CBS Sports ranks UM’s Harbaugh 5th, MSU’s Dantonio 11th – The Detroit News
Michigan and Michigan State appear headed in opposite directions, with the Wolverines coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons, and the Spartans following a College Football Playoffs appearance with a 3-9 clunker last season.
Their coaches might be, too, at least according to CBS Sports, which came out Thursday with its top 25 of college football coaches in the Power Five conferences. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is ranked No. 5 — up five spots from last season — while Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is No. 11, a drop of six spots from a year ago.
Alabama’s Nick Saban is No. 1, followed by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.
The rankings were based on voting from a five-person panel — Dennis Dodd, Tom Fornelli, Ben Kercheval and Chip Patterson of CBS Sports, and Barton Simmons of 247Sports — who each ranked 64 coaches from the Power Five Conferences, plus Brian Kelly from Notre Dame.
Those were pretty much the only guidelines.
Harbaugh’s ranking didn’t sit well with Fornelli, who thought the Wolverines coach still might be ranked too high. Harbaugh has led Michigan to back-to-back 10-win seasons, but is without a Big Ten title or a victory over Ohio State in his first two seasons in Ann Arbor.
The former San Francisco 49ers coach’s college resume also includes head-coaching stints at Stanford (2007-10) and San Diego (2004-06).
“I’m just going to be honest here,” Fornelli wrote. “I think Harbaugh is a great coach. I would be thrilled if Harbaugh was coaching my favorite team. I still think he’s ranked too high. While I feel like it’s only a matter of time until it happens, he’s yet to win a conference title on the FBS level. In fact, he hasn’t even won a division title yet.
“He may end up being a top five coach sooner rather than later, but I just don’t think he has the overall resume to be considered one now. My fellow voters disagree, obviously.”
Dantonio, meanwhile, owns three Big Ten titles and the the aforementioned CFP berth, but a nightmare 2016 season and an offseason that’s also been clouded with players’ off-the-field issues — likely has taken a little of the shine off his resume.
“You knew Dantonio would suffer in these rankings after a down season in East Lansing,” Fornelli wrote. “Still, overlook Dantonio and the Spartans heading into 2017 at your own peril. Dantonio’s teams have won at least 11 games in five of the last seven seasons.”
Former Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, entering his first year at Minnesota, checks in at No. 35, while former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is at No. 44 with Arizona.