3 titles in 4 years. 'nuff said. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

3 titles in 4 years ’nuff said. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Having looked at conference contenders and potential MVPs it’s time to turn our attention to the sidelines. Head coaches are extremely important to a school and are often the program’s face. Garnering increasing importance and attention are assistant coaches, so this installment will look at the 10 best coaches as well as the 5 worst head coaches right now with some consideration given to past success. I’ve decided to change from the conference theme because if done that way, then it really wouldn’t be a reflection of the best coaches in the country.

Top 10 Head Coaches
1) Nick Saban – Alabama
No surprise here. When you can bring in national titles every year and recruit top flight talent on a regular basis, the top spot is secured. He has Bama in the National Title discussion every year by default.

2) Chris Petersen – Boise State
Despite playing against average competition, Petersen has built a nationally recognized program. Last year was supposed to be a rebuilding one with Kellen Moore gone, yet they still went 11-2. He never gets top recruiting classes, yet there always seems to be one Bronco taken in the 1st or 2nd round of the Draft each year.

3) Urban Meyer – Ohio
He certainly has his critics, but it’s hard to argue with his results. He wins everywhere he coaches and has parlayed that into some top recruiting classes. It’s entirely possible he could have another undefeated season.

4) Brian Kelly – Notre Dame
Yes the Irish got bulldozed by Alabama, but Kelly took a team that had some big flaws all the way to the title game, going undefeated before then. He hasn’t let the weight of the ND program crush him like it has previous coaches and keeps reeling in top recruits which will set the team up for years to come.

5) Pat Fitzgerald – Northwestern
No coach does more with less than Fitzgerald. Like Petersen he turns low ranked recruiting classes into winners. Consider that the three games the Wildcats lost last year were by a combined 19 points. They could be a divisional threat when the B1G goes to West/East in 2014.

6) Gary Patterson – TCU
No matter the competition, Patterson always leads the Horned Frogs to impressive records. Last year was an aberration of sorts as they transitioned to the Big 12, but their coach is one of the best defensive minds in the game today.

7) Bill Snyder – Kansas State
To turn around a losing program is noteworthy, but to do it twice and at the same school both times? There’s no magic formula that the Wizard of Manhattan follows, he just wins and with lower caliber talent to boot.

8) Les Miles – LSU
While the Mad Hatter has become known for his ‘School of Clock Management’, Miles nevertheless consistently coaches 10+ win teams. He’s able to do this thanks to recruiting classes that are consistently in the top 10.

9) David Shaw
Post-Harbaugh hangover? All Shaw, one of the most underrated coaches in the country, has done in two years is go 23-4 with Pac-12 and Rose Bowl titles last season. He has the Cardinal ranked preseason top 5 and primed for another BCS run.

10) Bob Stoops
The Sooners did fall apart against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, but they did manage to win 10 games. Stoops will always have the team in the Big 12 title and BCS discussion. They expect big things in Norman and Stoops delivers on a consistent basis.

Honorable Mentions
He could absolutely be in the Top 10 in a few years, but Louisville’s Charlie Strong really only has one big season and has to have a longer track record before moving up. Some would put Kevin Sumlin on the above list, but it’s more an overreaction to his huge first year in College Station, plus as good as he was at Houston, those teams never won a C-USA championship. Head Ball Coach just missed the cut, but will move up when he eventually breaks through the logjam and wins an SEC title with South Carolina. One guy who doesn’t get enough credit is Mike Riley of Oregon State as he consistently wins in the Pac-12 without the resources of more prestigious schools. Finally something must be said about Bill O’Brien. He walked into a horrible situation with Penn State and somehow managed to lead the team to an 8-4 record despite the sanctions and media scrutiny.

Worst Coaches
Now naming the worst coaches can be quite harsh and even when some teams have bad records, there are extenuating circumstances. However, there are two coaches who deserve special mention. Lane Kiffin left his previous head coaching stints with the Raiders and Tennessee under acrimonious circumstances and made no friends in the process. 2011 was his one good year at USC, but last season they were absolutely horrible, going from preseason #1 to unranked at the end. He has few big wins and even more bad losses, despite always pulling in top recruiting talent. However, he’s not as bad as Charlie Weis who just might be the worst head coach in college football. He was overrated when he came to Notre Dame and started losing when he only had his own recruits. He came back to college last season, only to end up with a one win season at Kansas where he intimdated the student newspaper. So to fire them up to turn things he calls the team a ‘pile of crap’? Good luck getting that to work Chuckles.