SportingNews: Meyer, Dantonio Big Ten's best

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

SportingNews: Meyer, Dantonio Big Ten's best decided to rank the Big Ten’s football coaches, and there’s no surprise at the top of the list. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, he of two national titles at Florida, is No. 1, and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, fresh off a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl Game win, is No. 2.

[ MORE: Big Ten coach rankings ]

After the top two, though, the site’s ranking is certain to elicit its share of debate. Pat Fitzgerald is No. 3, even after a 5-7 season, James Franklin is No. 4, despite never coaching a Big Ten game, and Gary Andersen rounds out the top 5.

Here’s what says about the top 5 coaches.

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

Won two national titles at Florida, then left and won his first 24 games at Ohio State (forget about the schedule; his teams did it). There’s no debating Meyer’s ability to do the two most important things in the college game: recruit and motivate. Very few do it better.

2. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Won most single-season games in school history (11) four years ago, then beat that number by two games (13) last season. In those four seasons, Dantonio’s teams have won 42 games without the foundation of top 25 recruiting classes. No one gets more from less.

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Even the elite take a step back every now and then. Look at the big picture: Fitz has consistently won at a place that values education over anything (forget about what some inane Labor Relations Board says), that has strict academic entrance standards (unlike just about everyone else), and that doesn’t get elite athletes. So what do they do? They develop players and coach.

4. James Franklin, Penn State

What Franklin accomplished at Vanderbilt, the SEC’s perennial tomato can, was remarkable. It wasn’t just winning games (which was a huge deal); it was how he sold the program to first its core and then to the nation. Wait and see what he can accomplish with the clout of the Penn State brand.

5. Gary Andersen, Wisconsin

Walked into a terrific situation left by Bret Bielema, and was a handful of plays from playing for the Big Ten championship. That the NFL showed interest this offseason should be more than enough to underscore his ability — as should the job he did turning around Utah State.

See the entire countdown here.

One thing’s for sure: If Bo Pelini is No. 6, Brady Hoke No. 7 and Kirk Ferentz No. 9, there is A LOT of coaching talent in the Big Ten.

About Brent Yarina senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

all times ET
12:00 PMUCONN at MarylandWatch
1:00 PMRichmond at Rutgers Watch
Tuesday Oct 25
4:00 PMVirginia at MarylandWatch
7:00 PMColumbia at Rutgers Watch
7:00 PMSt. Louis at IndianaWatch
7:00 PMDelaware at MarylandWatch
8:00 PMW. Illinois at WisconsinWatch
Wednesday Oct 26
6:00 PMMichigan at IndianaWatch

Watch hundreds of live non-televised Big Ten events via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.