Top 10 List: Coach of The Year

As we're about two-thirds of the way into the college football season, the coaching carousel is slowly stirring, waiting to get up and roar during the offseason. And, with a lot of surprises this season (Louisville at 2-6?), the season should feature a lot of upheaval.

But, among the madness of the offseason, there's been some fantastic coaching performances so far. And, no doubt, some of these names are going to be heavily courted in a few months. So who's done the best so far? Here's my top 10 list for 2018 Coach of the Year.

1) Mark Stoops, Kentucky

The SEC East division crown will be settled on Saturday night at Kroger Field. Think about that. Stoops has Kentucky 7-1, 5-1 in the SEC and an overtime loss from being undefeated. Big Blue Nation no longer has to wait until basketball season; football is in and is hot in the Commonwealth. Stoops has made Kentucky a relevant football power and that definitely puts him at the top of the list.

2) Nick Saban, Alabama

He's built about as perfect a team as you can get and, had it not been for the miracle season that Kentucky is having, he'd easily be the top pick here. Saban has turned Alabama into a smooth-running football factory. The question now is when does he hand over the keys? And honestly, who wants to follow in this guy's footsteps?

3) Bill Clark, UAB

Staying in the same state, it's amazing to see that, just two years after reinstating their football program, Clark has UAB at 7-1 and at the top of the Conference USA's Western Division. Clark has been fiercely loyal to the school, having been hired before UAB President Ray Watts disbanded the program and staying with the school after bringing the program back. His loyalty and the foundation he built is admirable; it's be interesting to see what, if anything, could pry him away from Birmingham?

4) Mike Leach, Washington State

Wazzu was patient with Leach, knowing he'd have to pretty much start from square one to build the Cougar program. Though Leach came close to becoming Tennessee's coach in the offseason, he's probably glad he stayed in Pullman as the fruits of his labor are paying off. WSU is 7-1, tops in the Pac-12 North and with Alex Grinch's defense complimenting the Leach offense, the Cougars are as dangerous a team as there is in the nation.

5) Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia

Let this sink in, as well. Virginia is in the driver's seat in the ACC Coastal. The Cavaliers are no longer the perennial cellar-dweller that they've been for years. UVa is 6-2 (with a puzzling loss to Indiana), and they'll be tested with road games at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech to finish the year. But the simple fact that Virginia is sitting at the top of the division right now is enough to merit a top 10 ranking for Mendenhall.

6) Matt Wells, Utah State

After three straight clunkers of seasons, Wells has brought the Aggies back in spectacular fashion. USU is 7-1; their one defeat a near upset of Michigan State. That regular season finale at Boise State looks to be the decider in the Mountain West's West division, yet don't be surprised if it's the Aggies that triumph on the Smurf Turf.

7) Jeff Monken, Army

His rebuild of the Black Knights program has been phenomenal. West Point has been solid since their opening loss to Duke, including giving Oklahoma a massive scare in Norman. Army's triple option is absolutely brutal; they grind the game to the tempo of their choosing and totally control the clock. Army has a fantastic chance to keep the Commander-in-Chief's trophy again this year.

8) Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Time and time again, the Wildcats are overlooked but here we are, nine weeks into the season and there sits Northwestern at the top of the Big Ten West. Northwestern continues to be the thorn in so many sides, thanks to Fitzgerald and his typically solid offensive attacks.

9) Matt Campbell, Iowa State

The Cyclones weren't going to sneak up on anyone this year, yet they beat West Virginia, gave Oklahoma a heck of a battle and sit just a game out of first place in the Big 12. ISU likely will be bowling again this year ... all they need now is a visit from College GameDay. Side note ... c'mon, ESPN. Ames would come unglued with a visit; you guys should make the trip.

10) Steve Addazio, Boston College

Another fantastic job of laying a foundation and building something out of what was an epic dumpster fire of a situation. After suffering a miserable 3-9, 0-8 season, the Eagles are 6-2, 3-1 in the ACC Atlantic and have a solid win over Miami to their record (though with the Red Sox playing, very few people noticed).

Comments and Conversation

November 1, 2018


Dino Babers? No? Only a 4 point loss to Clemson and an OT loss to Pitt away from being undefeated at a school that was awful when he took over.

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