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Ranking the coaches: Where does Mike Riley sit?

Ranking the coaches: Where does Mike Riley sit?

Friday Night Lights, 6.24.16

Joseph Lewis (left)of Los Angeles talks with Nebraska coach Mike Riley and Huskers defensive back Chris Jones on Friday during the Friday Night Lights camp at Memorial Stadium.

Before you hit this link and study these rankings of college football coaches, it's worth thinking about Kirk Ferentz.

I remember one year not too long ago seeing the Iowa coach on a list that rated him as one of the bottom five coaches in America. Pretty harsh and likely quite inaccurate, it seemed, even though the Hawkeyes were in the midst of struggles at the time.

Well, look at Captain Kirk now. After last year's 12-2 record, The Sporting News has him ranked No. 23 among all coaches. He must've learned to coach a lot in the last year.

So, yes, much like those coaches' hot seat lists you'll see on the Web, three good or bad months in the fall can change everything drastically. Still, people click on these things like nobody's business. They want to know where their guy is at.

So where's Mike Riley at?

Sporting News, much like of the fan base in Lincoln, is obviously still taking a wait-and-see approach with Riley.

He currently sits No. 48 on its coaching rankings list, right in front of West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen and right behind Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson.

In fairness to the Sporting News writers, they didn't overreact to Riley's first season at Nebraska, dropping him just two spots from where they had him last year despite a 6-7 mark in Year 1 in Lincoln.

Here are SN's rankings of the Big Ten coaches:

14. Darrell Hazell, Purdue

13. Chris Ash, Rutgers

12. D.J. Durkin, Maryland

11. Tracy Claeys, Minnesota

10. Kevin Wilson, Indiana

9. James Franklin, Penn State

8. Mike Riley, Nebraska

7. Lovie Smith, Illinois

6. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin

5. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

4. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

3. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

2. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Of note nationally, Oregon's Mark Helfrich is ranked No. 12 among all coaches, right behind Stanford's David Shaw. The top coaches according to Sporting News:

10. Les Miles, LSU

9. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

8. Gary Patterson, TCU

7. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

6. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

5. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

3. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

1. Nick Saban, Alabama

So if you believe those rankings three of the six best coaches in America reside in the Big Ten, all in the East Division.

Reach the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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