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College Football 2011 Coaching Awards

Who was the best Coach in 2011? Who under-acheived? Over-acheived?


2011 is officially in the books. It was another amazing season of college football. As we enter the postseason, with already 25 new coaches set to take the reigns in 2012, let's look back over 2011 hand out our coaching awards for who we think, by the numbers, outperformed their coaching peers:

Coach of the Year - Nick Saban

With a decisive 21-0 victory over Les Miles' LSU Tigers in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, Nick Saban secured his third National Title and his place as one of the great head coaches in modern football history. For the 2011 season, Coach Saban was our highest rated CBTN Head Coach. When it comes to the numbers, there aren't many areas where Coach Saban's team didn't excel. His team averaged almost 35 points per game and gave up an astonishingly low 8.15 points per game. Coach Saban's team also had the highest positive spread between converting on 3rd Downs on offense and forcing 4th Downs on defense. However, the most impressive statistic was the fact that that all 12 of Bama's victories in 2011 were by 14 or more points. This stat is even more impressive when you consider that Alabama played the 15th toughest schedule in the country. Nick Saban is a true master of his craft and we salute him with the CBTN Head Coach of the Year Award.

Offensive Coordinator of the Year - Paul Chryst

Coach Chryst was not our number one rated offensive coordinator By The Numbers. In fact, Coach Chryst was not our second rated offensive coordinator By The Numbers. Coach Chryst ended the 2011 season as our 4th rated offensive coordinator (3rd if you consider that Randy Clements and Phillip Montgomery are Co-OC's at Baylor). So, how and why are we giving our Offensive Coordinator of the Year Award to Paul Chryst? The four coaches who rated higher than Coach Chryst according to our CBTN proprietary formula all have one thing in common: they serve as offensive coordinators under head coaches who have offensive backgrounds and are highly involved in every aspect of the offense. Coach Chryst serves as the offensive coordinator under a head coach who has a defensive background and whose involvement in the offense is certainly limited, if only relatively so. When it came to the numbers for 2011, we felt as if Paul Chryst could truly call his stats his own. Speaking of numbers, let's take a look at a few for Coach Chryst (numbers in parenthesis represent national ranking)

Avg. Scor. Off. Avg. Tot. Off. 3rd Down Eff. TOs Lost Pts. Per Play Yds Per Play Rush Yds Per Game Rush TDs Per Game
44.1 ppg
469.9 ypg
235.57 ypg

And what's really amazing about Wisconsin's 44.14 points per game is the fact the next closest average scoring offense in the Big 10 was Michigan at 33.31 ppg. Coach Chryst is leaving Madison to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers, and we are pleased to send him off with the 2011 CBTN Offensive Coordinator of the Year Award.

Defensive Coordinator of the Year - John Chavis

John Chavis, aka "The Chief", has been proving his mastery of defensive football for over a decade now. John Chavis ended the 2011 season as our highest rated defensive coordinator and his numbers are just plain gawdy. Here are a few stats to consider (numbers in parenthesis represent national ranking):

Avg. Scor. Def. Avg. Tot. Def. 3rd Down Eff. Turnovers Gained Pts. Per Play Yds Per Play Rush Yds Per Game % of Games Giving Up 10 or Less Pts
11.29 ppg
261.50 ypg
0.18 ppp
4.08 ypp
90.07 ypg

What really makes The Chief's numbers even more impressive is the fact that LSU played the 7th hardest schedule in all of college football (including Alabama twice). Additionally, Chavis matched wits with four of the game's most prolific and innovative offensive minds (Chip Kelly, Dana Holgorsen, Gus Malzahn, and Bobby Petrino). These four offensive masterminds averaged just 18.75 points per game against The Chief this year. Overall for 2011, these four coaches averaged 36.54 points per game. All Hail The Chief as the 2011 CBTN Defensive Coordinator of the Year.

Overachiever of the Year Award - Bill Snyder

If you have spent any time on our site, you will know that we are huge fans of Bill Snyder. When it comes to coaching, Bill Snyder has to be considered one of the greats of all time. In fact, if he had been able to pull off another upset against Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, he would have more than likely been our Head Coach of the Year. Here is all you really need to know on this one: Over the last four years, Kansas State has had an average recruiting ranking (per of 80 (out of 120 teams). This season, Kansas State played the 8th toughest schedule in college football. Of their 13 games, 10 were played with inferior talent. Kansas State finished the season 10-3, with its three losses coming against two Top 5 teams and Oklahoma, who finished the season ranked 16th by the AP. Bill Snyder proved once again in 2011 that he may just be, as Barry Switzer noted, the coach of the century.

Underachiever of the Year Award - Rick Neuheisel

If you have spent any time on our site, you will also have noticed that we are not very high on Rick Neuheisel. Over the last four years, Neuheisel has had an average recruiting class ranking of 19 (out of 120). During this time, Coach Neuheisel had three top 10 recruiting classes and signed 38 players that were rated as four or five star prospects. With this in mind, let's look at a few numbers. UCLA played nine games this season with superior talent and played six teams who finished the 2011 season .500 or worse. UCLA finished the season 6-8, was 1-7 against teams finishing the year over .500, and lost six games by 14 or more points. Coach Neuheisel was rightly fired before the end of the 2011 season and it is our pleasure to close his out his reign at UCLA with the 2011 CBTN Underachiever of the Year Award.

Best New Head Coach - Hugh Freeze

Since Arkansas State joined the ranks of the big boys (FBS) in 1992, the Red Wolves had never won more than six games and had only one season in which they won more games than they lost. In his first year as head coach, Hugh Freeze led Arkansas State to a 10-3 record, an undefeated conference record, and a Sun Belt Conference Championship. The Wolves led the Sun Belt Conference in Scoring Offense and were second only to FIU in Scoring Defense. To say the very least, Coach Freeze did one heck of a coaching job in his first year with the Red Wolves. He did such a good job that Ole Miss decided to make him the next coach of the Rebels. Congratulations to Coach Freeze on a remarkable year. Good luck in Ole Miss (you will need it), and we hope the 2011 CBTN Best New Head Coach Award will make the year just a tad bit sweeter for you.

CBTN Vegas Coach of the Year - Sonny Dykes

He had a pretty solid year on the field (8-5 with a bowl loss to TCU), but he had a really great year off the field against Vegas. Overall, Sonny Dykes finished the season 11-2 ATS and was 7-0 ATS as an underdog. Vegas consistently underestimated Coach Dykes, and rewarded all bettors handsomely. Our CBTN Money Rating for Coach Dykes this year was +$880, meaning if you would have bet the standard $110 ATS on every game he coached this year, you'd be up +$880. Congratulations to Coach Dykes for winning the award that no coach (except Pete Rose) would ever care to win. The 2011 CBTN Vegas Coach of the Year Award is all yours Sonny.

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