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Top 5 College Football Head Coaches

The college football world is gearing to restart, and with that — and the presumptive 2020 season — in sight, it is time to give you the top coaches in college football.
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The college football world is gearing to restart, and with that — and the presumptive 2020 season — in sight, it is time to give you the top coaches in college football.

These rankings reflect the current state of the coaching world:

5: Ed Orgeron

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Orgeron has guided the Tigers to a 40-9 overall mark in his 49 games as the LSU head coach. Of his 40 victories, 18 have come against teams ranked in the Top 25, including 12 over Top-10 opponents. Furthermore, 25 have come against SEC foes and 30 have come by double-digits. As head coach of the Tigers, Orgeron has a 12-3 mark against Top-10 opponents, which includes a school-record seven Top-10 wins in 2019.

However great Orgeron was in 2019, leading the Tigers to a national title, it takes more than one good year to become an elite coach. 

4: Kirby Smart

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Under Smart's leadership, the Georgia Bulldogs advanced to 2017, 2018 and 2019 SECCG, making Georgia the first from the East to win at least three straight since 1996. They also clinched the 2018 SEC East title with the team’s second consecutive 6-0 mark in the division. 

Smart was a 2017 Georgia Munger National Coach of the Year finalist, leading UGA to a 13-2 record, a Rose Bowl Game victory and an appearance the CFP National Championship Game.

3: Lincoln Riley

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Since the start of the 2015 campaign, OU ranks first nationally in scoring (44.9 ppg; next most is 41.6), total offense (558.3; next most is 516.4), touchdowns from scrimmage (378; next most is 365), pass efficiency rating (190.6; next best is 167.6) and yards per pass attempt (10.8; tied), second in completion percentage (69.5), third in passing offense (323.3) and eighth in rushing offense (235.0). 

With that kind of offensive production, it’s no surprise the Sooners have posted a 58-9 (.866) record since his arrival (41-5 in Big 12 play). OU’s overall mark since 2015 is fourth-best nationally, with only Clemson (68-4), Alabama (66-6) and Ohio State (61-6) having better records.

2: Nick Saban

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Saban has compiled a 247-65-1 (. 791) record (242-65-1, .787 after vacations) as a college head coach and went 127-13 (. 907) in the 10 seasons prior to the 2019 campaign, which is the best of any major college school over a 10-year span since Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma in the late 1940s through the late 1950s. 

Since 2008, the Crimson Tide also boasts an astounding 149-17 (. 898) record, including an 85-11 (. 885) mark in regular-season conference play. 

1: Dabo Swinney

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Clemson’s 2019 season ended one win short of the pinnacle, but Clemson’s ascent into rare air under Head Coach Dabo Swinney heading into 2020 has made success anything but rare over the last decade.

The last five years at Clemson have ranked among the best in the sport’s 150-year annals. Clemson’s 69 wins since 2015 are three more than any other team in the country and are the most in a five-year span in The AP Poll era (since 1936). In that span, Clemson became the second team ever to qualify for five straight College Football Playoffs, earning four national championship berths and two titles in that stretch. 

Clemson won at least 12 games in all five of those seasons, the longest active streak of 12-win seasons and one of only four such streaks in major college football history, joining Alabama (five from 2014-18), Penn (seven from 1892-98) and Yale (five from 1888-92).