When College Football Coaches Go Bad

The Bleacher Report posted an interesting take today on their ‘The 11 Worst College Football Coaching Performances of the 21st Century.’ Somehow, I knew I’d come running across a familiar name to Nebraska fans and surely enough, there he was sitting at #4.

Said the author about Bill Callahan: ‘Twenty-two losses in four years. Legendary Cornhusker coach Bob Devaney lost only 20 games in his entire career at Nebraska. Frightening.’

Here’s a look at the list:

11. John L. Smith, Michigan State
10. Ron Zook, Florida
9. Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
8. Mike Shula, Alabama
7. John Mackovic, Arizona
6. Mike DuBose, Alabama
5. Ed Orgeron, Mississippi
4. Bill Callahan, Nebraska
3. Gary Crowton, Brigham Young
2. Greg Robinson, Syracuse
1. Ty Willingham, Washington

Of course, this list is very subjective. Greg Robinson and Tyrone Willingham definitely deserve the 1 and 1A spots here. After that, take your pick. However, the coaches here all come from BCS schools (except BYU) where expectations are higher than the rest of the D-1 schools.

I’m a little surprised that there was no mention of Dave Wannstedt, who despite having talent is sitting at a disappointing 25-23 overall. Former San Diego State coach Chuck Long surely deserved a top 10 spot here as well. Long, the former OU assistant, propelled the Aztecs to a 9-27 record over three years including a 2-10 record in his final season in 2008. And if you are going to throw in Bill Callahan, Ron Zook, and Ed Orgeron in this list, then surely former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell deserves a spot right next to them. Callahan was 27-22 at Nebraska with two bowl games and one conference championship game while Dorrell was 35-27 in 5 seasons at UCLA, with a winning record in conference play in only one season. Sylvester Croom was 10-30 in SEC play and 21-38 overall in five painstaking years for Mississippi State fans.

As far as the future holds, I can see a few candidates closer to home to keep an eye on for this list. Texas A&M’s Mike Sherman went 2-6 in conference play in his first season and 4-8 overall. With a reloaded Big 12 in 2009, I see Sherman struggling to get 2 wins in conference play again this season. Auburn’s Gene Chizek went 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State and 2-14 in conference play. If he matches that at Auburn, then it’s going to be a long, long time before he sees a heading coaching gig again. Then there’s Lane Kiffin, who is 0-0 thus far in his college football coaching career. However, I see a colossal disaster written all over Neyland Stadium in the years to come.

All in all, it’s definitely a fun list to look at it. And not surprisingly, many of the names above have one common denominator – the NFL.

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