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CBS Sports Features Ryan Day, More Big 10 Head Coaches in Rankings

There are some great Big 10 coaches heading into 2024 and CBS Sports has six among their top 25, led by Ryan Day.
Big 10 coaches

The head coach position is the most scrutinized in all of college football and CBS Sports recently released its rankings from the Power 4 programs. Every year, jobs change and coaches look to better their situations. Kalen DeBoer, for example, left Washington to fill the massive shoes left behind by Nick Saban‘s retirement.

The Big 10 is home to several prestigious head coaches. In the latest rankings, six of the conference’s coaches landed within the top 25.

CBS Sports Features Numerous Big 10 Head Coaches in Latest Rankings

2. Ryan Day, Ohio State

Only one coach is ranked ahead of Ohio State’s leader. Considering Kirby Smart has two College Football Playoff National Championships, there is not much of an argument. Despite the incredibly high standards at Ohio State, Ryan Day has continued to keep the momentum set forth by Urban Meyer and even improved in some areas.

Ohio State’s recruiting was incredible under Meyer but Day has kicked it up a notch. In his time with the Buckeyes, Day has a record of 56-8, two Big 10 titles, two CFP appearances, and a National Championship appearance. On the field, where Day falters compared to his predecessor is against Michigan. In his seven years at the helm, Meyer lost to Michigan. Meanwhile, Day has lost each of the last three meetings. Where day is better is where those losses come from. Meyer had a few head-scratching losses to bad teams. Day’s losses have only come against CFP contenders.

Despite all of that, Day’s job has been called for over this offseason. The Buckeyes are all in for 2024, so it could be “Natty or bust.”

9. Dan Lanning, Oregon

One of the newcomers to the conference, Oregon’s Dan Lanning has the opportunity to take over. The Ducks have been a consistent contender under Lanning’s watch but haven’t been able to get over the hump. In the first game as the leader of the Oregon program, Lanning was embarrassed by Georgia on national television. Since then, his program has been toward the top of the surprisingly solid Pac-12.

In his two seasons, Lanning has amassed a 22-5 record and has had an incredible offseason leading up to the 2024 season. He was often linked to the Alabama job but elected to stay at home. Last year, he went viral for his “they play for clicks; we play for wins” speech ahead of the game against Colorado. As a result, his Ducks won, 42-6.

All eyes will be on Eugene on October 12 as Ohio State travels to Oregon in what should be a top-10 matchup. Oregon is among the favorites to take home the Big 10 title and easily among the favorites to make the expanded CFP. With another great season, Lanning has the opportunity to move up in next year’s rankings.

10. Lincoln Riley, USC

Easily the most flair among the Big 10 coaches, Lincoln Riley comes over from the corpse of the Pac-12. When it comes to offensive prowess, Lincoln could be considered second to none. He’s coached three Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback, all of whom went on to be the first-overall picks in their respective drafts.

Riley is coming off his worst season in his career. Despite having a top-10 offense, USC’s downfall was thanks to the 15th-worst defense in college football. In total, Riley’s career record sits at 74-18 and 19-8 since joining USC.

With Caleb Williams now off to the NFL and Riley hiring a new defensive coordinator, the Trojans can compete in the Big 10.

11. James Franklin, Penn State

Often, James Franklin’s Penn State teams have been considered third-best at best in the Big 10. Ever since winning the conference in 2016, the Nittany Lions have yet to make a Big 10 Championship Game. Despite that, Penn State has been right there on a number of occasions.

In 10 years at Penn State, Franklin owns an 88-39 record with just one Big 10 title. Considering where the program was when he took over, the fact Penn State is still a power is impressive. Franklin has made a bowl game in every non-COVID season he’s coached. Even in 2020, after dropping each of the team’s first five games, Penn State ended the year with four straight wins.

Penn State continues to recruit at a high level and will be among the contenders in 2024 yet again.

17. Luke Fickell, Wisconsin

The newest Big 10 coach on the list, Luke Fickell left Cincinnati as one of, if not the greatest coaches in program history. He led a Group of 5 program to the CFP, a feat many believed to be impossible. After one full season with Wisconsin, he’s shown reasons for optimism.

Fickel owns an 8-6 record with the Badgers (1-0 in 2022 for the bowl game). Before that, he went 57-18 at Cincinnati and was 6-7 in his lone season as the Ohio State head coach. The future is bright for Fickell and Wisconsin is going to be an interesting program to watch in the now-divisionless Big 10.

18. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

Finally, the sixth Big 10 coach on CBS Sports‘ top 25, the longest-tenured coach in college football, Kirk Ferentz. It’s hard to believe but Ferentz is entering his 26th season as head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

While his program may be a bit of a meme at this point due to its inept offenses, Iowa’s defense and ability to put players into the NFL has been among the elites. The main reason why Iowa has been able to survive since COVID-19 is its defense. Iowa winning 10-7 isn’t a joke, it’s reality.

In his two-and-a-half decade reign, Ferentz owns a 196-199 record while winning half of his 20 bowl games. Ferentz is a two-time Big 10 champion and took home AP and Walter Camp Coach of the Year honors in 2002.

The Rest

CBS Sports ranked each of the 68 Power 4 coaches and finished with the other 12 coaches as:

27. Jonathan Smith, Michigan State
29. Matt Rhule, Nebraska
31. Jedd Fisch, Washington
36. Bret Bielema, Illinois
39. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
40. Greg Schiano, Rutgers
41. Mike Locksley, Maryland
43. Curt Cignetti, Indiana
52. Sherrone Moore, Michigan
53. David Braun, Northwestern
65. Ryan Walters, Purdue
68. DeShaun Foster, UCLA

Big 10 coaches
photo courtesy: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

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