Pro Football Focus analyst Seth Galina ranked the 20 best head coaches in college football but left Ohio State’s Ryan Day off his list.
Despite Day’s impressive resumé as leader of the Buckeyes, Galina did not include him as one of the top college coaches in the country.
Galina said he examined coaches beyond career wins, losses and efficiency rankings. Instead, he looked at the opportunity to win games as the most significant factor in placing each coach in their respective positions.
The list also includes coaches that do not receive much national attention but have significantly impacted their programs. Hence, the list consists of coaches from both Power Five and Group of Five schools.
“These college football head coach rankings are a shoutout to the underdog and the unwanted, a chance to recognize those who might be in the national spotlight but deserve their moment for clawing their programs up from the depths and steering it toward a new, compelling future,” Galina said.
Here are the top head coach rankings, according to Galina:
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- Dabo Swinney, Clemson
- Kirby Smart, Georgia
- Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
- Dan Mullen, Florida
- Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
- Matt Campbell, Iowa State
- Kyle Whittingham, Utah
- Lance Leipold, Kansas
- Mack Brown, North Carolina
- Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
- Brian Kelley, Notre Dame
- Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
- Mark Stoops, Kentucky
- Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
- Tom Allen, Indiana
- Jeff Monken, Army
- James Franklin, Penn State
- Billy Napier, Louisiana
- P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
Galina justified leaving Day off his list because he believes Day has not met the criteria to be a top college football coach.
Critics claim that Day inherited a talented roster and future recruiting classes from Urban Meyer and that his tenure as head coach has only lasted two seasons. Therefore, Day’s immediate success belongs to Meyer and his staff.
Still, it is crucial to acknowledge Day’s ability to take a good thing and, in some ways, make it better than it already was. He is 23-2 with two trips to the College Football Playoffs, including a national title appearance last season. Under Day, Ohio State is now consistently grouped with Alabama and Clemson as three perennial championship contenders.
Day’s improvement in recruiting is also something to consider. In 2020, Ohio State finished fifth nationally with 25 commits, including three five-stars and 14 four-stars. In 2021, the Buckeyes finished second with 22 commits, including six five-stars and 13 four-stars, while also taking five of the top 10 recruits in the country. The 2022 class is currently unrivaled atop the team rankings.
The future is bright in Columbus, Ohio, and Ohio State enters the 2021 season with title aspirations. Maybe a national championship will be enough to land Day’s name on PFF’s top college coaches next season.