Michigan's Brady Hoke ranked 4th-best Big Ten coach by Sporting News, trails rivals Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio
Michigan's Brady Hoke was named the Big Ten's coach of the year last year. But at least one publication doesn't think he's the league's top overall coach.
In fact, he's fourth -- with both of his biggest rivals ranked ahead of him.
Sporting News' Steve Greenberg ranked the Big Ten's coaches, and crowned Ohio State's Urban Meyer No. 1. Wisconsin's Bret Bielema came in at No. 2, followed by Michigan State's Mark Danontio and then Hoke.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Hoke went 11-2 in his debut season in Ann Arbor, and led the Wolverines to their first BCS win since 2000. He also toppled Ohio State, halting Michigan's seven-game losing streak against its chief rival.
But Buckeyes' interim coach Luke Fickell has since been replaced by Meyer, who swiftly cobbled together a superb 2012 recruiting class -- one that is ranked ahead of the Wolverines' heralded group.
His reputation as a coach also precedes him, after capturing two national titles at Florida. Sporting News cites that reputation for naming Meyer its top Big Ten coach, before he's even coached a Big Ten game.
"There’s no way to look at this man’s credentials and put him anywhere other than in the top spot," Greenberg wrote. "No matter that he’s never won a Big Ten game, nor that he ended poorly at Florida before sitting out 2011. About those creds: two national titles; a 7-1 bowl record; a 12-0, Fiesta Bowl-winning season at Utah; 17 victories in two years at Bowling Green. Ridiculous."
Dantonio also is ranked ahead of Hoke, after guiding Michigan State to consecutive 11-win seasons -- and, of course, four consecutive wins against the Wolverines.
"Dantonio’s 11-2 season in 2010 — during which he was confronted by a frightening health crisis — represents one of the great coaching performances of the 2000s," Greenberg wrote. "His 2011 Spartans, who likewise won 11 games, were even better.
"Brady Hoke’s Michigan program may have more upside, but Dantonio is the best coach in the state right now."
Rounding out the rankings behind Hoke are Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Nebraska's Bo Pelini, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Minnesota's Jerry Kill, Illinois' Tim Beckman, Purdue's Danny Hope and Indiana's Kevin Wilson.
Clearly, Meyer, Bielema, Dantonio and Hoke comprise the upper crust of Big Ten coaches right now. Who would you rank No. 1? And is Hoke too high, too low or just right?
Read the full Sporting News story by clicking here.