Table of Contents

    Introduction

    In the passionate world of football, coaches play a defining role. College football coaches, in particular, are a special breed. They not only shape the strategies and performances of their teams but also mold young athletes during some of the most formative years of their lives.

    The college gridiron has been the crucible where many coaching legends have been forged. From innovation and leadership to adaptability and resilience, these coaches are the embodiment of excellence in sports. This article pays homage to the greats, those who’ve left an indelible mark on the NCAA, and why they are so vital to the essence of college football.

    Why Are They Regarded As GOATS

    A GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in the realm of college football coaching is more than just a winner. They possess an extraordinary blend of tactical acumen, motivational prowess, ethical standards, adaptability, and a unique ability to develop talent. The following coaches not only have impressive win records but have shaped the game in profound ways, left lasting legacies at their respective institutions, and have often defined the era they coached in. Let’s explore the top 10 best college football coaches of all time.

    The Top 10 Best College Football Coaches of All Time

    10. Frank Leahy, Notre Dame

    National Championships: 4 (1943, 1946, 1947, 1949)

    Overall Record: 107-13-9

    Frank Leahy’s stint at Notre Dame is synonymous with success. Coaching from 1941-1953, his teams were characterized by robust defense and efficient offense. Leahy’s coaching philosophy emphasized discipline, hard work, and innovation, creating an era of dominance that is still remembered as one of the golden periods in Notre Dame’s history.

    9. Woody Hayes, Ohio State

    National Championships: 5 (1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970)

    Overall Record: 238-72-10

    Woody Hayes was a firebrand, known for his intense passion and relentless drive. Coaching at Ohio State from 1951 to 1978, Hayes turned the Buckeyes into a powerhouse, winning five national titles. His “three yards and a cloud of dust” philosophy encapsulated a hard-nosed approach that became a hallmark of Ohio State football.

    8. Pop Warner, Various Teams

    National Championships: 4 (1915, 1916, 1918, 1926)

    Overall Record: 319-106-32

    A coaching innovator and one of the game’s early giants, Pop Warner’s influence is felt even today. His long and illustrious career includes stints at Georgia, Cornell, Carlisle, Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Temple. Warner is credited with numerous innovations, including the wingback position, the double-wing formation, and the use of shoulder and thigh pads.

    7. Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma

    National Championships: 3 (1950, 1955, 1956)

    Overall Record: 145-29-4

    Bud Wilkinson’s reign at Oklahoma from 1947 to 1963 was one of systematic excellence and innovation. He led the Sooners to three national titles and an astonishing 47-game winning streak, a record that still stands today. Wilkinson’s coaching was marked by precision, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of perfection.

    6. Bobby Bowden, Florida State

    National Championships: 2 (1993, 1999)

    Overall Record: 377-129-4

    Bobby Bowden’s charm, wisdom, and football acumen turned Florida State into a football powerhouse. Coaching from 1976 to 2009, Bowden’s Seminoles were known for their explosive offense and rugged defense. His ability to connect with players and his unshakeable faith in his team’s abilities made him one of the most beloved figures in college football.

    5. Knute Rockne, Notre Dame

    National Championships: 3 (1924, 1929, 1930)

    Overall Record: 105-12-5

    Knute Rockne’s impact on football goes beyond his impressive record. He revolutionized the game with his use of the forward pass and tactical innovations. Coaching Notre Dame from 1918 to 1930, Rockne’s leadership, motivational ability, and strategic brilliance are still regarded as some of the finest in the history of the sport.

    4. Eddie Robinson, Grambling State

    National Championships: NA (Over 17 conference titles)

    Overall Record: 408-165-15

    Eddie Robinson’s contribution to college football extends beyond his impressive win record. As the head coach of Grambling State from 1941 to 1997, Robinson was a trailblazer in promoting opportunities for African-American athletes. His commitment to education, character-building, and social change made him an iconic figure both on and off the field.

    3. Tom Osborne, Nebraska

    National Championships: 3 (1994, 1995, 1997)

    Overall Record: 255-49-3

    Tom Osborne’s 25-year coaching career at Nebraska is marked by consistency, character, and success. Under his guidance, the Cornhuskers became synonymous with power football and academic excellence. Osborne’s ability to blend tradition with innovation made him one of the most respected figures in college football.

    2. Bear Bryant, Alabama

    National Championships: 6 (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979)

    Overall Record: 323-85-17

    Bear Bryant’s name is synonymous with success and tradition at Alabama. From 1958 to 1982, Bryant’s Crimson Tide was a force to be reckoned with. His disciplined approach, tactical brilliance, and ability to adapt to changing times made him a legend. Bryant’s iconic houndstooth hat is still a symbol of excellence in college football.

    1. Nick Saban, Alabama

    National Championships: 7 (2003, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020)

    Overall Record: 280-69-1 (as of 2021)

    The embodiment of modern coaching excellence, Nick Saban’s achievements are unparalleled. Coaching Alabama since 2007, Saban’s teams have been characterized by meticulous preparation, adaptability, relentless competitiveness, and a culture of excellence. His seven national championships, including one with LSU in 2003, put him at the top of the pantheon of college football’s greatest coaches.

    Conclusion

    The best college football coaches of all time are not just winners on the field. They are innovators, educators, motivators, and leaders. Their impact resonates far beyond the stadium, shaping the lives of young athletes, and leaving a lasting legacy in the sport. These coaching greats have not only written the history of college football but continue to inspire future generations of coaches and players alike.

    CFB FAQs

    How are college football bowl games determined?

    Only bowl-eligible teams are selected for College Football Bowls. At the NCAA Division I FBS level, the standard by which teams become available for selection in bowl games varies. For example, in 2018-19 season, the team had to have at least as many wins as overall losses. Wins against non-Division I teams do not count toward the number of wins.

    How do you play college football pick'em pools?

    Simply pick winners from the games each week selected by the Pool Commissioner, either straight up or against the spread. Whichever member has the most points at the end of the season wins

    What is a football pool?

    "Football Pool" is a broad term for a group of people competitively guessing the outcome of one or more football games. There are many types of formats, each assigning winners differently. They can be played informally between friends or through a more formalized system. They are often considered a great alternative to fantasy football given the ease of playing, although there are fantasy football pools as well.

    How to run a football pool?

    How you decide to run a football pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.

    How to play squares football pools?

    Football squares are played by creating a grid, in which Team 1 takes the column and Team 2 the rows. In some cases, participants may claim as many squares as they like. In others, commissioners limit them to one. At the quarter times and end of the game, the winner is decided at the point the scores final digit intersect.

    How do you setup a college football bowl pool?

    To set up a college football bowl pool, you'll need to first choose if you will include all the games or specific ones. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As commissioner, you'll implement rules to ensure everything runs smoothly during the bowl games. Many use pool sites like RunYourPool to make the process easier.

    What is a college football squares pool?

    In a college football squares pool, a commissioner starts with a 10x10 grid of 100 squares (though commissioners decide to use smaller 5x5 pools). Members pick one or more squares in that grid. Winners are determined based on the score of each team after each quarter and at the end of the game.

    How many squares in a football pool?

    In a traditional football squares pool, a grid is sectioned off into 100 squares with 10 columns and 10 rows. This accounts for a direct relationship between each possible digit from 0 to 9 on both the X and Y axis. For smaller square grids like 5x5, multiple numbers can be assigned to each column and row.

    How to read a football squares pool sheet?

    In Squares formats, football pool sheets include a grid, where one team is the column and one is the row. Winners are determined at the end of each quarter when the last number in the team’s score (on each side) is matched to the numbers on the grid, and the intersecting square wins.

    How do you setup a college football bowl pool?

    To set up a college football bowl pool, you'll need to first choose if you will include all the games or specific ones. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As commissioner, you'll implement rules to ensure everything runs smoothly during the bowl games. Many use pool sites like RunYourPool to make the process easier.

    How do you win college football confidence bowl pool?

    The winner of a college bowl confidence pool is the member with the most points after all games have ended. Members rank each game based on how confident they are in their pick (44 points = most confident, 1 point = least confident). For each game picked correctly, members receive the number of points they assigned.

    What is a college football bowl confidence pool?

    Players try to pick the winner of every bowl game, assigning a point value to each game. Picks are made "straight up," not using a point spread system. Members rank each game based on how confident they are (44 points = most confident, 1 point = least confident). A winner is determined by totalling the point values assigned to correctly picked games.

    How do you setup a college football bowl pool?

    To set up a college football bowl pool, you'll need to first choose if you will include all the games or specific ones. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As commissioner, you'll implement rules to ensure everything runs smoothly during the bowl games. Many use pool sites like RunYourPool to make the process easier.

    How do you win college football bowl pick'em pool?

    As you might expect, the player who selects the most bowl winners will win their pick'em pool. You can win your college football bowl pick'em pool by choosing winners wisely, based on past performance, player starting status and other "intangibles."

    What is a college football bowl pick'em pool?

    In a College Bowl Pick'em pool members attempt to pick the winner of every College Bowl game (or a subset of games determined by the Pool Commissioner). Picks are made using the point spread system or "straight up", as assigned by the Pool Commissioner.

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    About Author

    Matt K

    Matt is the Social Media Manager at RYP and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. He has experience managing social media accounts with agencies, small brands, and large companies. He’s a diehard New England sports fanatic, and if he’s not watching the Celtics, he can be found roaming around Boston discovering all that the city has to offer.

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