Alabama Crimson Tide | Nick Saban
Saban is regarded as one of the best (if not THE best) college football coaches of all time. When your name gets discussed in the company of coaching legends Lou Holtz and Bear Bryant, you’re doing something right. With a couple of brief stints in the NFL (Defensive Coordinator of the Houston Oilers and Cleveland Browns, as well as Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins) Saban has coached and found success in Michigan State, LSU and Alabama.
Saban has won 5 National Championships with Alabama, almost making it 6 with a last-second 35-31 loss to Clemson in the 2016 National Championship. A disappointing way to end a 14-1 season. The loss also snapped a 26-game winning streak. A loss is a loss, but those are some impressive stats.
Not surprising, Saban has only had one losing year as a head coach – his 6-10 2016 record with the Miami Dolphins.
If you consider the fact that Coach Saban has spent a good chunk of his career at LSU and Alabama, he has consistently had success in the SEC, playing consistently against tough (and often nationally ranked) opponents. If you consider the fact that Saban has spent the majority of his career at LSU and Alabama, he has consistently had success in the SEC.
This year, Alabama has started the season 4-0 with wins over #3 ranked Florida State, Fresno State, Colorado State, and a decimating 59-0 win over Vanderbilt. For good reason, they are the #1 nationally ranked team by both the Associated Press and Coaches.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 23, 2017
Clemson Tigers | Dabo Swinney
Coach Swinney has won a National Championship and 3 ACC Championships. He was also named the College Football coach of the year in both 2015 and 2016. His strengths lie in his recruiting and team-building abilities. The Tiger Walk, where fans lineup to welcome the team as they walk into Memorial Stadium hours before kickoff, is a Clemson tradition created by Swinney. It allows players and fans to connect and also gets the players’ intensity levels up. As Coach Swinney puts it himself: “It’s five minutes of intense interaction with the fan base. When you walk through Tiger Walk, there is no way you can’t be ready to play.”
Another staple of a Swinney team is All-In poker chips. Prior to walking onto the field, each player puts their poker chips into the All-In Bucket, signifying their intent to give 110% that day and leave everything on the field. Each player receives a chip for every game the team has played that year, signifying how far they’ve come.
Coach Swinney is the only coach in college football to beat a top 25 ranked team in a bowl game each of the last five years.
Swinney has led the 2017 Tigers to a 4-0 start, with wins over Kent State, #13 ranked Auburn, #14 ranked Louisville, and Boston College. The Tigers rank #2 nationally in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls.
🎙 Quotes: #CLEMvsVT 🎙
🐾 Wilkins pic.twitter.com/ync9fApDmh
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) September 26, 2017
Oklahoma Sooners | Lincoln Riley
First things first, Riley is 34 years old – making him the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision. However, given the fact that he was calling the offense at Texas Tech when he was just 26 years old – he comes with a bit of experience beyond his age.
Riley is known as a players’ coach, something his age might actually help – as he can better relate to and connect with his players. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield (and Heisman candidate) has said of Riley, “I have never been around a more relatable, genuine, caring, and hardworking coach.”
Riley is also known for his offensive prowess, helping ignite the Sooners offence joining the team as an assistant coach before being named head coach. In 2015, Riley won the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant coach in college football.
So far this season, the Sooners have gotten wins over UTEP, #2 ranked Ohio State, Tulane, and Baylor. They rank #3 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls.
This @OU_Football hype video that Sooners coach @LincolnRiley tweeted is 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GJ4tFJqnCH
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 21, 2017