There is too much football to be played to figure out who will actually win coach of the year. We also can’t give it guys like Les Miles and Nick Saban because they are doing what we expected. We usually give the award out to a coach who took a team with lower expectations and made them better. There are several guys on the list worth noting.
1. Dabo Swinney – Clemson
Clemson was supposed to be okay this year but no one expected them to be this good. With an 8-0 record, the Tigers are ranked sixth in both the AP and Coaches polls. They seem to be getting stronger each week. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has emerged as one of the best in the nation and is starting to get some Heisman consideration. Sammy Watkins, the true freshman wide receiver, has been making big plays and is also in some Heisman discussions. The Tigers never seem to panic and that’s a testament to Swinney who has instilled supreme confidence in his team. There’s is something special about the 2011 Clemson Tigers and Swinney has gone from being on the hot seat to a coach of the year candidate.
2. Bill Snyder – Kansas State
Kansas State was supposed to be a Big 12 bottom dweller this season. Instead they are undefeated and are ranked in the top 10. The Wildcats have been playing a relentless style of football where they hit opponents in the mouth on both sides of the ball. No one exudes the K-State toughness more than QB Colin Klein who maybe be having the best all around season of any single player in the country. The road gets extremely tough for Kansas State and if they can win a few of them, Snyder will win yet another coach of the year award. There are some who say Snyder may be one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football. If you see Kansas State’s record without Snyder at the helm you see what people are talking about.
3. Butch Jones – Cincinnati
The Bearcats are 6-1 and ranked in the top 25 in both polls. Cincinnati was supposed to be pretty good this year but they have exceeded expectations. Riding a four game win streak, it’s possible Jones can take the Bearcats to a BCS game if they keep handling their business. If Cincy can win the Big East, Jones deserves votes for coach of the year.
4. Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State
The reason Gundy deserves to be on the list is because Oklahoma State is in position to have the greatest season in their history. If The Pokes run the table, Gundy will be credited for finally getting the team over the hump. It’s a long way until the end of the season but the Cowboys will control their own destiny for a trip to New Orleans.