College Football’s Best Football Schools Over Past Decade
Big Changes that Led to Bigger Success
Every college football program goes through periods of transition, some more than others. It is safe to say that continuity is far more infrequent than the everchanging rebuilding that college football programs are forced to reckon with due to their superstars cutting and running to the NFL after a year or two of tearing it up in the college ranks.
But the straw that stirs the drink is the man roaming the sidelines and calling the shots. Head football coaches at the Division 1-A level, currently known as the FBS, can make or break a program. They are the men in charge of not only calling the X’s and O’s during the game but convincing recruits, and more importantly their parents, that their schools give them the best chance at success, not only on the gridiron but in the classroom, and in life.
The bigger the name knocking on your door, the higher profile the school, and perhaps the greatest opportunity to get a ticket to financial freedom that only the National Football League can guarantee. Naturally, the schools with the most successful programs contend for the five-star recruits while the others must vie for the two, three, and four-star high school players. It’s an annual dance between the big business of college football and the 17-18-year-old high schoolers which serve as its lifeblood.
And while the current season is having some issues, that doesn’t stop the bookmakers from dealing college football odds on a favorite to win the national championship. The usual suspects are in contention like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, et al, and they all have the coaching star power that continues to feed these programs the best talent that money can buy. Well, check that, college players can’t get paid but they can get showcased every Saturday on national television if they hook up with a top football program which will lead to riches down the line in the NFL Draft.
Without further ado, let’s check out the top three programs over the last decade.
- Alabama – The renaissance of Alabama football began the moment Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa way back in 2007. In his third season coaching the Crimson Tide, he brought a national championship home for the first time in 17 years. Since his tenure in Tuscaloosa, he has won a total of five national titles and it is no wonder why the best high school players in the land all give Alabama a fighting chance to vie for their services.
- Clemson – When head coach Dabo Swinney replaced Bobby Bowden and took over the reins of the Clemson Tiger football program as an interim head coach in 2008 before being named the permanent head coach the following year, Clemson has been among the best college football programs in the nation. The Tigers have won two national titles under his stewardship and have been the dominating force in the ACC, winning the conference crown five years running.
- Ohio State – The Buckeyes have been amongst the top programs in the nation and it all turned around in 2012 when Urban Meyer walked through that door and accepted the head coaching position, making Columbus, Ohio his home. During his seven-year tenure, Ohio State won the Big Ten East each and every year while also securing four conference crowns and one national championship. When Meyer suddenly retired at the end of the 2018 season amid allegations of a coverup of spousal abuse by one of his assistants, Ryan Day took the helm and added another Big Ten title to the Buckeyes’ mantle last season, as well as a trip to the College Football Playoff.
Over the past decade, we can’t forget to acknowledge national champs Auburn (2010), Florida State (2013), and LSU (2019). In fact, a case could be made that the SEC has become the hotbed of elite college talent with routinely stellar seasons by the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, and LSU.
But in the end, the head coach is crucial to assessing and wooing talent that keeps these programs at the top of the polls, making their universities oodles of money through television pacts, live gates, merchandise, and booster donations. The right man at the top can change a school’s football fortunes for years. Just ask Alabama.