Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Ten: The Next Coaching Powerhouse?

What we're witnessing (if Stewart Mandel's postulate comes to fruition) is the migration of coaching talent to the Big Ten and there following the ascendancy of the conference back to elite (read: SEC) levels.

Truth be told, with Ohio State the only truly elite program in the Big Ten, and repeatedly coming up short when it counted most, the SEC is better top to bottom right now. But the difference isn't the mythical 'Southern Speed,' it's coaching.

Look at number of household name coaches in the SEC last year: Phil Fulmer, Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Mark Richt, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Tommy Tuberville (and, some might argue Houston Nutt).

Counting Bobby Petrino this year for a total of 8 elite level coaches, it is no wonder that with this embarrassment of riches, the SEC is College Football's most dominant league.

By comparison, the Big Ten had just three coaches worthy of mention in the same breath as the above: Lloyd Carr, Joe Pa and Jim Tressel. (Kirk Ferentz, Joe Tiller and Ron Zook deserve possible inclusion in the 'household names' category, but few would argue they are on par with any of the SEC bunch, save possibly Nutt.)

In this case, Joe Pa himself deserves special consideration as a coach who (almost everyone but the most shameless Penn State homers would agree) is well past his prime and in modern usage no longer 'elite.' So the prospect of swapping in Schiano for Paterno on the heels of the Rodriguez for Carr deal, in my eyes is a net win for the Big Ten in terms of coaching strength.

Some out there even think Zook has the tools to be elite, but one thing is certain, with the SEC as saturated at it currently is, young coaching talent will be looking elsewhere for opportunities and I think we'll see more of this stuff landing in fertile, Midwestern pastures.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Schiano just looks like a coach.