At this point last season, we ranked Oklahoma as the top coaching duo in the Big 12. It was a pretty easy call.
Although the football program was coming off an 8-5 season, Bob Stoops presided over a program that won 10 games or more nine times in 16 years to that point. And although Lon Kruger rarely led spectacular seasons, he had a long track record of taking over troubled programs and turning them into contenders.
A year later, the stature of the Stoops-Kruger tandem has only grown. Stoops led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff, and Kruger has at times this year had the No. 1 team in the country. It wouldn’t be a surprise if OU produces a final four team in both sports.
As we start our college football-college basketball tandem rankings, it’s important to note that we are attempting to value balance — i.e., which schools have an above-average coach at both position? That’s why some programs with an elite football coach and a new (or struggling) basketball coach will be ranked lower than one might expect.
Football: Bob Stoops
Basketball: Lon Kruger
After one of his worst seasons at Oklahoma in 2014, Stoops reinvented his offense with a new coordinator and landed in the College Football Playoff. In 17 seasons, Stoops has led OU to 10 top-10 finishes and nine Big 12 titles. His basketball counterpart knows even more about longevity: He’s the only coach who has taken five teams in the NCAA Tournament (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma). With Buddy Hield on board, Kruger might reach his second Final Four in what could be a Hall of Fame career.
Football: Art Briles
Basketball: Scott Drew
A decade ago, Baylor was a non-factor in both college football and basketball. These days, Baylor is doing things that a program like Texas should be doing. Football has topped 10 wins and been ranked in the top 15 in four of the last five years. Basketball hasn’t shown the same year-in-and-year-out consistency, but two Elite Eights and a Sweet 16 in seven seasons is a notable achievement for a program with four NCAA appearances before Drew arrived.
3. West Virginia
Football: Dana Holgorsen
Basketball: Bob Huggins
Holgorsen hasn’t matched the 10–3 season and an Orange Bowl win in 2011, WVU’s last year in the Big East. Life in the Big 12 has been tougher (20-23 in four years). In the last two seasons, Huggins has shown again why he’s won more than 700 career games, reinventing his program into “Press Virginia.” West Virginia has reached the Sweet 16 or better three times under Huggins, including the 2010 Final Four. No other West Virginia coach has been in the final 16 more than twice.
Football: Gary Patterson
Basketball: Trent Johnson
Considering where TCU started under Patterson — moving from the WAC to Conference USA in his first year — perhaps no program’s rise into a national power is more astonishing. The Horned Frogs have won 10 games or more 10 times since 2002, a feat topped only by Alabama, Boise State, Ohio State and Oklahoma. TCU basketball, on the other hand, has been left behind.
Football: David Beaty
Basketball: Bill Self
Self may wrap up Kansas’ 12th consecutive Big 12 title, a streak in a power conference that may never be matched again. If the Jayhawks win a conference title next year, they will match UCLA’s run of 13 consecutive conference titles under John Wooden. Again this is a tandem ranking so one of the top coaches in college basketball is balanced with a former position coach who went 0-12 in his first season with the worst Power 5 football program.
Football: Charlie Strong
Basketball: Shaka Smart
After back-to-back losing seasons, Strong is under pressure to turn Texas around. With a strong close on National Signing Day and a shake-up in the athletic department, Strong may have the resources to do so. Smart, meanwhile, is exceeding meager expectations in his first season with the basketball program and has the Longhorns on track for the NCAA Tournament.
7. Kansas State
Football: Bill Snyder
Basketball: Bruce Weber
Snyder is college football’s greatest miracle worker. Under Snyder, Kansas State has won 65.6 percent of its games with 17 bowl appearances. Without Snyder, K-State has won 38.9 percent of its games with two bowl appearances. The basketball program won 27 games in Weber’s first season, but it has been treading water since that year ended with a first-round upset loss to La Salle in the NCAA Tournament.
8. Oklahoma State
Football: Mike Gundy
Basketball: Travis Ford
Gundy should become the first 100-win coach in Oklahoma State history. The Cowboys haven’t matched the 2011 Big 12 championship season, but Pokes have won 10 or more games in four of the last six years. A bad contract (from Oklahoma State’s perspective) has saddled the Cowboys with a basketball coach with a losing Big 12 record and one NCAA Tournament win in eight seasons.
9. Texas Tech
Football: Kliff Kingsbury
Basketball: Tubby Smith
The return of Kliff Kingsbury has yet to produce a breakout season for the Red Raiders. Kingsbury’s 10-17 Big 12 record includes a 1-11 mark against Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU. The hire of an aging Tubby Smith to one of the toughest jobs in the Big 12 was a head-scratcher. If the Red Raiders reach their first NCAA Tournament since 2007, the Smith hire will look like a stroke of genius.
10. Iowa State
Football: Matt Campbell
Basketball: Steve Prohm
Campbell (Toledo) and Prohm (Murray State) both proved their ability to run programs at a lower level. Campbell has the tall task of winning at one of the Power 5’s toughest jobs. Prohm has the impossible task of stepping into the shoes of a wildly popular predecessor.