Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State team could only manage a 7-6 record last season and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t beaten Ohio State.
But that hasn’t diminished their value much, in the opinion of writers from CBS Sports.
Dantonio finished No. 13 and Harbaugh No. 15 in CBS Sports’ annual writers’ poll of the top Power Five coaches in college football. Both improved three spots over last year’s poll.
Michigan State lost three of its last four games, including 7-6 to Oregon in the Redbox Bowl.
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli on Dantonio’s ranking: “This is one of the more surprising results of our 2019 rankings. I have a bunch of respect for Dantonio as a football coach, and he had an amazing stretch at Michigan State – one that very well could continue. If the Spartans win at least 10 games for the seventh time in 10 seasons, nobody should be too surprised.”
Michigan, too, had an awful finish to its season, getting crushed by Ohio State, 62-39, and by Florida in the Peach Bowl, 41-15, to finish 10-3.
“The one thing that will define Harbaugh both as a coach and at Michigan is his ability to beat Ohio State and win Big Ten titles,” Fornelli says. “He's done neither to this point.”
The top five in the rankings are Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Washington’s Chris Petersen, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher.
Penn State’s James Franklin is No. 11 and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald is No. 16.