7:17 PM EST, November 25, 2012
At first glance, Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp don't have much in common besides the obvious Florida connection. Meyer has coached two national championship teams, while is Muschamp in his second season as a head coach.
However, both coaches have done masterful jobs this season and both are considered coach of the year candidates. Here is a breakdown of the coaches I think deserve recognition:
Will Muschamp, Florida
About around this time last year, I received a plethora of e-mails calling for Muschamp's head following the Gators' 21-7 loss to Florida State. I preached patience and it looks like my advice was right. Muschamp's resurgence happened sooner than I thought. Florida's 11-1 season is nothing short of a miracle, especially considering the way the Gators have played. They may not be sexy, but they do get the job done. A Sugar Bowl berth could be the payoff for Muschamp and Florida.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Love him or hate him, you can't take away the fact that Urban Meyer knows how to coach. He's proven that time and time again at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and now Ohio State. It was during his time at Utah that he captured his first coach of the year award after leading the Utes to an undefeated season and BCS bowl appearance. Eight years later, he's back in contention for top honors. This time, things have been a bit tougher with Ohio Stated hampered by NCAA sanctions that include a postseason ban.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Next to president of the United States, no job in world is as front-and-center and scrutinized as being head coach at Notre Dame. Kelly found that out the hard way and, while it may have taken some time, he is starting to restore a bit of the luster and shine that has been missing from the Golden Domers. If he wins a national title this season, he will join Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz as the only coaches to win a national title in their third years at Notre Dame.
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
When you think coach of the year, Sumlin's name probably doesn't pop right into your mind, but it should. The Southeastern Conference isn't for the faint of heart. The Aggies are playing their first full season in the SEC after transitioning from the Big 12. While A&M wasn't expected to make much of an impact, the Aggies have shaken things up with the help of Heisman Trophy contender Johnny Manziel. The team's 10-win season is the program's best since 1998.
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
With more than 50 years of coaching experience, Snyder is the elder statesman of this group. You know you've been around a long time when the stadium you play in is named after you. It's been Snyder's leadership that has made the Wildcats a potential national championship contender for part of the season. Despite a loss to Baylor, Kansas State can still have one of its best seasons since 2003 and earn a spot in another Fiesta Bowl.
More coaching casualties
With the college football regular season effectively over for many schools across the country, the coaching carousel has begun to swing into high gear. It stated with Auburn firing Gene Chizik after a disappointing 3-9 season, including a humiliating 49-0 loss to Alabama in Saturday's Iron Bowl that left the Tigers winless in the Southeastern Conference for the first time in more than 60 years.
Then NC State fired Tom O'Brien following a 7-5 season. He had just finished his sixth season with the program. He posted a 40-35 record, including a 22-26 record against ACC opponents.
Purdue fired Danny Hope after four seasons and a 21-27 overall record. According to the school, Hope won't coach the team in its bowl game this season.
At Boston College, new athletic director Brad Bates decided a change was needed and announced the firing of Frank Spanziani after a disappointing 2-10 season. Spanziani spent four seasons as the head coach of the Eagles, putting together a 22-29 record and 13-19 mark in the ACC.
Eight more teams joined the ranks of bowl eligibility this week bringing the total up to 71 teams who have qualified for the 35 postseason bowl games. However, Miami's decision to impose a postseason ban drops that number to 70.
Three teams — Georgia Tech, Connecticut and Pittsburgh — can become bowl eligible this upcoming week with wins.
Meanwhile, Louisiana-Lafayette and Utah State accepted bowl bids this weekend to the New Orleans and Famous Idaho Potato bowls, respectfully, joining Air Force (Armed Forces), Navy (Fight Hunger) and BYU (Poinsettia)with schools locked into bowl games.
On the web
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