Tuesday Question - Early Coach of the Year

Posted Sep 25, 2006

It's early, but who are the coach of the year candidates so far?

Past TQs
- These three teams are for real, these three aren't
- After 2 weeks, who's better, who's worse?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners | 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team | All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak     
Q: The early, top coach of the year candidate is ...

A: 10. Pete Carroll, USC - How about giving some credit to the guy who lost Leinart, Bush, and White, along with several key players to injury, and still keeps cranking out a juggernaut?
9. Chris Petersen, Boise State - He's keeping the machine rolling. The offense is producing as well as ever.
8. Urban Meyer, Florida - His running game is rolling, and he's doing a great job of getting Tim Tebow involved without disrupting the offensive flow.
7. Dick Tomey, San Jose State - Other than Temple, San Jose State is the toughest program in the nation to turn around. Tomey is doing it.
6. Doug Martin, Kent State - The Golden Flashes were among the nation's worst teams last year, and now it's 2-0 in MAC play and a contender for the title.
5. Bobby Ross, Army - This team has absolutely no D-I talent, but it pushed Texas A&M, beat Kent State, and upset Baylor.
4. Greg Schiano, Rutgers - This is no fluke. Rutgers is playing extremely well.
3. Bobby Petrino, Louisville - He lost both his All-Americans from his backfield and has the team rolling as well as ever.
2. Lloyd Carr, Michigan - He transformed his coaching staff and his team. Now Michigan is in the national title hunt.

1. How many teams could lose their starting quarterback and their number one running back and still start the season 4-0? Well, Louisville can, but the talent pool is much deeper for the Cardinals than it is at Wake Forest.

It's not like the Demon Deacons are full of future NFL stars, and many wouldn't start for most ACC teams, but head coach Jim Grobe has his team playing extremely well on the way to a 4-0 start, and will likely be 5-0 with a layup against Liberty this week. Reality might hit hard against Clemson, but the NC State game is winnable, and so is the road date at North Carolina. Grobe has gotten this team playing well in the clutch and has come up with his best defense yet holding opposing offenses to 266 yards and 9.75 points per game.

Richard Cirminiello  
Q: The early, top coach of the year candidate is ...

10. Bobby Ross, Army – An upset of Baylor and a painfully close loss against Texas A&M has Army believing it can win the Big 12 North.  That’s quite a turnaround for a program that had lost 39-of-42 before getting hot last October.

9. Urban Meyer, Florida – Meyer has seamlessly worked Tim Tebow into the Gator offense without it being a distraction to Chris Leak, and has the Gators where they need to be with Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia next on the schedule.

8. Jeff Tedford, Cal – Plenty of teams wouldn’t have recovered after getting shellacked the way Cal did in the opener with Tennessee.  Three wins later, Tedford has the Bears back on track,  playing with short memories and large expectations.

7. Gary Patterson, TCU – Patterson out coached Texas Tech’s Mike Leach two weeks ago in a signature victory that has the Frogs No. 15 in the latest Coaches’ poll and on target for a potential BCS bowl bid.   

6. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest – As if a 4-0 Demon Deacon start isn’t startling enough, Grobe and Co. has gotten to this point without the services of starting quarterback Ben Mauk or starting back Micah Andrews, who’ve both been lost with season-ending injuries.  

5. Pete Carroll, USC –Even after losing so much talent to the NFL and a tumultuous off-season, Carroll has the Trojans where they’ve been since he arrived—favored to win the Pac-10 and in the national title hunt.  The defense, which is his baby, has been sensational through three games.

4. Tyrone Willingham, Washington – The same Washington team that figured to be 1-3 at this point is 3-1 after back-to-back wins over Fresno State and UCLA.  Credit Willingham with instilling a winning, more physical attitude in a Husky team that won just twice in 2005.

3. Lloyd Carr, Michigan – Carr made a handful of off-season coaching and philosophical changes, all of which appear to be working through the first third of the season.  Michigan’s dismantling of Notre Dame two weeks ago was one of the best overall performances by a team so far in 2006.  

2. Bobby Petrino, Louisville – No Bush.  No Brohm.  No change in expectations.  Louisville has lost its two Heisman hopefuls for extended periods of time, yet is still unbeaten and on course to contend for the Big East title or more.

1. Greg Schiano, Rutgers – Unbeaten and Rutgers used to only be in the same sentence when Miami or Virginia Tech was next on the schedule.  Schiano has Rutgers up to number No. 23 in the rankings, a remarkable accomplishment for a perennial punch line program that hasn’t made a poll appearance since 1976.  The Knights are winning with defense and the running game, but for this story to end as amazing as it’s begun, Rutgers must continue winning the winnable games once Big East play begins this Friday in Tampa.    

John Harris     
Q: The early, top coach of the year candidate is ...

A. So much can change over the next ten weeks of action, but the coach of the year through this point of the year is Michigan’s Lloyd Carr.  365 days ago, there wasn’t a soul living on this earth that could’ve convinced me that Carr would ever be a coach of the year.  But, there’s no other coach who realistically deserves this award at this point.  He made the right changes within his staff this past winter and he’s gotten his team to play up to their expectations each week, not to the opponent’s level of difficulty.  In 1997, he got his team to do the same thing every week – they didn’t just throw their winged helmet out on the field and expect that would win the game.  This team has that same attitude.  They’re showing up every week with the purpose of putting 2005 in their rearview mirror.  That goes back to what Carr has done for this team and for that he’s the early favorite for coach of the year.

Matthew Zemek     
Q: The early, top coach of the year candidate is ...

A: The first four weeks of the college football season--cupcake-filled and dominated by unpredictability--offer a poor sample from which to pluck a "Coach of the Year" candidate. With that said, if one had to arrive at a candidate today, the winner would be Gary Patterson of TCU. Anyone who can hold Texas Tech to three points while keeping a non-BCS school competitive on a national level is doing something really special. Lloyd Carr and Pete Carroll get honorable mention.