The definition of an overrated college football coach is one whose name recognition and salary have created expectations that haven’t been met. Who made the list?
The Most Overrated Coaches In College Football
Call Me Kelly
When Brian Kelly was lured away from Notre Dame by LSU to begin the 2022 season, he was given a 10-year, $95 million contract. Plus perks because $95 million isn’t enough by itself. At the time, he claimed that going to Baton Rouge gave himself a better chance to win a national championship.
Last season, the Tigers opened up with a last-minute loss to Florida State who, at the time, was not “back”. They rebounded to make it to the SEC championship but were blown out by eventual champion Georgia.
His second season began with another loss to Florida State and this one wasn’t close as the Seminoles exploded in the second half and the Tigers imploded. Kelly’s team also gave up 55 points to Ole Miss this year and now have two losses. A third loss almost happened against Missouri. A program known for defense has been horrible on that side of the ball. There will be no playoff appearance this season and LSU will need to play much better down the stretch to have any chance of getting to the conference championship.
The fake southern accent at the basketball game shortly after he was hired and the poor attempt at humor by telling everyone to bring their Columbia jackets to the game at Missouri look worse every day that passes by.
Compared to Brian Kelly, UCLA coach Chip Kelly is making mere peanuts at just over $6 million annually. However, it’s his sixth year at UCLA and his salary was considered big money at the time. Having a great career at Oregon that included a 46-7 record and a national championship appearance, Kelly bolted for the NFL. After a good year in Philadelphia, he followed it up with a disastrous tenure in San Francisco and was let go.
While the UCLA team he inherited was not good, things got off to a bad start as he lost his first five games. While things have improved and the Bruins are a pretty good team, there are no longer any hopes in Westwood that Kelly will bring a national championship let alone a conference championship. His overall record at UCLA is a meager 31-30.
Next year, a move to the Big Ten looms and when you add in additional travel to an already tough conference they will be joining, don’t expect things to get any better.
Highway 6, Aggies 0
There is reportedly at least one sign somewhere in Texas that says that. And the Aggies are always the brunt of jokes in the state. Jimbo Fisher was supposed to change all of that.
Having won a national championship in 2014 at Florida State, Fisher was hired to lead Texas A&M in December of 2017. Given a salary of $9 million per year, expectations were through the roof in College Station. Six years in and Fisher has a 43-23 win/loss record with the Aggies that includes blowing one of the biggest leads in the history of the sport against, you guessed it, UCLA. Like the others mentioned above, there will be no conference championship again and of course no national championship. When Fisher was hired, the expectations were not the Texas Bowl or something similar.
When You Pay For A Lincoln You Expect A Lincoln
Clearly with the most recent success of any coach on the list is USC head coach Lincoln Riley. After amassing an impressive 55-10 record at Oklahoma that included a College Football Playoff appearance and coaching two Heisman Trophy winners, Riley was brought to Los Angeles to lead the Trojans.
His first season was overall good but ended with a disappointing loss in the Sugar Bowl to Tulane where The Men of Troy blew a big lead and lost late. Riley also oversaw the development of another Heisman winner in Caleb Williams.
This season, the Trojans are looking undefeated but there are concerns in South Central. Another huge lead was almost blown again, this time against Colorado. There was also a less-than-impressive road win at Arizona State and last week a triple overtime win against Arizona where the Trojans found themselves down 17-0 early and had to rally for the win.
Riley’s teams in Norman were never known for defense and here we go again. A trip to South Bend against an angry Notre Dame team begins a brutal stretch of the schedule that includes the top teams in the conference. A national championship looks like a long shot and a New Year’s Six game is no guarantee.
Do The Fans In Miami Wish They Had a Cristobal When He Was Hired?
After previous head coaching stops at FIU and Oregon, Mario Cristobal was given a 10-year, $80 million contract to lead the Miami Hurricanes and return to his hometown. Known as an excellent recruiter, Cristobal had success at Oregon but not Chip Kelly-like success and had an up-and-down record at FIU before being dismissed. His reputation as a recruiter gave hope to the fanbase that he could bring back the big crowds the program was known for in their glory days playing in the Orange Bowl and being known as the “Bad Boys” of college football.
So far, the big crowds haven’t returned and his first season leading the ‘Canes resulted in a 5-7 record. This season has gotten off to a good start until last Saturday. Sporting a 4-0 record and having put up 48 points against another coach on the list in Jimbo Fisher.
Needing only to take a knee to put their record at 5-0, Cristobal allowed his team to run the ball and a fumble ensued which was recovered by Georgia Tech. Then, on what would be the last play of the game, Georgia Tech completed a Hail Mary to win the game. This play wasn’t a tip drill or a situation where the receiver out-jumped the defenders. He was wide wide open and the pass hit him in stride perfectly. Game over. Undefeated season gone. ACC championship hopes not gone but diminished. And many questions to answer.
There you have it. The most overrated coaches in college football today.