Fans across the country can’t wait for the college football season to kick off. Unfortunately for all of us, that won’t happen for more than two months. In the meantime, it’s always fun to check out various websites’ rankings. The latest, from Athlon Sports, ranks all 14 ACC coaches.
Where does Dino Babers stack up? Near the bottom. In fact, the only coach Athlon has ranked below Babers is Boston College’s Steve Addazio. First off, I should mention how deep the ACC is in terms of coaching. Obviously, you’ve got your guys like Dabo Sweeney, Mark Richt and Bobby Petrino, but there’s a whole host of other coaches who have their programs heading in the right direction. Before we go any further, here’s a look at Athlon’s complete rankings:
14. Steve Addazio, Boston College.
13. Dino Babers, Syracuse.
12. Patt Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
11. Dave Doeren, NC State.
10. Larry Fedora, North Carolina.
9. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia.
8. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech.
7. Willie Taggart, Florida State.
6. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest.
5. David Cutcliffe, Duke.
4. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech.
3. Bobby Petrino, Louisville.
2. Mark Richt, Miami.
1. Dabo Sweeney, Clemson.
In my eyes, the top-five coaches on this list are hard to argue with. The credentials of the top three speak for themselves, while Fuente has successfully continued the Virginia Tech tradition after the departure of Frank Beamer and Cutcliffe is one of the most respected coaches in college football. In terms of Babers’ positioning, I want to disagree, but I can’t. Do I think Doeren and several other of the coaches listed above Syracuse’s head man are better coaches than him? No. But, I also don’t think Babers has done much recently to validate leapfrogging them. Let’s face it: four win seasons with limited road wins and no wins after the buy isn’t exactly getting it done.
Doeren is nothing special. The stars were aligned for NC State last year and they were never in serious contention because of a lackluster performance against South Carolina to open the season. Fedora had a good start at Chapel Hill, but has been exposed in recent years because of his team’s extremely poor defensive play. The only problem? Syracuse has been in that same defensive tier in each of the past two seasons.
Frankly, you could make an argument Addazio deserves to be ranked ahead of Babers. Boston College is a trendy pick to surprise people in the ACC this season, and also torched Syracuse, 42-14, last season in the Carrier Dome. The good news for Babers is that it won’t take much for him to rise in these rankings. As Athlon says in its post, “Babers is regarded as one of college football’s top minds on offense.” Can the third-year head coach translate that into a bowl appearance this season? If he does, you can almost guarantee he’ll gain more respect around the nation.