Earlier this week, 247 sports released a ranking of the top ten coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers just found his way onto this list. Here’s what it looks like:
1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
2. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest
3. Mario Cristobal, Miami
4. Mack Brown, UNC
5. Dave Doeren, NC State
6. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt
7. Jeff Hafley, BC
8. Scott Satterfield, Louisville
9. Mike Norvell, FSU
10. Dino Babers, SU
Throwing Dabo at the top is obvious, he’s rebuilt Clemson into a well-oiled machine since he took over in the late 2000’s. It’s interesting to see Clawson right behind the Tigers’ head man. Where would Wake Forest’s leader have been slotted heading into the 2021 season? Probably near the top five, but an 11-win season in Winston-Salem is a very big deal.
Cristobal at three is a bit of a reach. The former Oregon head coach won a Rose Bowl and a few Pac-12 titles but hasn’t really done much besides that. The jury is still out on the former Miami Hurricane, it’s not for Brown though. The former Texas head coach experienced sustained success in Austin and has quick turned things around in Chapel Hill. Yeah, UNC struggled in 2021 but Brown is still easily a top three coach and better than Cristobal at the very least.
Doeren and Narduzzi are both deserving of top three placement. The former has turned NC State into a perennial contender in the ACC Atlantic. The Wolfpack finally got the Clemson monkey off of their proverbial back last season and now shift their sights for even bigger and better things this fall. The latter was a dominant defensive coordinator at Michigan State and just led his squad to an ACC title out of thin air. Pitt is a hard place to win at, Narduzzi has consistently found a way to do it.
Seven through nine can honestly be flipped and swapped in any order one sees fit. Hafley is still largely unproven as a head coach. The former Ohio State offensive coordinator has had some bad bounces with injuries and is still waiting for that big, eye-opening season. Honestly, Satterfield has shown much more promise and deserves to slide up to seven. The Louisville head coach has built a dynamic offense behind Malik Cunningham and the recruiting is really starting to pick up as well.
That leaves us with an under-achieving head coach in Norvell at Florida State, and another in Babers at ‘Cuse. Granted, things were in a rather precarious place when the former Memphis head coach arrived in the Sunshine State, but FSU recruits itself and the results have not been promising. We’ll see if anything changes in year three.
So if Babers gets the ten spot, which four coaches was he deemed better than? Mike Elko (Duke, 1st year), Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech, 9-24 through 3 seasons), Tony Elliot (Virginia, 1st season), Brent Pry (Virginia Tech, 1st year).
So as you can see, this is a bit of a cop out. Babers is better than three coaches who have never served the head coaching role. Then there’s Collins down in Atlanta who has really struggled since taking over in 2019. So Syracuse has a top ten coach in the ACC. Yay.. idk.
If I were to make the top ten list, here’s what it would look like: