Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh at No. 10 is the highest-rated Big Ten coach on the Sporting News’ annual rankings of FBS college football coaches. But there is strength in numbers, as the Big Ten has the most coaches in the top 25 with seven. The SEC is next with six.
Harbaugh is followed by Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio at No. 13, Penn State’s James Franklin at No. 14, Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst at No. 16, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald at No. 18, Ohio State’s Ryan Day at No. 22 and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at No. 25.
The top three are Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher.
Harbaugh moves up one spot in the rankings from last year.
The Sporting News’ Bill Bender on Harbaugh: “Harbaugh is the top-ranked Big Ten coach, and we know you hate it. It's the truth until the season starts. Harbaugh has the ninth-best record among Power 5 coaches at their current school with at least a full season. He's 7-4 against Mark Dantonio, James Franklin and Paul Chryst, and he'll get a first chance at Ryan Day this season. That's the game Harbaugh must win to live up to top-10 billing. Still mad about it? Well, he's taking Urban Meyer's spot for now.”
Dantonio fell four spots in the rankings after a 7-6 record.
“Dantonio has maintained stability in East Lansing, and the Spartans return a strong defense in 2019 that should be able to compete for another Big Ten championship,” Bender says. “That said, Michigan State is 20-18 since making the College Football Playoff, and that includes a 1-5 record against Michigan and Ohio State.”