Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz is someone who many in Iowa City feel does not quite get his due. Sure, he gets some respect from the national media. Most rank him in the top 20 coaches nationally, but he’ll be ranked below some coaches that boggle the minds of Hawkeyes fans.
Lists will have him below fellow Big Ten coaches such as James Franklin, others somehow behind Iowa State’s Matt Campbell even though there’s not really much to support that argument. However, it seems that the perception may be starting to change, at least among those who watch the conference closely.
In Wolverines Wire’s latest ranking of all the head coaches in the Big Ten, the Iowa skipper ranked first, even above Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
How we determined these rankings are pretty simple: records, longevity, and highest AP finish in the polls. Also, some other factors came into play like recruiting — and recruiting challenges that teams run into like academic restrictions that a team like Michigan or Northwestern may face, or the challenges that teams like Iowa or Illinois may face to get recruits to come to play for them. If a coach can overcome those challenges, like Kirk Ferentz has done for 23 years at Iowa, that bolstered their ranking. – Trent Knoop, Wolverines Wire.
Ferentz versus Harbaugh and Ohio State’s Ryan Day is a very interesting argument, one possibly without a right answer. Between those three—and it should absolutely only be those three in the running for the top spot—how you judge a coach’s success plays a huge role in your ranking.
This list is valued Ferentz’s longevity of success despite Iowa’s lack of top-tier recruiting as the most important factor. Others might disagree, arguing that he’s never brought Iowa atop the big dance as Day and Harbaugh have.
Ferentz’s highs have not reached the heights of Michigan or Ohio State’s in recent years. Of course, both Michigan and Ohio State pull in higher-ranked recruits, but many will see that as a boost to their rankings as well.
There’s an easier argument to be made for Ferentz over Harbaugh. The younger Harbaugh’s tenure before this year was seen as a bit of a disappointment, but the real debate is against Ryan Day.
Day has not been doing this nearly as long as Ferentz, only a head coach for three seasons now, but he’s already been to a College Football Playoff national championship game and has only lost four games total. Which do you value more? Being very good for a long period of time, or being elite for a few seasons?
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