Your Coach of the Year Candidates

After all the coaching changes this week, it's time for some good news. Here is a list of my top ten Coach of the Year candidates in no particular order. I'm sure you have one not listed here, but these ten certainly deserve accolades.

Bill Snyder (Kansas State)

Record: 9-2

Highlights: Beat Miami, Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas. Reeled off seven straight wins before suffering a first loss.

Prior to the second resurrection of the Bill Snyder era, the Kansas State Wildcats had back-to-back 5-7 seasons. Enter Snyder. In 2009 the Wildcats improved to 6-6 and in 2010 they went 7-6. Snyder's entire "team concept" features sound fundamentals and minimal mistakes.

Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State)

Record: 10-1

Highlights: Beat Texas A&M, Texas and Kansas State. Their only loss (double OT) was to Iowa State on the day the team found out that two of their school's coaches had perished in a plane crash.

Mike Gundy has been so close before but this year his team looks fantastic. If the Cowboys beat the Sooners this week and LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC Championship, there is a possibility that his Cowboys will be playing the BCS Championship. All Gundy needs is an "undefeated in regulation" campaign.

Lane Kiffin (USC)

Record: 10-2

Highlights: Beat Notre Dame, Oregon and UCLA. Lost to No. 4 Stanford in triple OT.

For a second-year coach to have to deal with sanctions is a huge undertaking, but Kiffin not only kept the players focused and motivated, he got them to close out the season with fire and passion. Lane Kiffin won over a lot of haters this year.

Kevin Sumlin (Houston)

Record: 12-0

Highlights: Scored 73 points twice in once season (Rice, Tulane). Ranked first in scoring offense, passing offense and total offense. His quarterback Case Keenum is the most productive passer in FBS at 393.8 passing yards per game. Currently ranked sixth in BCS poll.

Kevin Sumlin is on a lot of athetic directors' minds right now as a potential candiate for their respective schools' coaching vacancies. His high-scoring offense gets ripped for system-like numbers but it's not just about piling up stats—quarterback Case Keenum has the second-highest passer rating among the top 100 quarterbacks in FBS.

Les Miles (LSU)

Record 12-0

Highlights: Beat Alabama, Arkansas and Oregon. SEC West division champions. Ranked No. 1 in all polls. Has the No. 2 defense in FBS.

This year it looks like The Hat won't need any campaigning to get his Tigers in a BCS title game—LSU looks invincible. Despite some off-the-field distractions surrounding his team, Miles kept the Tigers playing at a high level in every facet of the game.

Mark Richt (Georgia)

Record: 10-2

Highlights: SEC East division champions.

Mark Richt was already on the hot seat at the beginning of the season but it got hotter after he dropped his first two games against Boise State and South Carolina. Then he rattled off ten straight wins and put Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

Mark Dantonio (Miohigan State)

Record: 10-2

Highlights: Beat Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin in three consecutive weeks. Big Ten Legends division champions.

Mark Dantonio flies under a lot of radars but this year the spotlight is on him. All that stands between him and a trip to Pasadena is Wisconsin. This year Dantonio proved that last year wasn't a fluke.

Mike London (Virginia)

Record: 8-4

Highlights: ACC Coach of the Year. Beat Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State.

London already had great success with the Richmond Spiders so can we expect the Cavaliers to someday become champions as well? Don't bet against him.

Art Briles (Baylor)

Record: 8-3

Highlights: Beat Oklahoma and TCU. Scored 66 points on Texas Tech. Has a legitimate Heisman candidate in Robert Griffin III.

Baylor used to be the butt of jokes in the Big 12. Now they are feared and the favorites—albeit slight—to beat Texas this Saturday.

Brady Hoke (Michigan)

Record: 10-2

Highlights: Beat Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State. Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Hoke is here for many reasons but none bigger than his turning around a program that has been mediocre for a decade. Michigan is back. And college football is winning as a result.
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