A common consensus amongst fans and sports media is that Nick Saban is the best coach in college football. Considering just the totality of his accomplishments, it is hard to argue that there is a better coach. However, constructing the argument in a more intelligent manner and looking past just accomplishments, it is easy to see that there is a better coach than Saban. Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football. This season Ohio State had 17 new starters and still made their way into the playoff. Two years ago he won a national championship with a third string quarterback. Saban has had trouble in his career finding one quarterback. Not only has Urban Meyer found ways to defy logic and win championships but he has won consistently throughout his career. Next time someone goes on about how great the Saban dynasty is and how unbeatable Alabama is you should just tell them that Saban is lucky Meyer left the SEC. Meyer dominates Saban’s career while being much younger.
Career Records (College)
Urban Meyer: 165-28 (.855)
Nick Saban: 204-60 (.773)
The most basic way to judge coaches is on their career win percentage. Urban Meyer is unrivalled by anyone in college football when it comes to win percentage. Saban would need to go unbeaten in basically the next five seasons to come close to the level Meyer is at. Now I know what you’re thinking, Alabama might actually go unbeaten in the SEC over the next five seasons. That is why Saban is lucky that Meyer left. Too bad Saban is going to have to run into Meyer in the playoffs regularly.
Current Job Records
Urban Meyer: 61-5 (.924)
Nick Saban: 113-18 (.863)
Meyer and Saban are currently at their peak level jobs.. They both coach at schools with similar prestige and looking at their current job records is more indicative of who is a better coach than simply career records. Meyer still dominates. Also don’t forget what happened when they met for the first time at these jobs. Ohio State came into the game nearly double digit underdogs with a third string quarterback. They won. Inferior talent but superior coaching.
Urban Meyer: 10-2 (.833)
Nick Saban: 10-8 (.555)
Bowl games are a unique test for coaches for a few reasons. First, there are normally two evenly matched teams: as teams qualify for these games based on performance in the regular season. There are not many match-ups in the regular season where both teams are of even ability. Second, teams typically play against unfamiliar teams and styles. The ultimate test of a coach is to be able to scheme in order to beat any opponent. Not just those you match-up well against. These games also have great meaning and significance that you cannot replicate in the regular season. In bowl games coaches also have a healthy roster and an experienced group of players. These games hold extreme significance in judging a coaches ability. Good coaches are going to be able to prepare their team given the abundance of time. Poor coaches are going to lose a lot of these games because they do not have the acumen to beat teams that are evenly matched and they rely simply on having more talent than other teams. Great coaches are like Urban Meyer who just dominate in bowl games. They win because of their superior intellect and their ability to beat any type of team. Coaching matters and Urban Meyer is the best. It is not even close.
Some will still argue that the totality of accomplishments point towards Saban being a better coach. I concede that he has accomplished more, but do these same people argue that Bill Russell is better than Michael Jordan? When evaluating talent you cannot simply look at accomplishments.
David Szymanski (@Szymanski96)
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