Sporting News: Tom Izzo, Mark Dantonio 2nd-best coaching tandem; Michigan duo No. 18

The Detroit News
Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio (left) and basketball coach Tom Izzo rank second in the Sporting News top 20 football/basketball coaching tandems.

Fans of Michigan and Michigan State, for the most part, have it pretty good when it comes to the state of their men's basketball and football programs.

There appears to be few down seasons for the Wolverines and Spartans. Yes, there was the 3-9 nightmare of 2016 for the MSU football team, but it was erased by a 10-win campaign the following season. And, sure, Michigan has yet to win anything substantial (or beat Ohio State) under Jim Harbaugh, but 10 wins in three of his four seasons is nothing to sneeze at.

Add in the recent dominance of both basketball programs — Michigan State has won the last two Big Ten regular seasons, and the two have won the last four Big Ten tournament titles — and fans have something to look forward to each fall, winter and spring, it seems.

The Sporting News' recent list of top collegiate football/basketball coaching duos seems to reflect as much.

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo rank second on the top 20 list, while Harbaugh and Michigan first-year basketball coach Juwan Howard check in at No. 18.

Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News wries the rankings take into consideration "the overall quality of leadership — including past successes and future upsides ..." 

Izzo and Dantonio bring heavyweight credentials, with Izzo leading the Spartans to eight Final Fours (including last season), and a 2000 national championship. Dantonio, meanwhile, has six seasons of at least 10 wins in his 12 seasons in East Lansing, including three Big Ten championships and a College Football Playoffs appearance.

They have a combined career record of 731-300 (.709 winning percentage).

"Sparty has enjoyed a party with these two guys," Iyer writes, "with Dantonio bringing the big bowls and Izzo delivering excellence that includes a natty and eight Final Fours."

Michigan's spot on the list undoubtedly is weighed down by Howard's first foray as a college basketball coach, replacing John Beilein, who left for the NBA after 12 stellar seasons in Ann Arbor.

Harbaugh is 38-14 in four seasons at Michigan.

"The Wolverines love to talk about how important 'Michigan men' are to their programs," Iyer writes. "Now they have former star player power on both their football and basketball teams. Harbaugh has led Michigan to 10-win campaigns in three of his four seasons in Ann Arbor, and Howard is a fine hire in replacement of John Beilein."

North Carolina's Mack Brown and Roy Williams lead the list.

Other notables include:

► No. 5 Alabama, which includes two coaches with Michigan ties in former MSU head coach Nick Saban and former Romulus boys basketball coach Nate Oates.

► Kansas checks in at No. 6, aided by the arrival of former Michigan football player and assistant coach Les Miles.

► Notre Dame is No. 7, with former Grand Valley and Central Michigan head football coach Brian Kelly teaming with Mike Brey.

► Former Michigan State basketball assistant and Mount Pleasant native Tom Crean helps Georgia check in at No. 10.

► Ohio State is No. 17, with Ryan Day entering his first full season as the Buckeyes' head football coach, teaming with basketball coach Chris Holtmann.