I had the opportunity this year to fill out a ballot for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award recently for the Football Writers Association of America. After some careful thought and consideration, I finally figured out what order I wanted to vote. I studied long and hard all of these qualified coaches and how their teams did this season based on expectations and reality. So here is my Ballot.
- Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M
- Bill O’Brien – Penn State
- Dave Doeren – Northern Illinois
- Gary Andersen – Utah State
- David Shaw – Stanford
- Urban Meyer – Ohio State
- Bill Snyder – Kansas State
- Will Muschamp – Florida
- Brian Kelly – Notre Dame
Every one of these coaches were very deserving in their own way, but looking through the season as a whole, I couldn’t help but choose Kevin Sumlin as the Coach of the Year. He is in his rookie season at A&M and he took over a program that was “treading water” in the Big XII and turned them into instant threat to win the SEC. A couple plays different and it could have been A&M against Georgia in Atlanta. If Sumlin can repeat the same success next season, look out!
Bill O’Brien did an amazing job this season at Penn State in the wake of the whole controversy and players bolting from “Happy Valley”. Finishing the year at 8-4(6-2) is very respectable after most experts picked them to have trouble winning more than two or three games going into this season.
After a very close loss to Iowa to open the season, Dave Doeren did an amazing job to lead the Huskies to the BCS Promised land after winning the MAC Championship. While some feel that they don’t deserve to be there, they may be able to surprise everyone if Florida State isn’t prepared.
Gary Andersen took a Utah State team that is usually lucky to make Bowl eligibility and turned them into conference champions. With an exciting season like this year, be ready to see Utah State in the conversation for bowl slots a lot more often.
David Shaw had big shoes to fill when he took over at Stanford and he has done a great job keeping the program moving forward. Stanford has not lost a step since he took over, but in my opinion he didn’t deserve a higher selection because Stanford wasn’t in the national title hunt.
Urban Meyer came back to coaching and took a team on probation to an undefeated season with seemingly no pressure. Regardless if he went undefeated, or winless, Ohio State is still sitting at home this post season. Still a great season and deserves some recognition.
Bill Snyder, Will Muschamp, and Brian Kelly all had great seasons in their own ways. Snyder had Surprise Kansas State one win away from playing for a national championship and Brian Kelly finally made Notre Dame relevant again. It was tough to order these three, but in my humble opinion, a school like Notre Dame should be a top team every season and Kelly just got them back to where they should be.
It will be fun to see who will win the final award and to know that my opinion played a small part of that will even make it cooler. For this independent blogger from Texas this was by far a highlight of my year.