FanPost

Ranking the ACC's Top Coaches by the Numbers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After lurking on STS for years, I finally decided to sign up and share with everyone. I pulled together some stats from all of the ACC's head coaches and created a valuation index based on records, achievements, etc. Since my family and friends get exhausted by how often I'm throwing out complicated stats, I figured there would be no better forum for my "special" brand of football analysis.

The following chart consists of all of the ACC's current coaches (new head coaches are excluded since they lack any data points). It is essentially a measure of how successful each program has been under a coach over their career at that school and also on a per year basis. So, for example, Frank Beamer has been around for an eternity so his overall index is huge. Looking at a per year basis (a more useful statistical evaluation tool) Jimbo Fisher obviously dominates with his great success over a short period of time.*Just to clarify, the index only covers a coaches career at his current school.

The overall index is based on win-loss record, record against the top 25, top 10 AP finishes, top 25 AP finishes, bowl wins, BCS bowl appearances, BCS bowl wins, conference championships, title game appearances and national championships. A few statistical notes: I chose to include Bobby Petrino with his previous stint at Louisville - you can take that or leave it. Frank Beamer has been around since the dawn of time, so I had to fudge his stats and include his major bowl appearances as "BCS bowls" even though they weren't yet.

As far as the formula for the index, it's beautiful and complicated and highly classified. Really though, it's pretty simple. At the base are winning percentages and number of wins against top 25 teams and overall record. Additional points are given based on all the other factors, with a national championship being worth double a conference championship, a top 10 AP finish being worth about as much as a BCS bowl win, and a regular bowl win being the least valuable stat. If you have any questions about the weight of each item, feel free to ask/criticize.

Top 25
Overall
School Coach W L W L Top 25 Top 10 Bowl W BCS L BCS W Conf. Champs. NC L NC W Yr. Per yr. Overall
FSU Fisher 9 5 45 10 4 2 2 0 1 2 0 1 4 30.7 122.9
Louisville Petrino 4 5 41 9 3 2 1 0 1 1 0 0 4 19.0 76.2
N. Dame
Kelly 7 7 37 15 2 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 4 17.3 69.3
Clemson Swinney 9 13 51 23 4 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 5.5 15.7 87.0
Va. Tech Beamer 43 50 224 109 16 7 7 6 2 7 1 0 27 15.4 415.9
GT Johnson 7 12 48 32 2 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 6 9.6 57.5
Pitt Chryst 3 4 13 13 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 7.0 14.1
Syracuse Shafer 0 3 7 6 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6.3 6.3
UNC Fedora 0 4 15 10 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 5.8 11.5
Miami Golden 3 6 22 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5.0 15.1
BC Addazio 0 2 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3.8 3.8
Virginia London 3 6 18 31 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2.9 11.6
Duke Cutcliffe 2 13 31 44 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 2.7 16.3
NC State Doeren 0 2 3 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.8 0.8

It's important to keep in mind that this isn't purely a ranking of how good or successful a coach is. It is very specific to each school and the index has to be taken in the context of each program. I don't think anyone believes that David Cutcliffe is the second worst coach in the ACC. Having said that, we can take some interesting points away. As of right now, Jimbo Fisher's FSU program is clearly the cream of the crop in the ACC. After that, Bobby Petrino's Louisville program"**see above, Dabo Swinney's Clemson program, and Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech program round out the top tier of the league. I threw in Notre Dame for good measure as well.

Ultimately, there are no real surprises here. If there were one, it might actually be that Dabo finds himself nicely tucked in that top tier. With Petrino's reign being disjointed and Virginia Tech several years removed from the success that gave Beamer a nice number, it's clear that FSU and Clemson are the top two programs in the ACC under their current coaches.

After a significant drop off, Paul Johnson's GT program leads the middle of the pack followed by Pitt, Syracuse, UNC, and Miami. BC, Virginia, Duke, and NC State bring up the rear. It would be interesting to compare some of these coaches to their predecessors to get a better sense of how successful they have been for that specific school compared to other coaches. I again point out the unusual case of Duke and David Cutcliffe.

In the future, I would like to post the top 25 coaches and see how Dabo and other ACC coaches stack up nationally. Hint: (Fisher through Beamer are in the top 25).

Finally, as a fun exercise, I decided to apply the index to former Clemson coaches so we could compare the past and present. The fudging of BCS bowls still applies.

Top 25 Overall
Coach W L W L Top 25 Top 10 Bowl W BCS L BCS W Conf. Champs. NC L NC W Yr. Per yr. Overall
Swinney 9 13 51 23 4 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 5.5 15.7 87.0
T. Bowden 13 22 65 43 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 9.5 7.2 68.3
West 3 12 31 28 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 4.0 20.0
Hatfield 7 7 32 13 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 14.1 56.3
Ford 18 11 96 29 7 3 5 0 0 5 0 1 11 19.5 214.6
Pell 3 3 18 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 19.4 38.7

I think this worked out how most people would rank Clemson football coaches since Ford. Ford, then Swinney, then Hatfield, then Bowden, then West. Some people have an irrational hatred of Ken Hatfield, but the numbers don't lie. His tenure crushes those of Bowden and West.

That's all for today folks. I hope everyone enjoys stats as much as I do. Feel free to discuss.

-

These opinions are not necessarily those of the Proprietors of Shakin' The Southland.

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