he’s one of the few coaches out there who’s been able to survive and thrive for a long, long time despite his school being the clear No. 2 to the the monster rival program.

The expectations at Oklahoma State are a bit different. Of course the program wants to win national titles, but it’s more realistically about being very good every year, getting to good bowl games, and being in the Big 12 Championship chase on a consistent basis.

He’s one of those coaches who has been very good where he’s at, but if he had the elite program recruiting machine to work with, look out.

Why Mike Gundy won’t be the next head coach at LSU: If he was going to leave Oklahoma State, he would’ve left Oklahoma State by now. There’s also the problem of winning – he does it, but 2011 was the one Big 12 Championship and his Cowboys haven’t finished in the league’s top two since 2013.

And then there’s the issue of being Mike Gundy. He can be abrasive, he’s in his 17th year and hasn’t really been a candidate for other places, and there’s the too-recent issue with the One America News t-shirt controversy.

But in the Just Means More world of the SEC, the guy is 6-0 this year with a very, very solid team.

It’s not going to be Gundy.

NEXT: Mel Tucker, Michigan State head coach