In this golden age of offensive football in terms of new and innovative ideas, who are best of the best – the top ten offensive coaches in college football?
According to the old saying, defense wins championships. But maybe not as much as it used to.
In today’s era of college football, explosive offenses not only sell tickets and earn the headlines, they win their fair share of championships as well.
For example, the Auburn Tigers rode their offense to the BCS National Championship in 2010 despite allowing 24.1 points per game, which ranked 53rd among 120 FBS teams that season. In the title game, Auburn beat the dynamic Oregon Ducks, who have become an annual contender for the Pac-12 Championship thanks to their high-octane attack.
More recently, Baylor and TCU shared the Big 12 crown last year and narrowly missed out on the first College Football Playoff thanks to two of the most explosive offensive units in the game. And of course, the playoff was ultimately decided between two of the nation’s best offensive teams, Ohio State and Oregon, after two of the best pro-style offenses in the country, SEC champion Alabama and ACC champ Florida State, were knocked out.
- Mike Bobo, HC, Colorado State
- Cam Cameron, OC, LSU
- Sonny Combie & Doug Meachem, Co-OCs, TCU
- Paul Chryst, HC, Wisconsin
- David Cutcliffe, HC, Duke
- Jimbo Fisher, HC, Florida State
- Hugh Freeze, HC, Ole Miss
- Tom Herman, HC, Houston
- Dana Holgorsen, HC, West Virginia
- Brian Kelly, HC, Notre Dame
- Mike Leach, HC, Washington St.
- Jim McElwain, HC, Florida
- Phillip Montgomery, HC, Tulsa
- Dan Mullen, HC, Mississippi State
- Hal Mumme, HC, Belhaven
- Ken Niumatalolo, HC, Navy
- Mike Norvell, OC, Arizona State
- Bobby Petrino, HC, Louisville
- Steve Sarkisian, HC, USC
- Bill Snyder, HC, Kansas State
- Steve Spurrier, HC, S. Carolina
- Kevin Sumlin & Jake Spavital, HC & OC, Texas A&M
- Kevin Wilson, HC, Indiana
Active offensive minded coaches have built or rebuilt programs at Navy, Duke, Kansas State, West Virginia, South Carolina, Texas A&M – and others are soon to follow.
It’s simple. Great offensive minds become great offensive coordinators. More often than not, those coordinators are given opportunities to become head coaches. In today’s pressure-packed college football landscape, with recruiting and funding necessary in order to win tomorrow being nearly important as winning today, many athletic directors are turning to top-notch offensive minds to run their football teams (you know, to win games, sell tickets and win championships).
Look to the list of honorable mentions to the right à The vast majority are head coaches now, but many were offensive coordinators recently that have earned a reputation as one of game’s the top X’s and O’s chess masters as assistants.
Some, like Steve Spurrier and Bill Snyder, have proven their worth over a long timeline (including the recent discovery that Snyder and co-offensive coordinators Dana Dimel and Del Miller’s K-State offense spreads defenses out more than any in the nation). Others like Phillip Montgomery, Tom Herman and Mike Bobo are getting their first crack at a head gig after lighting up scoreboards as coordinators at Baylor, Ohio State and Georgia, respectively.
Simply put, we are currently living in the golden age of offensive football, and the college game is the breeding ground for many of the innovative and exciting new ideas we see on Saturdays. So, who are best of the best – the top ten offensive coaches in college football?
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