Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/526035

Contents of this Issue


Page 126 of 163

THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 125 1. Urban Meyer — Ohio State: There is no better college football coach in the country presently than Meyer, who knocked Alabama's Nick Saban off that perch with the Buckeyes' 2014 NCAA semifinal win over the Crimson Tide. In three seasons at OSU, Meyer is 38-3 and 24-0 in conference regular-season play. He has dropped just one game total to a Big Ten foe (Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten title game). 2. Mark Dantonio — Michigan State: In 2013, Dantonio led Michigan State to a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory, and he followed up that campaign with another top-five finish (No. 5, AP poll), a bowl win (Cotton over Baylor) and a double-digit win season (11-2). Over the past five seasons, Dantonio is 53-14 overall and 32-8 in league play. 3. Jim Harbaugh — Michigan: Some may argue Harbaugh is too high here, having been out of college football for four years, and that he must prove himself at Michigan. However, Harbaugh has a better career winning percentage (college and pros) than any coach in the Big Ten, at .688, other than Meyer (.845). 4. Jerry Kill — Minnesota: It took Kill three years to win his first conference title with Southern Illinois (2003) and three years to win a division title with Northern Illinois (2010), and he's on track with Minnesota, guiding the Gophers to a 16-10 mark over the past two seasons. He has also led Minnesota to three straight bowls for the first time since the Ma - roon and Gold went to five in a row under Glen Mason from 2002-06. 5. James Franklin — Penn State: Franklin overachieved at traditional SEC basement dweller Vanderbilt, going 24-15 from 2011-13 with back-to-back 9-4 campaigns. In two recruiting cycles at Penn State, he has signed the No. 24 (2014) and No. 15 (2015) classes, improving the talent quotient considerably. At 7-6 a year ago in his first season at PSU, Franklin is still answering critics, who claim he is overrated as a coach. 6. Kirk Ferentz — Iowa: It's been a long time since Iowa won a Big Ten title (2004), and many in Iowa City are wondering if Ferentz has lost his touch for turning under-recruited Hawkeyes into a team of champions. Iowa is 34-30 over the past five years. In the new Big Ten, residing in the West Division should be an easier path to the conference championship game, and Ferentz may not have a better chance to strike than 2015. 7. Mike Riley — Nebraska: Cornhusker fans and some media pundits argue Riley was a home run hire for Nebraska, but his record tells another story. In 14 seasons with Oregon State, Riley went 93-80 (.538 victory percentage), winning 10 games or more just once while failing to win a Pac-12 title during a tenure in which seven different league members claimed at least a share of the championship. 8. Pat Fitzgerald — Northwestern: Just three seasons ago, Northwestern went 10-3 and was the toast of Chicago after winning its first bowl game (Gator Bowl over Mississippi State) in 64 years. It's been rocky for Fitzgerald since — the Wildcats went 5-7 in both 2013 and 2014, including 1-7 and 3-5 marks in conference play during campaigns when NU was regarded as a dark-horse favorite to emerge as the division champion. 9. Kyle Flood — Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights' boss receives very little respect, but he's a very respectable 23-16 in three seasons (.590 winning percentage), leading Rutgers to six wins or more in each of his opportunities. Rutgers faces a greater challenge in the Big Ten than in the Big East or AAC, but Flood led the program to an 8-5 record in 2014 and a fourth-place tie in the East Division of the Big Ten. 10. Paul Chryst — Wisconsin: This might end up being the worst ranking on the list, with Chryst walking into a dream job in which the program's well-built system of offensive line/running game prowess practically runs itself. Still, Chryst didn't exactly show off his coaching acumen at Pittsburgh, going 19-19 overall, with a 10-13 mark in conference play. 11. Randy Edsall — Maryland: More than a few respected college coaches think Mary - land could be a breakout program over the next few years after leaving the basketball- intense ACC for the football-focused Big Ten. The question persisting, though, is whether Edsall, 20-30 in four seasons with the Terrapins, is the right man for the job. 12. Tim Beckman — Illinois: There were calls for Beckman to be replaced after just one season, albeit a 2-10 campaign in which the Fighting Illini went 0-8 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2005. Coming off 7-6 seasons in 2010-11, Illinois expected more. Beckman's second year wasn't much better (4-8), but he finally turned the momentum in his favor with a 6-6 regular season and bowl berth in 2014. 13. Kevin Wilson — Indiana: Patience is wearing thin in Bloomington after the Hoosiers took a step back in 2014 (4-8) from the 5-7 campaign Wilson engineered in 2013. Some of it wasn't his fault — IU lost its top two quarterbacks to injury by midseason — but at 14-34 in four seasons, the former Oklahoma offensive coordinator needs a winning year and a bowl berth. 14. Darrell Hazell — Purdue: The Boilermakers dumped Danny Hope after four seasons because he was consistently mediocre (22-27), but they have to be disappointed with Ha - zell so far. After a 1-11 debut in 2013, he improved Purdue's win total by only two in 2014. Hazell did lead Kent State to an 11-3 mark in 2012, but a head coach of only two seasons before arriving at Purdue, he may not have been quite ready for big-time (Big Ten) football. Big Ten Coaches Power Rankings During his first three seasons in Columbus, Ohio, head coach Urban Meyer produced a 38-3 overall record — including a 24-0 mark in regular- season conference play — and guided the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and the national championship in 2014. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

view archives of Michigan Football Preview 2015 - 2015 Michigan Football Preview